The prognostication is done with on a macro level. It’s time for football to be played in the NFL and mean something. On Thursday night, as has become tradition, the Kansas City Chiefs will travel to Foxborough, MA to take on the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots.
Many people would say that this could be a potential AFC Championship preview. I’m not so much convinced that’s the case, on the part of the Chiefs at least. For the Patriots, however, they enter the 2017 NFL season as the heavy favorites to repeat as champs. Of course, having a stacked roster on paper only means so much. You have to put it all into practice.
That’s what the Chiefs and Pats will both attempt to do on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. Let’s take a look at a quick rundown of the game with keys to victory before then making a prediction for the outcome of this season-opening contest.
Keys to Victory
Though many expect the Patriots offense to be their biggest weapon this season, I think getting out to a hot start for this group is going to be pivotal. For starters, they’ll be up against a Chiefs defense that is quite formidable. What’s more, though, this is a Patriots team that I believe will have to get their feet under them.
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Losing Julian Edelman doesn’t seem that big of a deal on paper. After adding Brandin Cooks and then Phillip Dorsett, that’s a huge help to eventually lessen the effects of losing Edelman. But in the immediate aftermath — which this still is — the offense might struggle. Edelman is such a safety valve for Tom Brady that they may have hiccups right away. Avoiding those as much as possible will be key in this game.
For the Chiefs, the offense is also key. The Patriots defense wasn’t their best unit by any stretch a year ago. But they obviously improved this offseason by adding Stephon Gilmore. Even then, there are still some holes. That’s where ripping off big plays is going to be critical.
In losing running back Spencer Ware to injury after cutting Jeremy Maclin earlier in the offseason, this Chiefs offense is likely to look much different than last year. Specifically, we’re going to see even more of Travis Kelce and way more of Tyreek Hill. As such they are going to need to gash the Patriots when they have the ball to develop some sort of consistency.
Point Spread: New England -8.5
Moneyline: New England -450, Kansas City +350
Odds from Bet365 via Sportsbook Review
As much as I’m hesitant to believe in the Patriots offense being at full force against a good Kansas City defense, I don’t think it matters. Put simply, I’m more worried about the Chiefs offense than I am anything about the Patriots. That should result in what is ultimately a comfortable victory for New England to start a quest for what many believe could be 16-0.
Final Score: Kansas City Chiefs: 17, New England Patriots: 30