Week 1 NFL Preview
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
The Patriots will hang up banner number 5 tonight as they play host to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots and Chiefs were two of the best teams a year ago and figure to be so again in 2017. With the Patriots missing Tom Brady’s favorite receiver for the year and some new faces emerging in the backfield week 1 might be the best time for Andy Reid’s team to meet up with Belichick and company.
When The Chiefs Have The Ball: Ty Hill was the Chief's secret weapon in 2016 ad he’ll need to continue to be an emerging player this year since the team cut Jeremy Maclin in the offseason. There was plenty of time to game plan, so look for Reid to find some creative ways to get the ball to Hill this week. Chris Conley is another player to watch in Kansas City and he should get some chances on deep balls if the team can establish the run enough for play action. Speaking of establishing the run, Kareem Hunt is a back that I’ve liked since I watched him play at Toledo in 2015. He is a complete back that does everything well but doesn’t stand out in any way, other than his consistency. The Patriots can be run on and Hunt will need to do that effectively tonight. Travis Kelce was the best tight end in football last season and might continue to improve upon his numbers this year. Kelce might block some early but once he is free to run routes he will pose a challenge for the Patriots linebacker.
When The Patriots Have The Ball: Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game for a reason. Brady has proven time and time again that he has the ability to engineer wins no matter what pieces he has to work with and this year he has perhaps his most talented offense since Randy Moss was in town. Brandin Cooks is probably going to be a deep threat that stretches the field for the Patriots but he has all the skills needed to fill in for Julian Edelman should the Patriots choose to use him that way. I expect him to get fewer opportunities early but the opportunities will be premium ones. Gronkowski is still Gronkowski and is still the most dangerous tight end, if not receiver, in the NFL. He has the ability to decimate defenses in both short and long yardage situations and his pairing with Dwayne Allen should be fruitful for him as a receiver. The Patriots backfield is loaded but who knows how they will be used. Certainly James White, Mike Gillislee, and Rex Burkhead have each made cases for themselves to be the primary option.
Prediction: I think the Patriots are probably the better team right now but something tells me that the Chiefs will be prepared for this game after missing out on an opportunity to dethrone New England in last year’s AFC championship game. They have just enough mystery surrounding the offense to succeed where others have failed. Also, the Patriots sometimes start slow. Kansas City 24 New England 23.