Kansas City @ New England
Vegas: NE -3.5
DomModel: NE + 0.579
Recommendation: KC +3.5
Kansas City Chiefs:
-RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif fractured his fibula during his week 5 game and did not return. HC Andy Reid said he isn’t done for the year, but he’ll miss time (likely around 8 weeks).
-LB Justin Houston (hamstring) left his week 5 game and did not return. He did not practice Wednesday (10/10).
-LB Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle) left his week 5 game and did not return. He did not practice Wednesday (10/10).
-S Eric Murray (lower leg) left his week 5 game and did not return. He did not practice Wednesday (10/10).
-S Eric Berry is till recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered week 1 of last year. He has not practiced or played this year.
New England Patriots:
-RB Jeremy Hill tore his ACL last week and is out for the season.
-RB Rex Burkhead hurt his neck during his week 3 game and did not return. He was dealing with concussion issues earlier in the year. He has been placed on IR.
-RB Sony Michel (knee) has been limited in practice on Wednesday (10/10). The Patriots had a walk-through practice Thursday, but Michel was on a stationary bike while the Patriots were doing warm ups. He’s status appears up in the air.
-DT Malcolm Brown (knee) left his week 5 game and did not return. He was limited in practice on Wednesday (10/10).
-LB Ja’Whaun Bentle was placed on IR.
-CB Eric Rowe was INACTIVE weeks 3 – 5. He was limited in practice on Wednesday (10/10).
When Kansas City has the ball:
Kansas City’s offense, ever heard of them? They have this guy Pat Mahomes under center. Guess he’s supposed to be pretty good or something.
Mahomes has come back down to Earth in his last two games, but that’s understandable considering he caught Denver on the road and Jacksonville. He is supported with elite weaponry: Travis Kelce at tight end, TyFreak Hill who can outrun God himself (no offense to God), and Sammy Watkins appears to be fully healthy. Their offensive line is only okay, but Mahomes ability to extend the play with his legs and his how-the-hell-is-that-possible arm strength can deliver strikes on the run. Rounding out the offense is last years rushing yardage leader Kareem Hunt. Save for the Rams, you will not find a better offense in the league.
New England defense:
The Patriots will march into Sunday night with a respectable but still very exploitable defense. Their biggest issue is their pass rush, which is virtually non existent with the exception of Trey Flowers. From a coverage stand point, they moved on from CB Eric Rowe due to injury, and that’s been a blessing in disguise as Jason McCourty has been far superior to whatever expectations the Patriots put on Rowe. Along with Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones in the slot, and the OG McCourty (Devin) at safety, this is actually a solid secondary. The problem is you can’t cover forever.
Against the run, the Patriots lost rookie phenom Ja’Whaun Bentley after week 3 and DT Malcolm Brown’s status is very much in the air after being taken out last game with a knee injury. The Patriots have been generous against the run already, and losing these two won’t help.
TL;DR Conclusion: The Chiefs shouldn’t have an issue moving the ball against the Patriots. Though New England can cover well, the Chiefs offensive line shouldn’t have an issue containing the Pats weak pass rush. This will give Mahomes plenty of time – not that he needs it.
When New England has the ball:
The Patriots offense came into week 4 with a ton of questions. Now, just two weeks later, they’ve almost all been answered. The offense sprang to life last week with the return of WR Julian Edelman. WR Josh Gordon has still been limited with a hamstring issue from his Cleveland days, but his usage increased in week 5 (ran 12 routes week 4, 18 week 5). Rob Gronkowksi is still Rob Gronkowski, and James White has been an elite weapon out of the backfield.
The problem for this game is the running backs. The Patriots lost Jeremy Hill (torn ACL) week 1, and Rex Burkhead week 3 (neck). Since then they’ve relied on rookie Sony Michel to carry the load — he’s had 25 and 18 attempts the last two weeks. However, he’s popping back up on the injury report with another knee issue. Coming into the league, Michel has had previous knee issues and multiple reports showed teams were concerns about this. If Michel can’t play, Tom Brady will have to throw the ball virtually every play.
Kansas City defense:
This defense has been.. uh, not good.
Let’s start with the good. This won’t take long. DE Dee Ford is having a bit of a break out season, and has formed a nice duo with Justin Houston for a decent pass rush.
Ok, done with the good. Everything else blows.
Steven Nelson, Orlando Scandrick, and Kendall Fuller are one of the worst cornerback trios in the NFL today. Their linebacking core stinks. There isn’t any depth on the defensive line.
It’s a bad defense, you guys.
TL:DR Conclusion: The Patriots offense should have no issue picking this defense apart. If Sony Michel can’t go, Brady might literally have to throw the ball 80 times, and it’ll probably still be a winning strategy (#2018football).
In the end, the model priced this at close to a pick em, making the Chiefs a slight favorite. We’re getting 3.5 points, which is hugely important since it crosses a crucial 3 point threshold. Dom explains more on how huge that is here.
Bet the Chiefs, crack a beer (or 10), ignore the Sunday scaries, and get ready for a Sunday night shootout.
That’s it for now, bitches.