Game Predictions & Player Projections - KC vs. NE

Game Predictions & Player Projections - KC vs. NE


Game Predictions & Player Projections - KC vs. NE

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Prediction: KC 24, NE 23 (Line: NE by 5)

UPDATE: Jeremy Maclin did not practice this week because of his ankle and he is no lock to play. Even if he does suit up, he won’t be 100%. I am removing him from the projections because of the risk he carries. Spencer Ware is listed as questionable and only managed a limited session on Friday. He is still expected to play but his ankle could be an issue.

As usual, most of the Patriots are questionable to play – Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. After being limited on Wednesday and Thursday saw him held out, Gronkowski returned for limited work on Friday. His knee and back are problems and he’s needed a pain injection in his knee. He is considered a game-time decision for Saturday.

Amendola was limited all week because of his knee but is expected to play. Julian Edelman was also limited in all practices but is expected to play a big role despite missing the past eight games. Tom Brady is listed as probable and will play though he is still dealing with a high ankle sprain.

This should be a fascinating game with the Patriots at home but ending the season with a 2-4 record. But the team is healthier now than they have been in more than a month. The Chiefs are on a ten game winning streak with a tremendous defense that just shut out the Texans in Houston last week. The Patriots are unbeatable at home but the Chiefs are unbeaten everywhere since Week 6. This is where the adage “defense wins championships” gets pitted against “Don’t play at Foxboro in January.”

This is the only game in the Divisional Round that contains teams that did not meet during the regular season. There is a chance of light rain in this game.

Kansas City Chiefs

1 @HOU 27-20 10 @DEN 29-13
2 DEN 24-31 11 @SD 33-3
3 @GB 28-38 12 BUF 30-22
4 @CIN 21-36 13 @OAK 34-20
5 CHI 17-18 14 SD 10-3
6 @MIN 10-16 15 @BAL 34-14
7 PIT 23-13 16 CLE 17-13
8 DET 45-10 17 OAK 23-17
9 BYE —— W @HOU 30-0
News | Statistics | Roster
Chiefs Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 40,1 180,1
RB Charcandrick West 40
RB Spencer Ware 60,1
TE Travis Kelce 6-60,1
WR Jeremy Maclin 3-40
WR Chris Conley 3-40
WR Albert Wilson 4-60
PK Cairo Santos 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs have won ten in a row and there were plenty of soft matchups along the way. But beating the Broncos in Denver proved the Chiefs were for real and then handing the Texans a shutout loss in their own stadium signals this team – and mostly this defense – are not ready to go silently into that good night.

QUARTERBACK : Alex Smith hasn’t thrown for more than two scores since the season opener but he’s been good for one or two touchdowns each week while playing game manager. He has not topped 200 yards in the last six weeks though they faced lesser offenses over that time. With a defense that keeps the opponent’s score low if not adds a defensive score, Smith’s biggest role is to limit mistakes and control the ball.

RUNNING BACK : Spencer Ware sprained his ankle last week though he played the entire game and ended with 67 yards on 16 carries and scored once. He had nearly the same result the previous week (16-76, TD) against the Raiders as well. Ware will be rested this week but is expected to play as the primary again. Ware leads the Chiefs with seven rushing touchdowns this year. Charcandrick West is still involved as well but has only scored once in the last seven games and mostly helps out on early downs. Together the duo usually end up north of 100 rushing yards but Ware is the scorer and gets the bigger cut of the pie.

WIDE RECEIVER : Jeremy Maclin is the clear #1 here with eight touchdowns and all three of the 100+ yard games by a wideout. But Maclin has been limited to less than 70 yards in most weeks and will be playing with a sprained ankle that was called as a “mild” high ankle variety by HC Andy Reid. His effectiveness this week is hard to guage with the uncertainty about the ankle.

Albert Wilson and Chris Conley fill in as the next best but both only have two touchdowns on the year and rarely amount to more than 40 yards in any game. Wilson just missed scoring on a deep pass last week but he’s not been reliable for more than mediocre results.

TIGHT END : Travis Kelce comes off his best yardage of the year when he caught eight passes for 128 yards in Houston – that bookends his other big game in the season opener. Kelce’s production typically goes up when the Chiefs face a tougher defense. Any limitation to Maclin should result in more targets for Kelce.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Patriots defense is mostly average though they play better at home and their typical plan is to take away their opponent’s #1 receiver – clearly Maclin in this case though he’s already affected by a sore ankle of some degree. The Pats have been good stopping the run at home though mostly from opponents not having the luxury of rushing. Only two teams had a runner with 20+ carries.

The Pats are good against tight ends but have allowed five scores to visiting tight ends including two for Delanie Walker (2-64) in the last home game. Kelce is a strong start this week and should have a shot at a score. Conley and Wilson are too unreliable to merit consideration but either could turn in a score.

Gaining Fantasy Points KC 25 22 26 10 7 4
Preventing Fantasy Points NE  16 10 21 5 4 4

New England Patriots

1 PIT 28-21 10 @NYG 27-26
2 @BUF 40-32 11 BUF 20-13
3 JAC 51-17 12 @DEN 24-30
4 BYE —— 13 PHI 28-35
5 @DAL 30-6 14 @HOU 27-6
6 @IND 34-27 15 TEN 33-16
7 NYJ 30-23 16 @NYJ 20-26
8 MIA 36-7 17 @MIA 10-20
9 WAS 27-10  
News | Statistics | Roster
Patriots Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 280,2
RB Steven Jackson 30
RB Brandon Bolden 20 2-20
RB James White 10 7-60
TE Rob Gronkowski 4-50,1
WR Julian Edelman 6-80,1
WR Brandon LaFell 2-30
WR Danny Amendola 4-30
PK S. Gostkowski 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots stumble into the post season and lost the all-important #1 seed to the Broncos but the week off should do wonders for getting a much healthier version of the offense than has been seen for six weeks or more. Like the Packers last week, the Pats could come out and mow down the Chiefs despite playing so poorly in recent weeks. There are still injuries that could have an impact though but getting a full complement of receivers back will make a big difference.

QUARTERBACK : Tom Brady suffered a ankle sprain and bruised ribs in the Week 17 loss in Miami. That was later reported to be a high ankle sprain but as with all things Patriot, the reality will be hard to glean. There is no concern that he will miss this game but whether or not his mobility is impacted could be an issue. Brady gets back his #1 receiver in Julian Edelman this week and that will help.

RUNNING BACK : The loss of LeGarrette Blount still hasn’t really been compensated for and the addition of Steven Jackson so far hasn’t meant more than 21 carries for 50 yards and one score. Brandon Bolden still gets around ten carries as well while James White handles the receiving duties that have been productive nearly every week. White scored six times over the last seven games and does all his damage with receiving yardage. So far White is the only one with reliable production.

WIDE RECEIVER : Julian Edelman has been cleared to return and that offers a nice upgrade to the passing offense. Despite missing the last seven games, Edelman is still the leading scorer for wideouts with seven touchdowns. Danny Amendola has been nursing a sore knee for the last three weeks and will take a step backwards with Edelman in the lineup. Brandon LaFell still has not scored this year and spends most weeks with less than 50 yards of production. Only Edelman has offered consistent production while scoring in most games.

TIGHT END : Rob Gronkowski was not at practice on Tuesday though the reason won’t be known until Wednesday with the injury report. Gronk has seen lower yardage and catches in recent weeks and hasn’t topped 100 yards since Week 10 but the return of Edelman will only help reduce the attention that he’s had.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Chiefs are only average against quarterbacks and wideouts but the Patriots are just now getting back Edelman after a lengthy absence and Brady is banged up to some degree. Brady is a safe start here for a couple of scores and solid yardage but more than that depends on his health and how well the Chiefs reach him (or not).

The Chiefs rank highly against tight ends and only allowed three scores to the position this year but really did not face any elite of the position. Gronkowski is a strong start in all cases and more so with Edelman returning. Wideouts are the weakest part of the secondary and should see Edelman with a good game here so long has he can quickly shake off the rust.

The running backs have been less effective since Blount left and the Chiefs are one of the best at stopping the run. That makes White a good start but Bolden and Jackson less appealing. This offense could all come together and post major points here in the old Patriots style. But there are still injuries to consider and rustiness that could be an issue.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 2 3 22 2 1 15
Preventing Fantasy Points KC  15 4 24 2 1 8

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