Thanks to the epic meltdown by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers advance in the NFL playoffs – and the New England Patriots will host the Kansas City Chiefs rather than the Bengals in the division round of the 2015-2016 post-season. Below are in-depth team stats, betting odds, and prediction with a pick against the spread.
Who: #5 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at #2 New England Patriots (12-4).
What: AFC Division Round Game.
When: Saturday, January 16 at 4:00 pm ET on CBS.
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough MA; FieldTurf surface.
Weather: 100% chance of precipitation. Rain with some snow mixing later in the afternoon. Winds of 15-25 mph; temperature of about 40°. Keep in mind that this is New England, so the forecast could very well change between now and kickoff.
Coaches: Andy Reid 161-110-1 (.594) in regular season with 11 playoff appearances in 17 years. Second post-season in last six years. 10-10 playoff record with no victories since 2008; 0-1 record in the Super Bowl.
Bill Belichick 223-113 (.664) in regular season with 14 playoff appearances in 21 years, including last seven consecutive and 12 of last 13. 22-9 (.710) post-season record with four Super Bowl championships and six conference championships.
Odds: The Patriots opened as 5-point favorites, and by late Sunday afternoon the line had pushed up to 5½ in several venues. The point total began at 44½ but has dropped to 42½ on most sites, with some at 43. The current Money Line has New England at -240 and Kansas City +200. The early money has been relatively evenly split between the two teams.
Head-to-Head Series Record: The Chiefs lead the all-time series 17-13-3, but the Patriots are 5-2 versus KC since Bill Belichick became New England’s head coach. The Chiefs blew out the Patriots early last year by the score of 41-14, causing many mediots to overreact and inaccurately bury New England; the Pats were on to Cincinnati after that loss and eventually won the Super Bowl. The last game in Foxborough between these two clubs was on a Monday night in 2011 when the Patriots overcame a slow start and cruised to a 34-3 victory. The Patriots drove for a Brady-to-Gronk touchdown to open the second half, and after a KC three-and-out, Julian Edelman returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown. Within a span of less than a minute a 10-3 game was suddenly 24-3, and the game was over.
Here is a look at how the two teams compare statistically; the numbers reflect an average per game (or per play), rather than aggregate totals. Per-game and per-play stats are used rather than gross totals because that makes the rankings more meaningful, and because they provide a better context in regards to what to expect in any given game. Numbers in green indicate a top-ten ranking while underlined green is top-five; red indicates a bottom-ten ranking and underlined red is bottom-five.
To be fair, some of the statistics below do not tell the story of how these teams are performing right now. To pick one stat as an example, look at the average number of points per play. While the New England offense ranks third for the entire season, the Pats are just 13th over their last three games. On the other side of the ball KC ranks first for the same stat defensively at .261 – but over their last three that figure drops all the way to a minute .162.
New England Patriots Offense versus Kansas City Chiefs Defense
Scoring per Game: Patriots 29.1 (3rd); Chiefs 17.9 (3rd)
Yardage per Game: Patriots 374 (6th); Chiefs 329 (7th)
First Downs per Game: Patriots 21.8 (5th); Chiefs 19.2 (11th)
Yards per Play: Patriots 5.7 (6th); Chiefs 5.0 (4th)
Yards per Drive: Patriots 33.1 (9th); Chiefs 29.7 (8th)
Points per Drive: Patriots 2.47 (3rd); Chiefs 1.55 (7th)
Drive Success Rate: Patriots .724 (7th); Chiefs .680 (11th)
Points per Play: Patriots .443 (3rd); Chiefs .261 (1st)
Touchdowns per Game: Patriots 3.2 (3rd); Chiefs 2.0 (4th)
Red Zone Touchdowns per Game: Patriots 2.5 (2nd); Chiefs 1.4 (7th)
Red Zone TD Percentage: Patriots 65.6% (4th); Chiefs 58.5% (19th)
Plays per Game: Patriots 65.6 (13th); Chiefs 64.6 (19th)
Third Down Conversions per Game: Patriots 5.50 (13th); Chiefs 4.50 (5th)
Third Down Percentage: Patriots 40.9% (11th); Chiefs 33.8% (3rd)
Punts per Score: Patriots 0.9 (5th); Chiefs 1.6 (2nd)
Punts per Game: Patriots 4.56 (14th); Chiefs 4.81 (13th)
Rushing Yards: Patriots 87.8 (30th); Chiefs 98.2 (8th)
Yards per Carry: Patriots 3.67 (29th); Chiefs 4.10 (16th)
Passing Yards: Patriots 287 (5th); Chiefs 231 (9th)
Yards per Pass Attempt: Patriots 7.7 (9th); Chiefs 6.6 (3rd)
Completion Percentage: Patriots 64.2% (12th); Chiefs 57.5% (2nd)
Passer Rating: Patriots 101.9 (4th); Chiefs 76.0 (2nd)
TD Passes/Picks: Patriots +29 (1st), 36/7; Chiefs -3 (4th), 25/22
Complete Passes per Game: Patriots 25.3 (7th); Chiefs 21.4 (9th)
Incomplete Passes per Game: Patriots 14.1 (22nd); Chiefs 16.3 (1st)
Quarterback Sacks per Game: Patriots 2.38 (17th); Chiefs 2.94 (4th)
Sack Yardage Lost per Game: Patriots 14.1 (14th); Chiefs 18.1 (6th)
Kansas City Chiefs Offense versus New England Patriots Defense
Scoring: Chiefs 25.3 (9th); Patriots 19.7 (10th)
Yardage: Chiefs 331 (27th); Patriots 339 (9th)
First Downs: Chiefs 18.9 (25th); Patriots 18.9 (9th)
Yards per Play: Chiefs 5.5 (14th); Patriots 5.2 (7th)
Yards per Drive: Chiefs 30.4 (19th); Patriots 29.0 (7th)
Points per Drive: Chiefs 2.05 (9th); Patriots 1.59 (9th)
Drive Success Rate: Chiefs .687 (18th); Patriots .666 (8th)
Points per Play: Chiefs .428 (4th); Patriots .302 (8th)
Touchdowns per Game: Chiefs 2.8 (8th); Patriots 2.2 (9th)
Red Zone Touchdowns per Game: Chiefs 1.9 (9th); Patriots 1.5 (11th)
Red Zone TD Percentage: Chiefs 57.9% (13th); Patriots 57.1% (15th)
Plays per Game: Chiefs 59.8 (31st); Patriots 65.1 (21st)
Third Down Conversions per Game: Chiefs 4.75 (22nd); Patriots 5.25 (18th)
Third Down Conversion Percentage: Chiefs 38.1% (18th); Patriots 37.3% (11th)
Punts per Score: Chiefs 1.0 (10th); Patriots 1.5 (5th)
Punts per Game: Chiefs 4.69 (17th); Patriots 5.38 (5th)
Rushing Yards: Chiefs 127.8 (6th); Patriots 98.8 (9th)
Yards per Carry: Chiefs 4.69 (3rd); Patriots 3.98 (11th)
Passing Yards: Chiefs 203 (30th); Patriots 241 (17th)
Net Yards per Pass Attempt: Chiefs 7.4 (12th); Patriots 7.1 (11th)
Completion Percentage: Chiefs 65.5% (9th); Patriots 60.6% (10th)
Passer Rating: Chiefs 95.4 (9th); Patriots 87.0 (13th)
TD Passes/Picks: Chiefs +13 (17th), 22/12; Patriots -12 (16th), 24/12
Complete Passes per Game: Chiefs 19.4 (28th); Patriots 22.6 (20th)
Incomplete Passes per Game: Chiefs 10.2 (3rd); Patriots 14.7 (7th)
Quarterback Sacks per Game: Chiefs 2.88 (26th); Patriots 3.06 (2nd)
Sack Yardage Lost: Chiefs 14.88 (16th); Patriots 22.4 (1st)
Patriot Giveaways: 0.88 (14, 1st); Chief Takeaways: 1.81 (29, 5th)
Chief Giveaways: 0.94 (15, 2nd); Patriot Takeaways: 1.31 (21, 22nd)
Penalties per Game: Patriots 6.0 (4th); Chiefs 6.4 (9th)
Penalty Yards per Game: Patriots 53.8 (9th); Chiefs 54.7 (11th)
Opponent Penalties per Game: Patriots 7.0 (15th); Chiefs 6.7 (22nd)
Opponent Penalty Yards per Game: Patriots 63.3 (8th); Chiefs 57.1 (18th)
Football Outsiders Statistics and Rankings
Team Efficiency: Total DVOA: Patriots 22.6% (6th); Chiefs 25.6% (5th)
Team Efficiency: Offense DVOA: Patriots 15.4% (5th); Chiefs 11.7% (6th)
Team Efficiency: Defense DVOA: Patriots -3.4% (12th); Chiefs -11.4% (6th)
Special Teams DVOA: Patriots 3.9% (5th); Chiefs 2.4% (7th)
This game will be a very difficult task for the Patriots. The Kansas City Chiefs possess an extremely good defense, on all three levels. However, New England will be bolstered by the return of Julian Edelman and Sebastian Vollmer, as well as by the improvement in health of banged up players like Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. I’ll take Bill Belichick and Tom Brady at home over Andy Reid and Alex Smith, but expect this to be a close, hard fought game.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Chiefs 20
Take the Pats -240 to win, but KC plus the points – with a slight lean to the over.