SNF: Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) at New England Patriots (3-2)
What to Watch For:
The changing of the guard. The seamless transition from the “Greatest of All-Time” to the “Greatest of a Generation.” I’m not saying or predicting Pat Mahomes will be the best quarterback of this generation, but as of right now, it sure looks like he will be. On the other side, Tom Brady doesn’t look to be done just yet, he’s showed over the last couple weeks that he certainly still has something left in the tank; perhaps enough to make one last Super Bowl run in a very top-heavy AFC.
This game features two of the most powerful offenses in the NFL, along with two of the worst defenses. The difference is Kansas City likes to move the ball up and down with quickness and chunk plays; while New England, on the other hand, likes to methodically break down defenses as they outsmart their way down the field. The best defense in this game will be a slow, methodical offense.
This game will be a high-scoring affair between two powerhouses. Pat Mahomes and Tom Brady will go punch for punch for 60 minutes, and may very well come down to who has the ball last. Bill Belichick has mastered the game planning strategy of being able to shut down one primary piece of the opposing offense. I believe the piece that the Patriots will hone in on is Kareem Hunt. With his pass-catching abilities, he has the skill set to take over a game and Belichick wants to make Mahomes beat him, as crazy as that may sound. He knows how difficult it is for quarterbacks, especially young quarterbacks, to come into Foxborough and win. New England will make the one defensive stop necessary to steal this game and end the Chiefs’ unbeaten run.
Prediction: Patriots win 41-38.
WR Tyreek Hill
The Chiefs make a living on chunk plays. Who’s better at chunk yardage plays in the NFL than Tyreek Hill? Nobody. In a game where I see Belichick focusing on stopping Kareem Hunt, there should be ample opportunity for Hill to get behind the safeties. Mahomes and the Chiefs are going to take shots early to put the Pats’ defense on their heels. I see Hill converting on 2 long touchdowns tonight.
RB Sony Michel
Opposite of Kansas City, the Patriots are going to want to slow this game down. The best way to slow down the Chiefs’ offense is to keep them on the sideline. Enter Sony Michel. Kansas City sports the worst overall defense in the NFL and is very susceptible to opposing RBs, allowing 28.0 fantasy points per game, 2nd worst in the NFL. Sony Michel will be the key to the Patriots slowing the game down and controlling the clock; in turn keeping the Chiefs’ offense off the field and propelling New England to victory.
WR Josh Gordon
Josh Gordon hasn’t been able to establish any serious chemistry with Tom Brady thus far. Whether it’s not fully grasping the offense (a previous rumor from Cleveland stated he was never able to understand the offense), or just isn’t as crisp a route runner as Brady generally prefers, I’m not sure; but it’s been evident that Gordon isn’t going to provide the explosive spark everyone was expecting of him with NE, not yet anyway. This week won’t be any different. Kansas City’s defense is bad but has been surprisingly average against opposing WRs, allowing just 24.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receiver groups, ranking them 18th in the league. With Julian Edelman back, Brady’s favorite receiver, Gordon will have a hard time finding significant targets.
RB Kareem Hunt
It’s tough to pick a “dud” for this Chiefs’ offense. I look at it as “who will be the lowest scoring fantasy option of the big four (Pat Mahomes, Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce)?” In that sense, it’s Kareem Hunt. Belichick is the best at two things; playing to his team’s strengths, and removing a player from the opposing offense. Both of those things point to Kareem Hunt. The Patriots’ defense has been very underwhelming this year, except against opposing RBs. They are allowing 16.5 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs, ranking 11th in the NFL. Their best defensive ability is stopping the run so naturally Belichick will use that to his advantage and try to remove Hunt from deciding this football game. Not that I don’t think Hunt will still get his, perhaps even score once. But of the big 4 fantasy players in Kansas City, Hunt will be the lowest scoring fantasy option tonight.