The first time the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs played this season, they scored 83 combined points. The Patriots won on a field goal as time expired.
It might be more challenging to score points in Sunday’s AFC championship game. Weather forecasters warned of a possible “arctic blast” in Kansas City on Sunday. Even if temperatures don’t dip below zero, it will probably be extremely cold and that might slow down both offenses.
For the AFC title game, here is a sleeper from the Patriots and Chiefs:
New England Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett
Dorsett didn’t work out as a first-round pick of the Colts, and after Indianapolis traded him to New England for quarterback Jacoby Brissett, he spent almost two full seasons rarely making an impact for the Patriots.
But when Josh Gordon left the Patriots, reportedly facing another NFL suspension, Dorsett took advantage of another chance. Finally.
In New England’s past two games, Dorsett has nine catches for 75 yards. That’s a big step up, considering he had 15 catches in New England’s previous 13 games and had gone four games without a catch before Week 17. Dorsett caught a touchdown in the regular-season finale, then again in last week’s divisional round playoff win over the Chargers.
Dorsett has been efficient, as well. Those nine catches came on 10 targets from Tom Brady.
Dorsett came out of the University of Miami as an undersized speed receiver. He never fit that role with the Colts, and his Patriots career has been mostly a disappointment too. But the Patriots could try to spread out the Chiefs secondary, where Kansas City is a bit thin, and Dorsett could find some advantageous matchups.
Kansas City Chiefs S Daniel Sorensen
The first time the Chiefs and Patriots played, Sorensen was out. He was still recovering from preseason knee surgery.
Sorensen returned on Nov. 11 and it took a few games for him to get back to full speed. But by the end of the season he was back to his old role, playing full-time and being used in a number of ways. He’ll be deployed all over the field against the Patriots.
Sorensen, who started his career as a special-teams ace, took on a bigger role on defense last season and had 88 tackles. He’s able to play a deep safety role or up near the line in dime packages. The Chiefs will use him as a blitzer on occasion. Sorensen’s versatility is important for the Chiefs given the near-constant uncertainty with fellow safety Eric Berry’s health. Sorensen can fill any role he’s needed for. That is especially useful against an offense like the Patriots, which is unpredictable.
The Chiefs gave up a lot of points and yards the first time they faced the Patriots. They’ll be hoping that Sorensen can play a part in limiting the damage this time.
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