The Kansas City Chiefs have done well for themselves this season, and they are rolling into New England on an eleven-game winning streak after a 30-0 sacking of your Houston Texans last week in the Wild Card round. The issue for them is that Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Bill Belichick should be known as "The Men of January" given their success at home in the playoffs.
Had these teams met two weeks ago, I might have given the edge to the Chiefs with their stout defense facing a Patriots offense that was hammered with injuries. Since that time, New England has had time to rest and heal up as mentioned in THIS article from patriots.com.
Injuries on both sides of the ball and all across the formation were a major issue down the stretch. The expected returns of guys like Julian Edelman, Sebastian Vollmer, Don't'a Hightower, Chandler Jones and others are both a theoretical positive and a relative unknown.
Still, Belichick seemed to be upbeat about his team's week of work and chances heading into yet another Divisional Playoff game in Foxborough.
"Everything is pointing to us being at our best, optimum performance on Saturday afternoon, so that's what we're all pointing towards, that's what we're all working towards, and that's where we hope to be," Belichick said Thursday morning in his last press conference of the week. "We've had a good week of preparation and now we need to tie up some loose ends, some situational stuff and be ready to go."
Conversely, Jeremy Maclin, one of the Chiefs' biggest offensive weapons, may be limited today according to this injury update from chiefs.com:
The Chiefs will be without offensive linemen
Laurent Duvernay-Tardifand Mitch Morse(concussion protocol), while linebacker Justin Houston(knee) and wide receiver Jeremy Maclinare officially listed as questionable.
The Patriots have had plenty of time to rest, heal and fully prepare for this game. I have to give the edge to New England if history has anything to say about it:
Perfect pic.twitter.com/Zl5CPrhLzf— Thom Marriott (@atpthom) January 16, 2016
"An empire built on players no one really wanted." On that note, the Patriots just agreed to a two-year extension for former Texans' wide receiver Keshawn Martin.
This is the first of four NFL playoff games this weekend, so settle into your comfortable chair with your favorite beverage and share your thoughts live here on Battle Red Blog.