NFL Playoffs – Conference Championship games, Patriots @ Chiefs

Tom Brady is 18 years older than Patrick Mahomes so DSC_0198Brady played his first game of College football when Mahomes was 1 year old, there’s not really much relevance in that statement beyond the fact that playing your 19th game of the season will inevitably be more challenging when you are 41 years old than playing it will be when you’re a mere 23 years of age.

To counteract Brady’s age you have to imagine the Patriots are going to use his intellect more than they are going to rely on his athletic prowess (or lack thereof). I’m expecting them to use the options they have at Running Back to do most of the heavy lifting, last week 5 Patriots gained positive yards out of the backfield, Brady also threw passes to 4 players who rushed the ball too and I think that’s largely what they’ll be doing this week, if the Chiefs decide to load the box with defenders then Brady will audible at the line of scrimmage and throw a short pass to keep the chains moving. The one thing that will affect the Patriots passing game is pressure up the middle and if Chris Jones can collapse the pocket around Brady then the Patriots might have to rely on their Defence making big plays. The Patriots Defence has been very much a Jekyll and Hyde affair this  season, it was 6th at home but in the bottom away home from. If they continue that trend in Arrowhead today they’ll be behind the 8 ball.

The Chiefs have been beaten at home once this season and that was a one point defeat to the team the Patriots absolutely destroyed last week, the Chargers. On that occasion fumbles cost the Chiefs and the Chargers threw for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns. With temperatures set to be well below freezing tonight it would be surprising to see either Quarterback attempting 38 passes like Philip Rivers did back in week 13. The weather promises to be the key factor in Kansas City, the sub-zero temperatures will make it hard to throw, kick and catch the ball and should favour the team with the most experience of playing high pressure games in adverse conditions. However last week penalties  especially offside penalties were big factors in both the  Chiefs and Patriots games, Mahomes repeatedly made the Colts Defence look like schoolboys by drawing them offside and the Patriots Defence jumped more than you’d expect a Bellichick coached team to.

If I had to make a prediction for this game it would be that the team who possess the ball as the clock ticks down to zero will leave Arrowhead with the win. It would be a fairytale for Mahomes to make the Super Bowl in his first full NFL season but I wouldn’t bet on it happening.

 

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