New England Patriots: It’s onto Kansas City

What’s old is new again!  Last year in week four the Patriots were throttled by the Kansas City Chiefs 41-14.  After the game questions from the media began about the demise of Tom Brady.  Bill Belichick answered with a classic Belichick line, “We are onto Cincinnati.” Now a year and a half later the Patriots are onto Kansas City.

Kansas City has won 11 in a row after a 1-5 start. On wild card weekend they owned the Houston Texans, as they shut them out 30-0.  Now the Chief will travel to New England in what will be the Patriots biggest test of the season.  The Patriots losers of four of their last six, backed into the playoffs.  After securing the first round bye, it seemed as if New England just tried to stay healthy.  Now they should be getting back the ultra important Julian Edelman, and tackle Sebastian Vollmer.  Having Edelman back will be huge for Tom Brady and the Patriots offensive line against the ultra aggressive front seven of the Chiefs. Edelman has officially been cleared to play in the playoffs.  Saturday afternoon will be the big test.

Other thoughts from Wild Card Weekend.

The Seahawks are going to be a tough out.  They went into Minnesota and won in the bitter cold 10-9.  While the offense wasn’t great it scored enough to win, albeit with a little luck. Another costly Adrian Peterson fumble in the playoffs and a missed 27 yard field goal by Blair Walsh helped Seattle win.  Next week the iron meets the fire as the defending NFC Champions will travel to Carolina to play the 15-1 Panthers.  Are the Panthers for real? Or are the Seahawks destined for another Superbowl run?

Texans run undone.

The Houston Texans are headed in the right direction despite their 30-0 loss to the Chiefs.  Brian Hoyer was the feel good story of the season.  He finally got a chance to be the starter for an NFL team and led the Texans to a division title. However despite his decent play, Houston was undone by his four turnovers.  The Texans are a good quarterback away from being a true contender.  Could that QB be soon to be third year player Tom Savage?  The Texans in theory need to find a solid, proven veteran.  All the veterans have their pock marks.  Kirk Cousins will most likely be locked up in Washington.  His back up Robert Griffen is not a fit for Bill O’Brien’s offense.  That leaves Sam Bradford or perhaps Brock Osweiler.  It will be an interesting off-season in Houston.

Pittsburgh won in Cincinnati, no huge shocker, as Marvin Lewis is now 0-8 in the playoffs. The way Cincy lost was down right pathetic.  That is a knock on the head coach.  First after a great interception by  Vontaze Burfict, the player decided he was bigger than the game, running the entire length of the field and up the tunnel.  One play latter after a fumble he was back on the field.  His hit on Antonio Brown was flagged for a 15 yard penalty.  Then Pacman Jones received another 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  The Steelers picked up 30 yards without having to run an offensive play.  This is a plain case of undisciplined players being able to do whatever they want.  As great as Burfict played Saturday night, his antics cost Cincinatti it’s first playoff victory since 1990. Perhaps it should cost Lewis his job.

Greenbay started out poorly against the Washington Redskins before turning on the jets and dominating both side of the ball from the middle of the third quarter on.  The Packers haven’t been great the second half of the season, but Aaron Rodgers in the desert versus Carson Palmer and the Cardinals could be a great game.   Perhaps another huge shootout between the teams, for a playoff classic.

The Broncos may have gotten some luck with Ben Roethlisberger getting his shoulder banged up against the Bengals.  Antonio Brown is also in the concussion protocol program after he was hit hard by Burfict.  The Broncos are as big of a question mark as any team in the playoffs.  Is Peyton Manning healthy?  Does it matter with how great the defense is playing?

The Patriots and Chiefs will be keeping a close eye on Jeremy Maclin.  The Chiefs leading receiver left Saturday’s game with what was feared to be a torn ACL.  On Sunday it was announced that Maclin is day to day with an ankle sprain, after being carted off the field.  Maclin is the key to Saturday’s game.  With Maclin the Chiefs offense can open up one on one battles for either Maclin or Travis Kelce.  Without him the Patriots can sell out to stop the run while double teaming the tight end Kelce.  Regardless it is on to the real season for the defending Super Bowl Champions.

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