New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs Pick 10/4/20
New England Patriots (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, October 4th, 4:25 PM
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Point Spread: NE +7 / KC -7 (GTBets - 100% Bonus up to $500!)
Over/Under Total: 54
In a battle of the former kings of the AFC against the new rulers of the throne, the New England Patriots head to Missouri to take on the Kansas City Chiefs for a late Sunday afternoon battle at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs lead the all-time series 19-16-13, but the Patriots have had the upper hand since Bill Belichick took over as a coach, sporting an 8-4 record over their last 12 meetings, including a 2-0 mark in the postseason.
RUNNING OVER RAIDERS
New England heads into Week four, riding a wave of running momentum after putting up 250 yards on the ground against Las Vegas. Sony Michel looked as good as he ever has running the ball, while Rex Burkhead had a career day with three touchdowns scored. Undrafted free agent rookie JJ Taylor provided an early spark to the running game. The team expects James White back soon after a horrible family tragedy and Damien Harris from injury; the backfield has suddenly turned things around and could end up being a much-needed strength for the offense to rely on. This could be all the more important with Cam Newton coming off of his worst game so far in New England.
Newton ran into problems against the Raiders, partially due to staring down receivers, especially Julien Edelman. He completed a season-low 60% of his passes while averaging just 5.8 yards per attempt and throwing an interception that eventually led to points for Las Vegas. Only three games into a season on a new team, there will obviously be some bumps in the road for Newton, but he has yet to throw a touchdown pass to a receiver, and for the team to be able to trade points with a potent Chiefs offense this week, they will need him to play at the level seen in weeks one and two.
Julien Edelman and N’Keal Harry continue to lead the Patriots in receptions with 15 apiece, but if last week was any indication, it’s clear who Newton has started to look for most when pressured in the pocket more times than not, and that is certainly Edelman. Thankfully for the Patriots, Damiere Byrd was again more of a presence in the passing game, and with James White expected to join Rex Burkhead as an out of the backfield option, it at least will give Newton additional check down options if no one is available downfield.
NO TITLE DEFENSE
The expected strength of the Patriots defense going into the season was their backfield, but so far, they have not been playing up those expectations. Cornerback Jonathan Jones has been picked on, especially of late, with opposing teams completing 9 of 13 passes against him for 101 yards over the past two weeks. Stephon Gilmore allowed only one catch a week ago, but that was mostly overshadowed by a bad pass interference call that allowed the Raiders to get into position to score a touchdown at the end of the first half. This, unfortunately, makes it three games out of three that he has made an inexcusable mistake for someone at his level, and it’s safe to say already that he will not be making it back-to-back NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
A struggling pass defense is the last thing a team wants going into a matchup against the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who on the season has thrown for nine touchdowns with zero interceptions and an average of just 300 yards per game. He has also rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown and is currently on pace to easily top his previous highs on the ground stats. That added ability to make plays on his feet will only go on to solidify the KC quarterback as the best current signal-caller in the league.
One of Mahomes’ top targets is Travis Kelce, who last year became the first tight end ever to finish four straight seasons with over 1,000 yards rushing. In his first game against the Patriots back in 2014, Kelce put up eight receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown, but Belichick and New England seemed to learn their lesson and have since allowed him to get into the endzone just once in the past five games while also never allowing him over 70 yards receiving in a game. The Patriots will definitely put a lot of focus into slowing down Kelce on Sunday and will hope to have the same success they did a week ago against the Raiders when they limited Darren Waller to just two receptions for nine yards receiving. If not, they will have this misfortunate of watching him act like a complete jackass every time he does anything of relevance on the field.
HILL OF BEANS
At receiver, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are the duo that Patrick Mahomes looks to the most. Watkins has led the team in receptions in two of their three games thus far, while the speedster Hill is tops on the team with three touchdown receptions to go along with 15 catches for 222 yards. Kelce is an easy target for fodder, but Hill is an entirely different and seriously terrible story. It somehow makes unfortunate sense that the NFL constantly uses him as one of the main faces for their commercials when you consider his previous assault arrest for beating up his pregnant girlfriend that includes punching her repeatedly in the stomach and, more recently, the investigation that took place after his three-year-old son broke his arm and he is on tape threatening his girlfriend when she brought up the incident. But he’s really fast, so all is forgiven.
BACK OF THE FUTURE
Kansas City took running back Clyde Edwards-Haire in the first round of this years’ draft, and he has already established himself as the focal point of the Chiefs backfield with 240 yards and a touchdown on the ground so far to go along with an additional 102 yards on 11 receptions through the air. He has struggled close to the goal line, but with no other back registering over 32 yards rushing so far this season, the rookie will have plenty of opportunities to make more of a mark near the endzone.
For those who are fans of against the spread trends, there are a handful that are relevant for Sunday’s matchup. Kansas City is 12-3-1 in their last 16 games overall, 7-0-1 in their previous eight at home, and 8-1-1 in their last ten games as a favorite. New England is 5-2 in their last seven as a road dog, 7-3 in their previous ten away games, and 34-16-3 in their last 53 games as an underdog.
THE FINAL DECISION
For the Patriots to have any chance of pulling the upset, they will need to control the clock and hope their ground game can continue their recent success against the Chiefs 25th in the league ranked run defense. Unfortunately for New England, I do not think they will be able to pull that off for the necessary four full quarters, even with their pass rush finally looking existent in the second half of last weeks’ game, thanks in large part to Chase Winovich, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Shilique Calhoun. Bill Belichick is known for his ability to take away the opposing teams’ top weapon, but with the Chiefs’ current arsenal, there are just too many options there for Mahomes to go to with Edwards-Helaire, Kelce, Hill, and Watkins. Even if the Patriots are able to slow down one of them, there is only so long their defense will be able to hold back the rest of the offense for long enough to pull the upset. Kansas City is riding a current 12-game winning streak going back to last season, and I strongly believe that run will continue with a double-digit win and cover against New England on Sunday.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Kansas City -7. Bet your week 4 NFL picks FREE by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie!