Pre-Game Thread: We're onto Kansas City

RedOctober3829

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View: https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1202291027568148485


Please, please commit to the running game this week. KC is 15th overall in defensive DVOA but 30th in rush defense. There was some progress last week against Houston, but when the game was in the balance they seemed to have gone away from it then once it became 14-3 it was all 11 personnel. Run the ball down their throats and try to work some play action off of that. Their pass rush is decent as they have 34 sacks which puts them tied for 11th in the NFL. However, Frank Clark hurt his shoulder and his status bears watching. I also hope that Josh starts to use more quick bubble type screens that gets the ball out in space to their speed guys. With Spags running the D, I'd expect to see a lot of blitzes.

Defensively, it is always tough to get a gameplan to slow down these guys. They make you defend every part of the field both horizontally and vertically. Adding in Mecole Hardman to the mix makes their skill group that much more explosive. Reading some of Mike Giardi's tweets today, he has down that Gilmore was on Sammy Watkins until the 4th quarter when he went onto Kelce. JC Jackson was on Kelce but switched to Watkins. Jonathan Jones and a safety were on Tyreek Hill, Jason McCourty was on their 3rd WR, and Chung had the RB out of the flats or their 2nd TE. I would expect to see something similar on Sunday. They had success when they lined up man to man and didn't let Mahomes sit back there and pick apart a zone. The Chiefs' RB situation is something to watch. Damien Williams was out last week with a rib injury and Darrell Williams went out due to a non-contact leg injury. They have LeSean McCoy and recently signed Spencer Ware.
 

DourDoerr

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I think the Pats going to run a bunch - as long as the game is tight - just to shorten the game as much as possible. That and high percentage short passes will hopefully give Mahomes as few possessions as possible.
 

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I think the Pats going to run a bunch - as long as the game is tight - just to shorten the game as much as possible. That and high percentage short passes will hopefully give Mahomes as few possessions as possible.
Never really understood the "as few possessions as possible" mindset.

Generally speaking both teams will have the same number of possessions (barring turnovers, etc). Us keeping them to 8 possessions means we've only got 8 as well. If they get 12, we get 12. I don't get any inherent advantage to keeping "Possessions down"

THAT SAID:
I do agree with that rush/short pass approach in that it's a recipe for sustained drives that end in scores. I also think it's CRITICAL we convert TD's in the red zone against KC. If we're settling for FG's we're going to lose, barring a lopsided turnover margin.
 

BaseballJones

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Gonna be a very tough game for the Pats, especially how their offense is doing. Though, and I know some of you disagree with me and that's fine, I think they showed legit signs of life in the 3rd and 4th quarters of the Houston game, and that gives me hope.

I gotta believe HFA matters in this game - any of you showing up at Foxboro on Sunday better come home hoarse.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Never really understood the "as few possessions as possible" mindset.

Generally speaking both teams will have the same number of possessions (barring turnovers, etc). Us keeping them to 8 possessions means we've only got 8 as well. If they get 12, we get 12. I don't get any inherent advantage to keeping "Possessions down"

I agree with that approach in that it's a recipe for sustained drives that end in scores. I also think it's CRITICAL we convert TD's in the red zone against KC. If we're settling for FG's we're going to lose, barring a lopsided turnover margin.
The theory is that you increase your chances of keeping the game close, particularly against a potent offense, if possessions are limited because fewer possessions introduces a higher degree of variance in outcomes. It’s not dissimilar from basketball shots: a better shooter is more likely to shoot a higher percentage of makes than a lesser shooter the bigger the sample size. Or, put differently, the smaller the sample size the more likely you get an aberrant outcome. That cuts both ways of course, and it makes each possession even more important. You play an eight possession game apiece, the premium on red zone efficiency is even higher.

Viewed from the other side, if you think you’re down to down the team more likely to score more points over, say, a huge sample size like 50 possessions (matchups accounted for), then it’s generally better to maximize possessions.

It’s not so much about gaining extra possessions from the opponent, although that’s actually possible to do, and not uncommon to see happen, in end of half situations where a team stacks possessions by draining all or most of the final minutes of game clock on a scoring drive and receives the second half kickoff.
 

BaseballJones

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When you have the talent advantage, you want the game to be played straight up and let your talent advantage win. When you're at a talent disadvantage, you want to tilt the field, shake it up, bring unexpected elements into play. Could be the weather, could be injuries, could be a new approach or formations, could be trick plays, could be pace of play...SOMETHING to minimize the talent advantage they have over you.

For a team like KC that likes to get up and down the field quickly, disrupting that by possessing the ball may be one good way to deal with it.
 

BaseballJones

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Last two games:

vs Dal: 27 att, 101 yds, 3.7 ypc (Michel 20-85, 4.3) - without Brady's 2- -3, it's 25 att, 104 yds, 4.2 ypc
vs Hou: 29 att, 145 yds, 5.0 ypc (Michel 10-45, 4.5)

So in the last two weeks, minus Brady kneel downs, the Pats have rushed 54 times for 248 yds, 4.6 ypc. This is against two average rush defenses...

Dal: #16 rush yds per game (106.4), #12 rush yds per att (4.1)
Hou: #19 rush yds per game (111.1), #23 rush yds per att (4.6)

(avg rank of those four is 17.5, or almost exactly league average)

So the running game is improving the past couple of weeks for sure. It's at least looking like it could potentially be effective against Kansas City.
 

Shelterdog

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Last two games:

vs Dal: 27 att, 101 yds, 3.7 ypc (Michel 20-85, 4.3) - without Brady's 2- -3, it's 25 att, 104 yds, 4.2 ypc
vs Hou: 29 att, 145 yds, 5.0 ypc (Michel 10-45, 4.5)

So in the last two weeks, minus Brady kneel downs, the Pats have rushed 54 times for 248 yds, 4.6 ypc. This is against two average rush defenses...

Dal: #16 rush yds per game (106.4), #12 rush yds per att (4.1)
Hou: #19 rush yds per game (111.1), #23 rush yds per att (4.6)

(avg rank of those four is 17.5, or almost exactly league average)

So the running game is improving the past couple of weeks for sure. It's at least looking like it could potentially be effective against Kansas City.
And KC is pretty weak in run defense. I think that the slightly improved running results reflect better play and suspect that BB will want to keep the game short, so I put my money on them running quite a bit.

Which of course means they run the oopty oop all game.
 

pvg44

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Kansas City’s main flaw this year hasn’t been their defense, it’s been their o-line — especially on the left side (Fisher missed the first half and has been slow to progress). Combined with Mahomes’ ankle/knee injuries, the result has been him not trusting his protection and bailing out to the right before he needs to (or when he really needs to). Whether it be the injuries or whatever, his accuracy downfield on the run has not been as good as last year. If the line gives him protection and he stays in the pocket to make throws downfield, I think KC has a good chance of winning. If not, they don’t.
 

RedOctober3829

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-2)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
DL Byron Cowart, Head
OL Ted Karras, Knee

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
LB Ja'Whaun Bentley, Knee
OT Marcus Cannon, Illness
S Patrick Chung, Heel
WR Julian Edelman, Shoulder
CB Jason McCourty, Groin
WR Mohamed Sanu, Ankle
DE John Simon, Elbow

FULL PARTICIPATION
QB Tom Brady, Toe / Elbow

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-4)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Morris Claiborne, Shoulder
CB Rashad Fenton, Hamstring
RB Damien Williams, Rib
RB Darrel Williams, Hamstring

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DE Frank Clark, Shoulder

FULL PARTICIPATION
OT Eric Fisher, Groin
CB Kendall Fuller, Thumb
WR Tyreek Hill, Hamstring
S Jordan Lucas, Shoulder
QB Patrick Mahomes, Knee
DT Derrick Nnadi, Elbow
DE Alex Okafor, Ankle
 

reggiecleveland

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The theory is that you increase your chances of keeping the game close, particularly against a potent offense, if possessions are limited because fewer possessions introduces a higher degree of variance in outcomes. It’s not dissimilar from basketball shots: a better shooter is more likely to shoot a higher percentage of makes than a lesser shooter the bigger the sample size. Or, put differently, the smaller the sample size the more likely you get an aberrant outcome. That cuts both ways of course, and it makes each possession even more important. You play an eight possession game apiece, the premium on red zone efficiency is even higher.

Viewed from the other side, if you think you’re down to down the team more likely to score more points over, say, a huge sample size like 50 possessions (matchups accounted for), then it’s generally better to maximize possessions.

It’s not so much about gaining extra possessions from the opponent, although that’s actually possible to do, and not uncommon to see happen, in end of half situations where a team stacks possessions by draining all or most of the final minutes of game clock on a scoring drive and receives the second half kickoff.
As a basketball coach, you also keep possessions down against a powerful offensive team , because if you have some playbook to throw at them it has a greater impact if it works. If I think a switch to zone gets me 3-5 possessions of confusion, or a new set on O gets me 2-4 points they matter more if the score is in the 60s than the 90s.
 
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What's the matchup's that everyone would like to see when the Pat's D takes the field? Here's what I'd like/hope to see.

* Gilmore --> Kelce
*Jones + D-Mac/Harmon over the top --> Hill
* JC --> Watkins/Robinson
* Chung --> No idea, but a big game from him will be important.

Even though I know I could draw up a better game plan that folks that do this for a living, and probably hit on a few WR's in the draft while I'm at it, I limited this to KC's top 3 receivers due to time constraints. I expect the Pats D-line to run quite a few games up front and challenge what has been a porous offensive line while making a concerted effort to flush PM to his left.

Kelce and Hill are the keys to this offense, both averaging over 70+ rec per game, but Kelce stirs the drink. This game is going to be a blast to watch.
 

RedOctober3829

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What's the matchup's that everyone would like to see when the Pat's D takes the field? Here's what I'd like/hope to see.

* Gilmore --> Kelce
*Jones + D-Mac/Harmon over the top --> Hill
* JC --> Watkins/Robinson
* Chung --> No idea, but a big game from him will be important.

Even though I know I could draw up a better game plan that folks that do this for a living, and probably hit on a few WR's in the draft while I'm at it, I limited this to KC's top 3 receivers due to time constraints. I expect the Pats D-line to run quite a few games up front and challenge what has been a porous offensive line while making a concerted effort to flush PM to his left.

Kelce and Hill are the keys to this offense, both averaging over 70+ rec per game, but Kelce stirs the drink. This game is going to be a blast to watch.
I'm more worried about the other options because that is what killed the Pats against Houston. Hopefully JMac can play this week so he can match up with Hardman. With Jones on Hill, JMac is the only one that can match up speed wise with Hardman who averages almost 20 yards per reception.
 

slamminsammya

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Never really understood the "as few possessions as possible" mindset.

Generally speaking both teams will have the same number of possessions (barring turnovers, etc). Us keeping them to 8 possessions means we've only got 8 as well. If they get 12, we get 12. I don't get any inherent advantage to keeping "Possessions down"

THAT SAID:
I do agree with that rush/short pass approach in that it's a recipe for sustained drives that end in scores. I also think it's CRITICAL we convert TD's in the red zone against KC. If we're settling for FG's we're going to lose, barring a lopsided turnover margin.
Variance.
 

BusRaker

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What's the matchup's that everyone would like to see when the Pat's D takes the field? Here's what I'd like/hope to see.

* Gilmore --> Kelce
*Jones + D-Mac/Harmon over the top --> Hill
* JC --> Watkins/Robinson
* Chung --> No idea, but a big game from him will be important.
When they play man I would like to see Collins and/or Chung on Kelce lining up inside with Gilmore on Hill with Devon picking up deep routes, Jason on Hardman
When Kelce lines up as a wide out, put Gilmore on him, committee on Hill, Jason Mac still on Hardman
 

RedOctober3829

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When they play man I would like to see Collins and/or Chung on Kelce lining up inside with Gilmore on Hill with Devon picking up deep routes, Jason on Hardman
When Kelce lines up as a wide out, put Gilmore on him, committee on Hill, Jason Mac still on Hardman
Collins or Chung can not match up with Kelce. Gilmore is the guy to put on him as he has the size and the cover skills to do so.
 

j44thor

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Damien Williams not practicing today.
Could be a combo of McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware for KC.
All smaller pass catching backs, wonder if we see a lot of dime come Sunday. Don't want to see KVN or HT trying to cover those backs in space.
 

j44thor

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Josh Bailey, a Slash for a new generation.
LAC went 4 games having their punter also place kick this season. He went 7/9 on FG and 9/9 on XP.
I'd love to see what Bailey can do. No one off the street is going to be trusted outside of 45yds anyways as the risk of giving Mahommes a short field isn't worth it.
Bigger issue might be who the holder is. I wonder if Stidham has practiced holding much this year.
 

steveluck7

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LAC went 4 games having their punter also place kick this season. He went 7/9 on FG and 9/9 on XP.
I'd love to see what Bailey can do. No one off the street is going to be trusted outside of 45yds anyways as the risk of giving Mahommes a short field isn't worth it.
Bigger issue might be who the holder is. I wonder if Stidham has practiced holding much this year.
I know Stidham split time with Bailey on holding during the pre-season.
 

joe dokes

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LAC went 4 games having their punter also place kick this season. He went 7/9 on FG and 9/9 on XP.
I'd love to see what Bailey can do. No one off the street is going to be trusted outside of 45yds anyways as the risk of giving Mahommes a short field isn't worth it.
Bigger issue might be who the holder is. I wonder if Stidham has practiced holding much this year.
If they really do this with Bailey --- and I dont think they will --- then I expect at least one direct snap to Bailey for a pooch-punt if no one is deep for the D.
 

[icon]

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They are 29th in the NFL with 3.5 YPC.
Why on EARTH would season-long numbers be more relevant given they've been without key OL members much of the season?

Do you honestly feel that's a more accurate assessment than the post Wynn return numbers we're seeing that reflect a decent rushing attack? I'm curious as to your justification outside sample size (albeit with a large portion tainted by key players being missing).
 

NomarsFool

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If they really do this with Bailey --- and I dont think they will --- then I expect at least one direct snap to Bailey for a pooch-punt if no one is deep for the D.
Seems very risky to me. I like Bailey's chances of pinning them playing it straight up.
 

Super Nomario

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Why on EARTH would season-long numbers be more relevant given they've been without key OL members much of the season?

Do you honestly feel that's a more accurate assessment than the post Wynn return numbers we're seeing that reflect a decent rushing attack? I'm curious as to your justification outside sample size (albeit with a large portion tainted by key players being missing).
Sample size is a pretty important factor.

What are we talking about with key OL members? They've been minus Andrews and Wynn, as Thuney / Mason / Cannon have all played 89%+ of snaps. And Andrews isn't coming back. So really you're just talking about Wynn, who was there the last two weeks when the run game has been a little better, but was also there week 1 when Michel averaged less than a yard per carry. So it's unclear to me how much difference he is going to make, especially with Karras now hurt.

My honest opinion is that the reality is somewhere in the middle. They will probably be better than 3.5 yards per carry, at minimum based on just pure regression. But the evidence suggests this is a bad running team. Maybe not 29th bad, but bad enough that it seems like a bad percentage play most of the time. Using the whole season statistics strikes me as way more intellectual honest than pretending the first 10 weeks don't exist.
 

BaseballJones

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If they can run 30 times for 120 yards (4.0 ypc), I think that will be sufficient to give the passing game enough lift to put up points (barring turnovers). I do think the D will need to hold KC to fewer than 27 points in this game, which will be a tall order even for this crew. Last year's AFCCG, in which the Patriots' D played so well, still resulted in 31 points for KC. They are simply too explosive. Their last three games they've averaged 32.0 points and 366.3 yards per game.
 

Number45forever

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This is a huge barometer game, I think. If the offense sucks again, real panic will commence for me. KC's defense can be had, the Pats are home and this will be a second straight game with the same group of skill guys all healthy. Time to take some actual strides forward, hopefully. I wouldn't mind a real commitment to the run, but they can't fall behind early if that's going to be the case. Some slightly more interesting offensive playcalling would help too...seems like recently they've fallen into the trap where you can predict run/pass based on formation alone. If I'm often correctly predicting run/pass before the play from my couch, it's not a great sign.

Nervous about this game. Excited too. Let's go.
 

RedOctober3829

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Listening to the Patriots All 22 Podcast with The Athletic KC beat writer Seth Keysor and Evan Lazar. This is from the first part I listened to when they touched on both team's offenses for the most part.
--Mahomes is not trusting his OL as much as earlier in the year. He says his pocket presence is down from early in the year. Not sure if it's because of the knee or not.
--Keysor thinks Belichick will not play the Chiefs the same as he did last year due to Reid's scheming abilities.
--Lazar thinks there won't be a lot of zero blitzes because of the speed of Hill and Hardman catching in space and taking it to the house.
--Keysor thinks the Patriots are scared of Travis Kelce because of how much attention they pay to him. Says they did a great job on both him and Hill.
--Keysor wonders if Hardman/Hill will run deep crosses to combat the zero blitzes.
--They touch on Gilmore vs. Kelce saying nobody else has corner than can match up with Kelce like Gilmore can. Teams have been successful with tight man coverage to throw off their timing. Keysor says they are a timing based offense to take advantage of beating zone with their precise routes. Says nobody is better at that than the Patriots. Last year, Lazar said there was a big difference with Mahomes vs. NE facing zone vs. man. Pats were much more successful against man coverage as we know from last year.
--Lazar thinks Reid is so good scheming against zone coverage because of his tendency to draw up plays that get his receivers in space. He thinks it's a recipe for disaster for the Pats to play much zone. Wonders what the chess match will be since BB will know that Reid knows they'll play man. Keysor thinks whichever coach comes up with a new wrinkle that the other won't expect to come will win due to the talent levels of both teams. Lazar is concerned that the Pats will get it to the 4th quarter but KC's offense will eventually run away with it just like the 2017 opener.
--Keysor points out how KC can hurt the Patriots with their RB's against the LB's in man coverage.
--They go in-depth on Mecole Hardman saying how he is different than other burners in that he can win at all 3 levels. When he gets the ball he averages 12 yards per touch. He's a big play machine. Keysor did say he did not have a big role against the Raiders and thinks it may have been a bit of gamesmenship for this week to keep him under wraps.
 

Super Nomario

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If they can run 30 times for 120 yards (4.0 ypc), I think that will be sufficient to give the passing game enough lift to put up points (barring turnovers).
That's so many carries at a below-average efficiency. If they keep running like that, they're going to be asking the passing game to convert a lot of 3rd-and-mediums and 3rd-and-longs.

--They go in-depth on Mecole Hardman saying how he is different than other burners in that he can win at all 3 levels. When he gets the ball he averages 12 yards per touch. He's a big play machine. Keysor did say he did not have a big role against the Raiders and thinks it may have been a bit of gamesmenship for this week to keep him under wraps.
I haven't watched a ton of Hardman this year but I did watch him a fair amount in college, and from what I saw he's a little soft. Doesn't like press, has little ability to win at the catch point if there's any traffic in his area. Crazy speed, knows how to use it, and dangerous with the ball in his hands, but I think he's more of a threat against teams that give him big cushions or play a lot of zone.
 

RedOctober3829

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Listening to the Patriots All 22 Podcast with The Athletic KC beat writer Seth Keysor and Evan Lazar. This is from the first part I listened to when they touched on both team's offenses for the most part.
--The KC defensive scheme is vastly different than last year. Not because of the 3-4 to 4-3 switch but playing more zone, more 3-safety looks, more disguised coverages as the players have gotten comfortable with the system. More stunts and twists up front as that is the Brendan Daly effect. More aggressively blitzing corners and players from odd places.

--Personnel is way different. Biggest change is the upgrades in the safety group from last year from Sorenson and Lewis to Mathieu and Thornhill. They are able to do more advanced coverages without worrying about blown assignments on the back end.

--They touch on NE's improved run offense vs. KC's poor rush defense. Keysor says their run defense is "weird" because they will give up big play after big play but sometimes randomly come up big in short yardage. Depends on what personnel the opposing offenses uses. If Reggie Ragland is out there, they are much better but teams have put personnel out there to take him off the field. Says Mike Pennel has been solid since his arrival. (To me, it sounds like the Patriots will have to run out of 11 personnel if this is the case).

--Keysor expects Belichick to run the ball a lot and commit to it because that is what will work. He wouldn't be surprised if White/Michel run for a combined 250 yards(!!). Lazar thinks they really need to commit to the run this week. They can not get into a shootout with them.

--Keysor's X-factor on KC's D: Chris Jones. He can take over a game. Lazar points out the center situation and where Jones can make a big impact because of it. He also says the Patriots have been able to scheme around one guy on the interior line such as Jones much easier than on the outside.
 

Super Nomario

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--They touch on NE's improved run offense vs. KC's poor rush defense. Keysor says their run defense is "weird" because they will give up big play after big play but sometimes randomly come up big in short yardage. Depends on what personnel the opposing offenses uses. If Reggie Ragland is out there, they are much better but teams have put personnel out there to take him off the field. Says Mike Pennel has been solid since his arrival. (To me, it sounds like the Patriots will have to run out of 11 personnel if this is the case).
The Ragland note is interesting. You'd imagine he'll match up on packages with Sony, so maybe you go 11 personnel with Sony, and if Ragland's in there you spread it out and throw, make him cover in space, and if he's not in there you run it. Could be a game where they mix in Burkhead and see if he gets a more favorable matchup in the run game (or pass game vs White).

--Keysor expects Belichick to run the ball a lot and commit to it because that is what will work. He wouldn't be surprised if White/Michel run for a combined 250 yards(!!). Lazar thinks they really need to commit to the run this week. They can not get into a shootout with them.
I don't think committing to the run really prevents a shootout. What prevents a shootout is how you play on defense. Even to the extent controlling the ball on offense limits the other team's possessions, it's really about converting first downs more than anything, and the pass game is better at moving the sticks.

You look at the game last year in the AFCCG, and the Patriots ran the ball a ton - 48 times(!), mostly poorly (they averaged 3.7 yards per carry). They did not really limit KC's possessions (they had 11, which is pretty normal) and they did not really keep the game from turning into a shootout. They are worse at running the ball this year and KC is about the same at defending it. A run-heavy approach has a decent shot at backfiring.
 

j44thor

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The Ragland note is interesting. You'd imagine he'll match up on packages with Sony, so maybe you go 11 personnel with Sony, and if Ragland's in there you spread it out and throw, make him cover in space, and if he's not in there you run it. Could be a game where they mix in Burkhead and see if he gets a more favorable matchup in the run game (or pass game vs White).


I don't think committing to the run really prevents a shootout. What prevents a shootout is how you play on defense. Even to the extent controlling the ball on offense limits the other team's possessions, it's really about converting first downs more than anything, and the pass game is better at moving the sticks.

You look at the game last year in the AFCCG, and the Patriots ran the ball a ton - 48 times(!), mostly poorly (they averaged 3.7 yards per carry). They did not really limit KC's possessions (they had 11, which is pretty normal) and they did not really keep the game from turning into a shootout. They are worse at running the ball this year and KC is about the same at defending it. A run-heavy approach has a decent shot at backfiring.
KC is much better defending the pass this year than last though and NE is much worse at passing this year than last.
I think their best way to win this game is to run Michel behind Wynn/Thuney. Derek Henry and TN just repeatedly gashed KC over the left side of the line. Granted no one is confusing Michel with Henry but the KC pass D has played well all season. They have been playing lights out last few games generating both INTs and sacks.
 

Super Nomario

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KC is much better defending the pass this year than last though and NE is much worse at passing this year than last. I think their best way to win this game is to run Michel behind Wynn/Thuney. Derek Henry and TN just repeatedly gashed KC over the left side of the line. Granted no one is confusing Michel with Henry but the KC pass D has played well all season. They have been playing lights out last few games generating both INTs and sacks.
Even with the Patriots pass O being worse and KC's pass D being better, the Chiefs are allowing a yard more per pass attempt (6.0) than rush (5.0) and the Patriots average almost double the yardage when they pass (6.2) vs run (3.5).
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Even with the Patriots pass O being worse and KC's pass D being better, the Chiefs are allowing a yard more per pass attempt (6.0) than rush (5.0)
Is there any team that doesn't allow more yards per pass attempt than yards per rush attempt? Even the Patriots with a historically amazing pass defense allow more yards per pass attempt.
 

Rough Carrigan

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Even with the Patriots pass O being worse and KC's pass D being better, the Chiefs are allowing a yard more per pass attempt (6.0) than rush (5.0) and the Patriots average almost double the yardage when they pass (6.2) vs run (3.5).
Shouldn't the take away on that info be that the Chiefs must have a really bad rush defense for those numbers to be even close?