by New England Patriots & Paul Perillo
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-1) VS. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-0)
Sunday, October 4, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. ET. Arrowhead Stadium.
PATRIOTS: Game Release (PDF) - Roster - Depth Chart - Stats - Ways to Watch
CHIEFS: Roster - Depth Chart - Stats - Roster Flip Card (coming soon)
The New England Patriots will play the second of three straight AFC West opponents this week, when they travel to face the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Last week, the Patriots beat the Las Vegas Raiders at home and return to Gillette Stadium to play the Denver Broncos following this week's matchup against Kansas City.
For the second straight week, the Patriots opponent will be coming off a Monday Night Football game. The Raiders beat New Orleans at home in Week 2 and the Chiefs defeated the Baltimore Ravens on the road in Week 3.
The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs will meet in the regular season for the fourth straight season. The three previous matchups in 2017, 18 and 19 were all played at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots will play at Kansas City in the regular season for the first time since 2014 when the Patriots lost, 41-14, in a Monday Night Football game on Sept. 29. The Patriots last visit to Arrowhead was in the 2018 AFC Championship Game, a game the Patriots won 37-31 in overtime. It was the second meeting of the two teams in 2018.
Kansas City holds a 19-14-3 edge over New England, including an 11- 3-1 advantage in games played in Kansas City and a 5-1 record at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs are 8-11-2 in games played at New England, including 2-4 at Gillette Stadium (2-5 including playoffs).
New England is 2-0 against Kansas City in the postseason after a 27- 20 win on Jan. 16, 2016 in a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff Game and then last year's 37-31 overtime win the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 20, 2019 at Kansas City.
The two teams played twice a year from 1960 until the 1970 AFL-NFL merger as two of the original American Football League teams.
KANSAS CITY 19, NEW ENGLAND 14 (3 TIES)
Record in New England, 11-8-2
Record in Foxborough, 8-4 Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 4-2 Gillette Stadium, 4-2 Record in Boston, 3-4-2
Road Record, 3-11-1
Record in Kansas City, 2-9-1 Municipal Stadium, 1-4-1 Arrowhead Stadium, 1-5 Record in Dallas, 1-2
Since 1970 AFL-NFL Merger, 9-10
Largest Margin of Victory: 10 points (11/21/11)
Largest Margin of Defeat: 34 points (12/11/60)
SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS
By Paul Perillo
When the Patriots run - Edge: Patriots
Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels have opened each of the three games thus far with the intention of running the football. In Weeks 1 and 3 that ultimately proved successful while in the Week 2 loss in Seattle things didn't go as well. It should come as no surprise, then, if New England opens up Sunday's game in Kansas City by trying to establish the run. Sony Michel posted the two longest runs of his career against the Raiders and finished with 117 yards. Rex Burkhead was outstanding, rushing for a pair of touchdowns as well. The Patriots also could receive a boost if second-year running back Damien Harris is activated off IR, where he's been since the start of the season due to a hand injury. Harris looked sharp at times during camp and could provide added depth at a position that figures to be quite important for the team this season. And Cam Newton's ability to run must be factored into the equation as well. The Chiefs front has struggled stopping the run, allowing 153 yards per game. However, although the numbers show it (158 yards, 7.5-yard average), Kansas City did a great job containing the Ravens vaunted ground game Monday night. The Chiefs linebackers - Ben Niemann, Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson - did a nice job of containing the perimeter and preventing the Ravens from controlling the game on the ground, especially after the first possession of the night. The Patriots had success on the edges against Las Vegas and will likely test Kansas City in those areas on Sunday.
When the Patriots pass - Edge: Chiefs
Kansas City's secondary is still missing some key pieces but it has played reasonably well in the early going. Starting corner Bashaud Breeland will serve the fourth and final game of his suspension and is out. Fellow starter Charvarius Ward returned from a broken wrist but played sparingly Monday night. That leaves L'Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton as the starters with Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu at safety. That group was outstanding Monday night and ranks fourth in the NFL in pass defense. Ward will likely be in line for a bigger role, which should only strengthen the group. The Patriots passing game is still a work in progress. Newton looked uncomfortable at times against the Raiders and aside from the late stages of the Seattle game hasn't consistently moved the ball through the air this season. New England ranks 22nd in passing and Newton is 14th in the AFC in passer rating. That will need to improve if the Patriots expect to put enough points on the board in Kansas City. Julian Edelman was quiet after a huge night in Seattle, while N'Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd are still searching for consistency. The backs, particularly Burkhead, have been a huge part of the air attack and that will likely continue against a Chiefs defense that often struggles in that area. James White has been missed the last two weeks.
When the Chiefs run - Edge: Chiefs
Normally Kansas City doesn't have much interest in running the ball but things have changed a bit with the addition of rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He's provided some balance to the attack, averaging 4.4 yards on his 55 carries thus far. No other KC back has reached double digits in carries, but the Chiefs have made it a point to run more often and the results (ninth in the league) have been promising. Meanwhile the Patriots defense continues to struggle in this department. The team currently ranks 19th in the league stopping the run, and that's been true even as the Patriots second half leads in two of the three games prevented the opponents from keeping it on the ground. Lawrence Guy and Byron Cowart represent two of the bigger bodies up front, but the problem is New England has been forced to go with some lighter fronts due to a lack of depth in some spots. Belichick likely will be satisfied if Andy Reid decides to run the ball often on Sunday as it will keep the clock moving and perhaps allow the score to remain in check. But Edwards-Helaire figures to have some success running against a Patriots team that hasn't been stout thus far.
When the Chiefs pass - Edge: Chiefs
It's almost impossible to give the edge to the defense in any matchup involving Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs passing attack. Mahomes is performing at an elite level once again and is coming off a near-flawless Monday night effort in Baltimore in which he shredded a very solid Ravens secondary. The Patriots have a solid secondary of their own, but will have their hands full with a variety of options. Tyreek Hill will likely see multiple bodies in an effort to prevent the big play. That was case in the 2018 AFC title game when Jonathan Jones worked with the safeties to keep him largely in check. Travis Kelce is another concern, and he will represent the biggest challenge to date for Joejuan Williams if the second-year corner gets the assignment. J.C. Jackson or Stephon Gilmore also could be involved, but regardless the tight end is off to another strong start in 2020. Sammy Watkins is the forgotten member of the passing attack and he has hurt New England in the past. He had four catches for 114 yards in the 2018 title game working against Gilmore. DeMarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman also factors into the mix, with Hardman representing another home run threat for Mahomes. Gilmore's sluggish start cannot continue if the Patriots are to contain this group, and the safeties must be disciplined in order to prevent Mahomes from making the big plays he so often makes. Long touchdowns have been a problem for the Patriots in virtually every meeting with Mahomes, though, so stopping them is easier said than done. Perhaps Belichick will use more zones to help keep Mahomes in the pocket, and to prevent some of the long throws that have plagued them in the past.
Special Teams - Edge: Chiefs
Another week and another missed kick for Nick Folk, who pushed a PAT attempt wide right to keep it a two-score game against the Raiders. His consistency has been lacking all season, but he appears to be the guy at this point as Justin Rohrwasser remains on the practice squad. Kansas City's Harrison Butker got off to an excellent start, including a 58-yard game-winner in overtime against the Chargers, but he missed both a field goal and a PAT against Baltimore. He remains an excellent kicker, however. Jake Bailey continues to do solid work in his second season as the Patriots punter while Tommy Townsend handles those duties for the Chiefs. KC allowed a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Baltimore, which could be something to keep an eye on in terms of their coverage. Neither side has generated much in the return game, although Hardman can be dangerous taking back both punts and kicks. The Patriots coverage was improved last week after a shaky outing in Seattle, but the difference is the confidence in the kicker, and the Chiefs get the edge.
TALE OF THE TAPE CONNECTIONS
Run Game Coordinator/D Line Coach Brendan Daly - Defensive assistant (2014) Defensive Line (2015-18)
DL Xavier Williams - (2018-19)
CHIEFS TIES TO NEW ENGLAND
DC Steve Spagnuolo - Coaching: UMass Graduate Assistant (1981-82), Coaching: UConn DB coach (1987-88), Coaching: UConn Defensive Coordinator (1989-91), Coaching: Maine DB Coach (1993), Defensive Coordinator (1994) College: Springfield. Hometown: Whitinsville, Mass. FB Anthony Sherman - College: UConn (2007-10), Hometown: North Attleboro, Mass High School: North Attleboro High
Kansas City VP of sports medicine and performance was a summer intern with the Patriots in 1986. Chief's quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Kafka spent time on the Patriot's practice squad as a quarterback in 2013. Kansas City wide receivers coach Greg Lewis was a wide receiver on the 2009 Patriot's practice squad. WHAT TO LOOK FOR Through the first three games of the season, New England has not committed an offensive penalty. Since 2000 when Bill Belichick became head coach of the Patriots, the team has played consecutive games without committing an offensive penalty four times but had never achieved the feat in three straight games. The Patriots are the least penalized team in 2020 with just seven total penalties. Following DB Devin McCourty's pick-six in Week 2 at Seattle and DL Deatrich Wise Jr.'s fumble recovery in the end zone against Las Vegas last week, the Patriots have now scored a defensive touchdown in consecutive games under Bill Belichick eight times. New England scored defensive touchdowns in three consecutive games under Belichick once, in 2004. After a 250-yard rushing performance against the Raiders last week, the Patriots have a chance to record back-to-back 200-yard rushing games for the first time since 2012, when the team rushed for 247 and 251 yards in back-to-back weeks against the Bills (9/30) and Broncos (10/7). The combined total of 498 rushing yards in that two-game span is the best two-game aggregate rushing total for the team since its 519 total rushing yards in a two game stretch in 1978. As a team, the Patriots have rushed for over 200 yards in two of the first three games this season. The last time New England began a season with 200-plus rushing yards in three-of-four games to start a season came in 1978, when the club rattled off three straight 200-yard rushing performances following the season opener. The Patriots have never eclipsed 200 yards rushing three times in a single season under Belichick. Bill Belichick enters this week third all-time with 275 career regular-season wins, behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318). Belichick's 306 career victories as a heads coach (including postseason) are third-most all-time behind George Halas (324) and Don Shula (347). Julian Edelman enters Week 3 with 614 career regular-season receptions, second-most in team history behind Wes Welker's 672. With one touchdown catch, Edelman will tie Welker with his 37th career touchdown reception, good for sixth-most in team history. Edelman has 41 career touchdowns overall, good for 11th in franchise history. Gino Cappelletti, Irving Fryar and Larry Garron are tied for eighth with 42 career touchdowns. The Patriots are 22-3 (postseason included) when Julian Edelman catches a touchdown pass. Edelman set a single-game career-high with 179 yard's receiving in Week 2 at Seattle. He has put up back-to-back 100-yard receiving performances twice in his career. Cam Newton enters Week 4 with 29,755 career regular-season passing yards and needs 245 yards to become the 48th quarterback in NFL history to reach the 30,000-yard passing plateau. Newton needs 45 yards rushing to join Michael Vick as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 5,000 career regular-season rushing yards. Newton, who has the most rushing first downs by quarterback in NFL history with 374, is tied for fifth in the NFL in 2020 with 15 rushing first downs. Newton has 35 rushing attempts so far in 2020, on pace for 187 rushing attempts. The NFL record for most rushing attempts by an NFL quarterback is 176 in 2019 by Lamar Jackson. Cam Newton's single-season career-high was 139 rushing attempts in 2017. With his next interception, Devin McCourty (27) will tie Mike Haynes for sixth all-time in Patriots history with 28 career interceptions. If McCourty returns another interception for a TD this season, he will tie the team record with two pick-sixes in a single year. The feat has been accomplished nine times. Sony Michel enters Week 4 looking for his first stretch of consecutive 100-yard rushing performances in the regular season. The last Patriots running back to put together consecutive 100-yard rushing games in the regular season was LeGarrette Blount in 2016. Michel did rush for 0ver 100 yards in consecutive playoff games during the 2018 postseason. Sony Michel enters Week 4 with 2,016 career regular-season rushing yards. He needs two rushing yards to pass Andy Johnson into the 20th spot on the Patriots all-time rushing list and 49 to pass BenJarvus Green-Ellis into 19th. With his next rushing touchdown, Sony Michel will match Carl Garrett with his 15th career regular-season rushing touchdown, 17th-most in team history. IF THE PATRIOTS WIN... The Patriots will improve their NFL-best road record with their 131st road win since 1994. And a player eclipses 100 yards rushing, the team will improve to 53-1 since the 2000 regular season when a player rushes for at least 100 yards. And the team does not commit a turnover, New England will win its 70th game since 2008 without committing a turnover. The Patriots enter Week 3 with a 69-9 record in zero turnover games since 2008. BROADCAST INFO
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Tony Romo as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Jim Rikhoff and directed by Mike Arnold.
NATIONAL RADIO: Sunday's game will be broadcast to a national audience on Sports USA. John Ahlers will call the game with Hank Bauer providing analysis.
SATELLITE RADIO: Coming soon!
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 38 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.
For information on how to stream the game please visit our Ways to Watch guide.