There are a lot of factors in this game both in the Patriots favor and not in their favor that make it hard to predict. The Patriot offense is balanced, and versatile and the Chief defense struggles with both the run and pass. This plays into the hands of the Patriots' offensive philosophy and makeup, because instead of needing to attack a strength or having the opponent able to overcommit to their weakness the Patriots can be unpredictable and create weaknesses. That said the one thing the Chief defense does well is rush the passer, and the Patriots need to protect Brady to put up a lot of points. The Chief offense wants to throw it all day but can run and take advantage of the Patriots weakness. The biggest issue the Patriot defense has in recent years is against an offense with a strong OL that runs well on early downs, tempting the Patriots to overplay the run in early downs and allowing unpredictability in later downs. It also struggles with keeping mobile QBs from extending plays, the death knell of a conservative defense that plays a lot of man. However the Patriots defense is one of the best equipped in the league to cover KCs receivers and have at times - especially recently - played the run well. If you take a step back, it’s actually a good matchup for both teams. Here are some numbers I find interesting. In the Patriots last 12 playoff games, since 2014 (and I do see a philosophical change offensively at least in the postseason since then): Points - Patriots have averaged 32.5 ppg - Patriots have scored 33 or more in 8 out of 12. And 24 or more in 11 of 12. If you discount 2015 when the offense was injury crippled it’s 34.5 and 33 or more in 8 out of 10- and 24 and 28 were the other two. Passing It is clear that once the post season arrives over recent years the patriots have said they want to live or die with the ball in Tom Brady’s hands. Passing stats in those 12 games. 366/562/4115 with 30 TDs Per game 30.5/46.8/343/2.5 This is the equivalent of a 16 game season of 488/749/5487/40. We threw 50+ times in 5/12, and 49+ in 6/12 We threw 40+ in 9 out of 12, and at least 35 times in all 12. (And only 35 was in the blowout of the Colts). Clearly the best offense we have had is the scheme that says rely on Brady. And those numbers are against the best teams in the NFL! With all the games being divisional round or later, and 7 of 12 being either conference championship or SB. Interestingly in half of those games we ran 25+ times and ran for 100+ five times - and 98 yards once as well. Defensively we allowed an average of 22.1 and held the opponent to 20 or less in 7 of 12 games. I think it’s also fair to rationalize that last weeks defensive effort was equivalent of <20 tainted by garbage time, making it 8/12. So today I expect to see us throw the ball. How many times depends on how the score goes. If we jump out to a lead it may only be 40; if we fall behind it could be 60. I also expect us to take advantage of their run weakness and get big plays in the running game. IMO the key to this offense has always been chunk plays, especially vs good teams. When we “stay on schedule” we walk away scratching our heads over a drive where we stopped ourselves with a penalty, drop or 3rd down sack. When we are getting chunk plays both in the air and on the ground we are basically unstoppable. Defensively we are facing a challenge. The Chiefs have succeeded against us almost exclusively with big plays. I’m sure they will get some because that’s what they do, but expect us to be conservative giving secondary help rather than pass rush help (blitz failure = big play). BUT given what we have seen from our blitz packages recently I think they will be a HUGE part of the game plan. Not huge as in used in a high frequency but huge as in timed right, used in key situations and game changers if they work. I believe the Patriot offense with the list season scheme they use and the GOAT on the trigger is a better offense than the Chiefs. I believe the Patriot defense is clearly better than the Chief defense. I believe the matchups between the teams are better for the Chiefs than the Patriots. I believe the Patriots have an advantage in coaching. I believe home field is an advantage but a negligible one. I see a methodical Patriot offense and a Chief offense that will look at times like it is struggling and confused - and at others times look like it's world beaters. I see a Patriot win (to no one's surprise) 34-27. I have a suspicion that the game is going to end up being decided on Special Teams. And everything can get thrown out by turnovers.