New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 17th 2023

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Emotions boiled over for the Kansas City Chiefs after enduring one of their most frustrating losses of the season.

A few days of reflection ushered the Chiefs back to the practice field, and head coach Andy Reid is determined to avoid a similar fate this Sunday when they faces the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.

A loser in three of the past four games and four times in six games, the Chiefs failed to top 20 points in all five losses this season.

Kansas City (8-5) is coming off a heartbreaking 20-17 setback against the Buffalo Bills last week.

The Chiefs seemingly manufactured the go-ahead score when, after hauling in a 25-yard reception, Travis Kelce threw a lateral pass to Kadarius Toney, who then scampered 24 yards to the end zone with 1:12 left in regulation. But Toney was flagged for offensive offside, negating the touchdown. The Chiefs turned the ball over on downs three plays later, sparking a sideline outburst and postgame meltdown from Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes also voiced his frustration with the penalty to Bills signal-caller Josh Allen during a postgame embrace, but the past is the past, and all the focus now shifts to New England (3-10).

“It’s tough man,” Mahomes said. “It’s real tough, and all we can do is bounce back and just try to go out there and give everything we have. We’re playing a tough, tough team this next week that plays really good defense.”

Although the Chiefs are struggling, the even-keeled Reid doesn’t want his team to lose sight of the bigger picture.

“We’re still right in the (playoff) hunt,” Reid said. “We’re playing better than we were a couple weeks ago, so that’s a positive thing.”

Meanwhile, for the first time in weeks, the Patriots have reason to be optimistic, too.

New England ended a five-game skid with a 21-18 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 7. Bailey Zappe shined in his fourth career NFL start, throwing for three touchdowns in the first half, and the Patriots’ defense took care of the rest.

Zappe provided a much-needed spark to a New England offense that had scored a total of 13 points over the previous three games.

The Patriots’ inability to score played a role in the NFL’s decision to make a historic scheduling change. The Sunday game against Kansas City was originally set to be played on Monday night, but for the first time ever, the league opted to move the primetime matchup to Sunday afternoon. Now the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks will wrap up Week 15.

New England coach Bill Belichick realizes the Chiefs are hard to stop, no matter what day of the week it is.

“Kansas City is obviously a great program. Andy (Reid) has done a tremendous job there,” Belichick said. “He’s really got a good football team, a well-balanced team. They’re good on defense. They’re good on offense. They’re good in the kicking game.”

The contest will mark the first time in league history that opposing coaches both have 250-plus career wins. The total of 556 victories for Belichick (301) and Reid (255) will top the 496 total for the Miami Dolphins’ Don Shula and the Dallas Cowboys’ Tom Landry on Nov. 22, 1987.

There is a chance that the Sunday game could be the last time Belichick and Reid do battle on their respective sidelines. NBC Sports Boston reported Monday that Patriots owner Robert Kraft plans to part ways with Belichick at the conclusion of the season.

When asked if that were the case, Belichick didn’t get into details, to say the least.

“I’m getting ready for Kansas City,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing.”

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson missed New England’s practice on Wednesday because of an ankle injury. Wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (ankle), DeVante Parker (knee) and Demario Douglas (concussion) were among those limited.

Illnesses forced linebacker Leo Chenal and safety Mike Edwards to miss the Chiefs’ practice on Wednesday. Running back Isiah Pacheco (shoulder) and left tackle Donovan Smith (neck) also were out, while linebacker Nick Bolton (wrist/abdomen) was a limited participant.

–Field Level Media

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