The Kansas City Chiefs will face their nemesis Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in a much-anticipated Week 14 matchup with the New England Patriots.
The Chiefs earned homefield advantage in the AFC playoffs last season but were upset at home in the AFC Championship Game as the Patriots won in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium. Earlier in the 2018 regular season, the Patriots outscored Chiefs quarterback (and eventual 2018 NFL MVP winner) Patrick Mahomes and his high-flying offense in a 43-40 shootout in Foxboro.
Kansas City has lost three of its last four games against New England, including the previous two postseason meetings. So, how important is the Chiefs' Week 14 game versus the Patriots? Here's what Mahomes told reporters (via ESPN's Adam Teicher) after his team's convincing 40-9 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday:
Patrick Mahomes on whether beating the Patriots next week was a necessary step for the Chiefs: "As far as it looks, you're going to have to go there to win at some point. It's kind of been a thing where we came close last year. When Alex (Smith) was here, we did get to go there and get the win (in 2017). So the guys on the team know how to. It's about trying to find the best way to do it.''
The good news for Mahomes is we probably won't see another high-scoring game between the Chiefs and Patriots. If we do, it could be very bad news for the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Patriots offense is really struggling right now, scoring an average of just 18 points over its last four games. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his wide receivers don't have great chemistry right now, and that was quite evident in New England's loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday night. The run game has been ineffective all year, and the offensive line has battled injuries at multiple positions since the preseason. The Patriots just aren't built to win a shootout right now, and the Chiefs have scored an average of 28.6 points over the last seven games.
The Chiefs will be facing a historically good Patriots defense, a unit that has allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game and the fewest points per game. New England's defense also leads the league in interceptions and third-down percentage. That said, if this defense doesn't give a quality bounce-back performance and prevent Mahomes from lighting up the scoreboard, the Patriots will lose back-to-back games for the first time in 2019 and kiss their hopes of earning the AFC's No. 1 seed goodbye.
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Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes gives initial take on Week 14 showdown vs. Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston