• This is the 32nd meeting between these original American Football League franchises. The Chiefs hold a 16-12-3 edge in the series, but the Patriots have won four of the last five games.
  • The last time they played, New England grabbed a 17-10 opening day victory in 2008 in Foxboro. That was the game where Chiefs S Bernard Pollard hit QB Tom Brady in the left knee, ending his season.
  • The last Kansas City winning effort came at Arrowhead Stadium in 2005 when the Chiefs won 26-16.
  • The Chiefs have won only six of 17 games in New England since these franchises began play in 1960. The last time they won on the Patriots home field was December 2, 1990, when they took a 37-7 victory at the now gone Foxboro Stadium.
  • There have been only two visits to Gillette Stadium by the Chiefs since that venue opened in 2002. They lost the most recent meeting between the teams in 2008 (17-10) and New England won the first game between the teams in the new stadium in September of 2002, 41-38 in overtime.
  • The Chiefs have faced the Patriots on five different fields in the Boston area over the previous 51 seasons and at only one location did they have a winning record: Boston College’s Alumni Stadium, where they won in 1969 in the only game played between the teams there. Otherwise they were 1-2 at Boston University Field, 2-1-2 at Fenway Park, 2-4 at Foxboro Stadium and now 0-2 at Gillette Stadium.


Tackle the first time

When an offense is averaging 432 yards per game, and leading the league in passing yardage per game with 326 yards, it’s doubtful a struggling defense like the Chiefs is going to be able to shut the Patriots down. Rather, they need to limit their production and one of the surest ways to do that is to remove from the equation yards after the catch and yards after contact when the ball carrier is running with the ball. It’s not a surprise that WR Wes Welker leads the league with 1,006 receiving yards and also leads in YAC with 486 yards. New England gets 47 percent of its passing yardage from after the catch. Tackling is huge for the Chiefs defense this week.


Bend all day; don’t break

A defense can’t get involved in thinking they are going to limit the yardage racked up by Tom Brady and the New England offense. It’s much like it used to be for NBA teams trying to handle Michael Jordan – he’s going to get his 25 to 30 points, but the key is to make sure he doesn’t go crazy and throw in 40 to 50 points. If Brady throws for 300 yards, and Welker totals some 100 yards receiving, it’s a normal day at the office for the Patriots offense. What the Chiefs defense must do is turn TDs into field goals. Stephen Gostkowski is a good kicker, but he’s not a machine – he’s missed this year from 27 yards. Pats have 29 offensive TDs and that ranks third in the league. Romeo Crennel’s defense needs to keep Gostkowski busy with FGs not PATs.


Play extra smart

The Patriots are not the well-oiled machine they were in the mid 2000s with Super Bowl veterans on both sides of the ball. There are only six veterans left contributing from the team that won Super Bowl 39 – LT Matt Light, LG Logan Mankins, WR Deion Branch, QB Tom Brady, RB Kevin Faulk and NT Vince Wilfork. But a Bill Belichick team normally plays pretty smart football, and to beat them, an opponent has to play just as smart or even smarter. That’s especially a team that’s talent level is very shallow and has been hurt by injury like the Chiefs. Penalties must be kept at a minimum and can’t come at key times. The turnover ratio must be even or in the Chiefs favor. Mental mistakes … well, there just can’t be many errors in assignments. The Patriots need no help.


Protect Palko

A quarterback making his first NFL start is not likely to win a game for his team. He’s more likely to lose it. Palko’s evening is going to be a very important key to the outcome of the game and his teammates must give him every opportunity for success. That starts upfront with pass protection – it simply must be improved over what’s happened over the last two games when Matt Cassel was sacked nine times and beaten into a hand injury. Figure the Chiefs will use Palko’s fresh legs and move him around a little bit with some bootlegs and moving pockets. But his effectiveness will depend on having time to make the correct decisions. New England’s Andre Carter and Mark Anderson have nine and five of the Patriots 20 sacks. They are the rushers that must be handled.

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