New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs Preview and Predictions 01-20-2019

The Kansas City Chiefs are right where many observers expected them to be, although Andy Reid's team is in uncharted territory. The New England Patriots, conversely, are on familiar turf even in Kansas City's backyard. The top-seeded Chiefs seek to advance to their first Super Bowl in 49 years when they host the No. 2 seed Patriots in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Kansas City, led by second-year quarterback and league Most Valuable Player front-runner Patrick Mahomes, is in the conference title game for the first time since 1994. Mahomes and the high-scoring Chiefs shredded Indianapolis in the divisional round and will be looking to avenge a 43-40 road loss to Tom Brady and New England in Week 6 and hoist the Lamar Hunt Trophy -- named for the late founder of the franchise. The Patriots, despite posting their worst record since 2009, are making their eighth straight conference title game appearance and vying to become the third team in history to advance to three consecutive Super Bowls. "We see our quarterback is too old, we're not good enough on defense, the skill players aren't good," New England safety Devin McCourty said of his team's underdog status. "We see it. But it doesn't affect how we prepare."

TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chiefs -3 O/U: 55.5 

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (12-5): New England lost five times on the road -- three by double digits -- and struggled in December, but put on a clinic against the Los Angeles Chargers a week ago, scoring touchdowns on its first five possessions en route to a 41-28 cakewalk. Brady, who has won five Super Bowl titles and earned game MVP honors four times, threw for 343 yards and a touchdown on 34 of 44 passing against the Chargers and had nearly identical numbers against the Chiefs in mid-October. Rookie running back Sony Michel rushed for 106 yards and two TDs in the first meeting versus Kansas City and warmed up for the rematch by rumbling for 129 yards and three scores against the Chargers. The Patriots, who surrendered an average of 28.4 points on the road, did not register a sack but intercepted Mahomes twice in the first matchup.

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (13-4): Mahomes failed to throw a touchdown pass for only the second time this season but Kansas City held the ball for nearly 40 minutes in the 31-13 win over the Colts (as the Chiefs were -4.5 point favorite at intertops) as running back Damien Williams rushed for 129 yards and a score on 25 carries. Mahomes led the league's top-ranked offense to 31 second-half points at New England by throwing for 352 yards and four scoring passes, three of which went to speedster Tyreek Hill, who burned the Patriots' secondary with seven receptions for 142 yards. Tight end Travis Kelce, who had 10 touchdown passes during the regular season, was held to five catches for 61 yards in the first matchup but went for 108 yards on seven receptions last weekend. Kansas City's defense ranked 31st overall and against the pass but tied for the league lead with 52 sacks.


1. New England is looking to advance to its ninth Super Bowl in the past 18 seasons under coach Bill Belichick.

2. Mahomes could become the fourth quarterback, including Brady, to pass for 5,000 yards and reach the Super Bowl in the same season.

3. Patriots RB James White, who had a team-high 87 catches in the regular season, added 15 in last week's win over the Chargers.

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Last Injuries

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Juan Thornhill

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Thornill has been placed on the active PUP list after undergoing ACL surgery, and he will miss an extended period.

  • Lucas Niang

    I-R | I-R

    Niang has decided to sit out for the duration of the 2020 season due to a personal reason. He is on the Injured Reserve/Opt-Out list as a result.

  • James O'Shaughnessy

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    O'Shaughnessy has been shifted to the active PUP list as he rehabs from a torn ACL, and it is unknown when he will be ready to make his debut.

  • Martinas Rankin

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Rankin has been designated for the active PUP list with a patella injury. It is up in the air when he will be activated.

New England Patriots

  • Brandon King

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    King has been moved to the PUP list with a quad injury, and it is unclear when he will come off the shelf.

  • Sony Michel

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Michel is working his way back from foot surgery, and he will begin training camp on the active PUP list for an unknown length of time.

  • Marqise Lee

    I-R | I-R

    Lee will not compete during the entire 2020 season as he has decided to sit out due to a personal reason. He has been added to the Injured Reserve/Opt-Out list.

  • Matt LaCosse

    I-R | I-R

    LaCosse will not participate in the 2020 season after opting out for a personal reason. He has wound up on the Injured Reserve/Opt-Out list as a result.

  • Dont'a Hightower

    I-R | I-R

    Hightower has hit the Injured Reserve/Opt-Out list after letting the team know that he will not be taking part in the 2020 season due to a personal reason.

  • Mohamed Sanu Sr.

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Sanu Sr. has been posted on the active PUP list due to an ongoing ankle injury, and the severity of the ailment is unknown.