One Minute Preview (AFC Championship Edition): New England Patriots
On Sunday, the Chiefs will play host to the Patriots with a berth in the Super Bowl on the line.
Chiefs fans may be pinching themselves, but it’s true.
In the AFC divisional games, the Chiefs beat the Colts 31-13 and the Patriots topped the Chargers 41-28 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
With the number of NFL teams still alive in the playoffs whittled to four, it’s no surprise that there is plenty of talk nationally about the Chiefs. Here is what people are saying:
Peter King wrote about the rematches in the championship games on Football Morning in America. Here is an excerpt: “So what does that game mean Sunday in the heartland? Only that neither team will fear the other in any way, and that both teams are close to full strength. The good thing for us is that both teams are surprisingly healthy for the third Sunday in January, and that the week off did both a world of good. The rested Patriots manhandled the Chargers, with Tom Brady and Julian Edelman setting the clock back five years and New England’s defense frustrating the Chargers with—surprise—a heavy-rush look that Philip Rivers couldn’t have expected. The Chiefs have scored 42 and 40 points in New England in the last two seasons, and now they get the Patriots out in Decibel Land, with the most threatening and versatile quarterback to enter the league in a while. It should be a great game.”
After the Chiefs’ victory Robert Mays of The Ringer tweeted this about Patrick Mahomes:
John Clayton, writing in the Washington Post, gave six things that could decide the two championship games. Here is part of what he wrote: “Brady is in his eighth consecutive AFC championship game. During that stretch, he’s played a title game on the road only twice, losing to the Denver Broncos in the 2013 and 2015 seasons. On the road, Brady is almost human. In home playoff games, his touchdown-to-interception ratio is an incredible 46-to-18. In those seven road playoff games, it’s 8-to-8. In this matchup, Brady’s challenge is trying to minimize the Chiefs’ pass rush trio of Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Chris Jones. It won’t be easy, as Andrew Luck found out Saturday in the Colts’ loss to Kansas City.”
Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today wrote an early preview of the game. Here is a bit of what he wrote: “The Patriots will be trying to reach their ninth Super Bowl in the Brady-Bill Belichick era. Kansas City, meanwhile, has a quarterback who’s in his first season as a starter. Its roster doesn’t come even close to the postseason experience that New England’s enjoys. While Kansas City coach Andy Reid has plenty of experience in big games, he may need to work on not having the stage become too big for his squad.”
Nate Burrelson of “Good Morning Football” said a Patriots victory is a lock:
Dan Graziano of ESPN wrote a story with the headline, “Can Andy Reid rewrite the book on ‘Playoff Andy?’” This is an excerpt: “Mahomes had his highlight throws, but he didn’t dominate the game the way he has so many times this year. The Chiefs found other ways to win, and don’t think that’s any small thing. When your quarterback allows you to dream the biggest dreams, you can absolutely be the kind of team that musters its best effort in the biggest games.
“Which is why this might be the team that finally delivers for Andy Reid, who’s top-10 all time in wins and might be the best non-Bill Belichick coach of his era but is 12-13 in the postseason and probably needs to win the Super Bowl at least once to ensure a spot in the Hall of Fame.”
Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated wrote a story with the headline, “Patrick Mahomes unfazed by the magnitude of the Chiefs’ historic playoff win.” This is a portion of the story: “It was not lost on those who know Mahomes, what he had accomplished on Saturday in this snow globe: the quarterback with no playoff history had erased almost five decades of playoff futility. The Chiefs will host the AFC championship game next Sunday, their demons exercised. They can win the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named after their late founder, for the first time.“
Danny Heifetz of The Ringer wrote a story with the headline, “Now, only Patrick Mahomes II can save us from another Patriots Super Bowl appearance.” This is a snippet: “Perhaps New England’s soul-sucking run will continue next week against the Chiefs, who they attacked with a strong running game in their win in Week 6. The only thing in between us and Brady and (Bill) Belichick’s ninth Super Bowl is Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes II, which is to say that our only hope is Mahomes. Please, save us Mahomes.”