Keys to New England Patriots’ Monday night matchup with Kansas City Chiefs – The Republican – masslive.com (blog)
KANSAS CITY — The AFC East is beginning to take shape and, as is usually the case, the Dolphins, Bills and Jets are beginning to lose.
The Bills have dropped two in a row. After beating Oakland, the Jets have dropped three. After being Oakland, the Dolphins have snapped a two-game skid to even their record at 2-2.
And after beating Oakland, the 2-1 Patriots have something to prove. Both of their wins have come against teams that figure to finish at the bottom of the NFL.
It’s not like the Chiefs are a sure-fire playoff team, but there’s no denying that a victory at Arrowhead, on Monday Night Football, would suffice as a meaningful win for a Patriots team that seems difficult to figure out.
Here’s what you should be looking for:
*The turnover battle is imperative, especially with these two teams. The Patriots are 69-6 in the Brady/Belichick era when they don’t commit a single turnover. They’re turnover-free in the past two games.
The Chiefs are currently the only NFL team that hasn’t forced a single turnover. That’s particularly amazing because, last season, they forced 36 of them — second in the league — and scored seven defensive touchdowns. If you want a reason for their 2-14 to 11-5 turnaround, look no further than those two stats.
*This game will serve as a decent measuring stick for a Patriots defense that was gashed against the only competent running game they faced. New England ranks at or near the top of the league in almost every pass defense statistic, but the run defense is still suspect.
It seems as though Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, one of the league’s most explosive backs, will play. He was limited in practice all week with an ankle sprain but is listed as probable for Monday night. His back-up, Knile Davis, …read more