5 Things to Watch: Patriots-Chiefs
The Patriots travel to Kansas City for a Monday Night Football showdown with the Chiefs. Daveson Perez gives us his five things to watch:
1. Pressure on Alex Smith
Coming into Monday’s game, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is second in the league in sacks taken. This just goes to show that there are worse offensive lines in the league than the Patriots’. Expect for the Patriots defense, which is first in the league in passing yards allowed per game, to add some more sacks to Smith’s stat sheet. The added pressure by the defense should lead to some interceptions by a Patriots secondary that is tied for second in the lead with six interceptions on the season.
2. Stevan Ridley’s Effectiveness
Stevan Ridley has ZERO fumbles this season (knocks on wood). Be that as it may, he will get the ball a ton against a Chiefs run defense that is still allowing a ton of rushing yards like they did last year. After three games, the Chiefs are 22nd in the league in run defense and are not playing up to their potential. Expect the Patriots to take advantage of this slumping Chiefs defense by running the football with Ridley and Shane Vereen.
3. Will Tom Brady break out?
This game will come down to who the best quarterback is between Tom Brady and Alex Smith. Many would say that, without a doubt, Brady is far better than Smith at the quarterback position. This year, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Brady has had a hard time connecting with anybody other than Julian Edelman. It appears that the chemistry exhibited by these two has grown after Edelman’s breakout year last season. If the Patriots hope to defeat the Chiefs, Brady will have to start targeting other receivers like Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola. Brady will have to show everyone why the Patriots are perennial playoff contenders. He’ll not only show up, he’ll show out.
4. Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman has been targeted three times as much as anyone else on the team. This season he already has 22 receptions and is on pace to shatter his career record 106 from last year. It is clear that Edelman is, and will be, the No. 1 target for Brady this season. Expect for more of the same in this game against the Chiefs. Until teams can find an answer on how to stop Edelman he continues doing more of the same.
5. The Offensive Line
Despite Kansas City’s lack of a run defense, they are very good at putting pressure on the quarterback. Currently, the Chiefs are second in the league with 11 sacks. This would lead Patriots fans to believe that the much maligned offensive line, which has allowed Brady to get sacked seven times, is doomed for more of the same misery. But amid all of the criticism, this could be the game that the O-line steps up and provides powerful pushbacks to the Chiefs lean linemen.