September, 26, 2014

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ concerns in pass protection don’t create a good matchup against the Chiefs, who rank fourth in the NFL in sacks per pass play. We’ve watched Tom Brady take a beating in two of the first three games and now you have Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, and Dontari Poe to block.

While I’d normally think the Patriots’ offense could exploit the Chiefs’ linebackers and secondary, it’s more challenging to invest in them at this point based on the struggles at the line of scrimmage. Throw in the Arrowhead Stadium environment, which will further tax the offensive line, and that further tilts the scales on what projects to be a close game.

Prediction: Chiefs 24, Patriots 20

Accountability check (what we said last week): The Raiders have struggled to defend the run, allowing an NFL-high 400 yards through two games. The Patriots recommitted to the run last week, playing 28 of 67 snaps with a sixth offensive lineman on the field to re-establish the line of scrimmage, and should be able to find some level of success again this week. Furthermore, the Patriots are coming off a game in which they recorded six sacks and four interceptions, and the defense should have opportunities to add to those numbers while facing rookie quarterback Derek Carr, who makes his third career start. Prediction: Patriots 30, Raiders 14.

  • Covered Patriots since 1997
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