In the rubber match of the increasingly heated rivalry between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Pats look like a strong NFL betting pick to extend Kansas City’s misery in regards to going it deep in the NFL playoffs. But are the challenge-riddled Patriots worthy of being favored to win over the red-hot Chiefs, who’ve won their last 11 straight games, including the 30-0 shutout victory over the Texans on the road last weekend? Check out what our analysis has to say…
Playoff Experience A Key Betting Factor
Impressive as it was, Kansas City’s victory over the Texans was just their first playoff win in 22 freaking years. Their odds of recording another win therefore look very unlikely, given their well-documented history of tumbling down in the postseason games. On the opposing camp, the Patriots are perennial postseason ballers, and their success is something we’ve gotten accustomed to, especially when there is a lot on the line. Just as a tip of the iceberg that is their renowned success in the playoffs, QB Tom Brady has won 6 AFC Championship titles and 4 Super Bowl titles since 2001 (all with New England, including 6 total Super Bowl appearances). That, of course, includes the AFC and Super Bowl 49 titles won last year. The Chiefs, as you know, have been pretty much on voice mail when it comes to reaching or even winning the AFC title, let alone the Super Bowl. With such a strong résumé of success in the playoffs, placing your money on New England to continue that success makes tons of betting sense.
Whereas Kansas City has been largely relying on its defense to win games, the Patriots have been a balanced unit, often making key plays on both ends of the field to record victories. Yes, the Brady-led offense (averaging 29.06 PPG scoring) has been more dominant in the majority of their wins, but with New England’s defense finishing the regular season allowing just 19.69 PPG, you’d definitely agree that there is more balance in the Patriots team. Comparably, the Chiefs have—for instance—allowed just 10.00 PPG in their last three games and scored 23.33 PPG in the same stretch, underlining the disparity of their plays on either sides of the ball.
Commendable as it is that the Chiefs have won their last five straight road games, the fact that they will be going against a New England team that has just two home games in their last three seasons (23-2 SU) means that that upending the Patriots in Foxboro will be very difficult (read that impossible).
Extra Rest Means… Extra Strength and Extra Motivation
New England’s first-round bye couldn’t have come at better time, taking into account the manner in which the Patriots finished the season bleeding of injuries. As per the latest reports, the Patriots now have bevy of starters feeling healthier and ready for the test against Kansas City. Some of these players include wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, star tight end Rob Gronkowski, safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The availability of these healthy players will be very crucial this weekend, giving the Patriots a variety of weapons to throw against the Chiefs. Moreover, with the extra week of rest, the Patriots have their energy levels at optimum, as opposed to the Chiefs who’ve not had any time to break and have been playing for nearly 10 straight weeks without rest, including last weekend’s grueling physical battle against the hard-hitting J.J. Watt and his Houston compatriots.
Tom Brady is Way Better than Alex Smith
Despite working with a banged up group for the majority of the second half of this season, Brady still had a big season, passing for 4,000-plus yards and leading the NFL in touchdowns (36). Smith, meanwhile, struggled in his passing game and failed to reach the 4000-yard mark or even 30-TD mark. Making matters worse for Smith, his top receiver Jeremy Maclin suffered an injury against Houston and is a big doubt for the weekend, something that is highly likely to impact Kansas City’s passing game even further. And with not much of a dependable running game to count on in K-City, Brady and Co. should be able to get the better of Smith and Co.
As highlighted above, the Patriots have a lot of elements working in their favor. Just about the only advantage in Kansas City’s favor is their superior defense. Still, Brady and his offense are known for being clutch even against the toughest of defenses; a key reason the Patriots outlasted the Seattle’s Legion of Doom last year to win Super Bowl 49. Doing the same should thus be within the realms of possibility for New England (-5), especially with the raucous crowd at the Gillette Stadium cheering them heartily.