November 24, 2005
By Scott A. Benson
The Patriots will try to extend their new winning streak to three games Sunday when they travel to Kansas City for a match up of two 6-4 AFC playoff contenders.
Though the Chiefs have the same record as the up and down Pats, they don’t enjoy the advantage of posting that mark in the sub .500 AFC East, where the Patriots are likely to win the division. Kansas City goes into the season’s 12th week in 3rd place in the much tougher West, behind Denver and San Diego, and if the season ended today, the Chiefs would trail Cincinnati, Jacksonville and the Chargers in the race for the two AFC wild card spots.
On paper, this looks generally like an even match up, before you make the requisite allowance for the boisterous bastards in the Arrowhead stands. Both teams have well-regarded offenses and bottom-dwelling defenses, though the Chiefs rank a little higher than the Pats on both sides of the ball.
Kansas City once again has one of the league’s most productive offenses, which won’t be welcome news for New England’s 31st ranked defense. At the same time, you have to figure the Patriots offense to ring up some points on the Chiefs #25 D, keeping them in a competitive shoot out, but here’s a couple of things that bother me: Kansas City has one of the tougher 3rd down defenses in the league (7th) and they’re one of the better teams in limiting their opponent’s time of possession (3rd). Ouch – those just happen to be a couple of weak points for a Patriots unit that at times has been woefully inconsistent. This, along with one of the best home-field advantages anywhere, might be enough to tip the balance towards the Chiefs on Sunday.
Think about this, though. The folks at Cold Hard Football Facts tell us that the Chiefs have a 0-2 record against quality opponents in 2005. In CHFF’s ‘Quality Wins Quotient’, a quality opponent is any team that currently holds a winning record. So far, the Chiefs have played just two – the Chargers and Broncos, both on the road – and lost them both. The Patriots – with a 2-4 QWQ record of their own, thanks to road wins in Pittsburgh and Atlanta – will be just the third in eleven games for Kansas City.
The Patriots on Offense