Finally, the 2017 NFL season is upon us! The defending champion Patriots will battle the always-tough Kansas City Chiefs in what shapes up as an interesting season opener. Let’s take a look at this matchup.
Keys to a Chiefs Upset
1) Pressure on Brady without blitzing
If you can rush four against Tom Brady and keep your coverage intact that’s the best strategy to beat the Patriots. That means Houston, Ford, Chris Jones and the Chiefs pass rushers need to win and win fast.
2) Stopping the run
The Patriots ran the ball a lot more last year than they had in the past. Because of the threat of Tom Brady, the Chiefs will probably attempt to play Nickel and Dime almost the whole game. This makes Chiefs defensive lineman Bennie Logan a key part of this game. Logan has long arms and great technique and if he is on top of his game, the Chiefs will have a shot to stop the Pats run game.
3) The Chiefs have to score at least 20 points
Travis Kelce’s calf injury is huge here, Kelce must be healthy for the Chiefs to have any hopes to pull the upset in this game. Scoring points could be a huge problem for the Chiefs in this game and possibly all year.
Keys to a Patriots Victory
1) Can they overcome injuries?
Wide Receiver Julian Edelman, who caught a team-high 98 passes for the Patriots last season, suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in a preseason game against Detroit on Aug. 25. He will miss the season. Replacing him will be Phillip Dorsett, who spent the last two seasons with the Colts, was acquired in the last week to replace Edelman. Also Brandin Cooks, the former Saints receiver, was brought in as a free agent in the off-season. New England also lost cornerback/return man Cyrus Jones to a torn ACL in the Patriots’ final preseason contest.
2) Protecting Brady
The Chiefs have one of the more athletic defenses in the NFL and are capable of getting to Brady with just their down linemen. Luckily for Brady, the Patriots’ offensive line developed into one of the best units in the NFL last year and Brady should be relatively clean in the pocket.
Prediction: I cannot see the Chiefs scoring enough points to win this game. Patriots 27 Chiefs 17