By Gregory Hunt
The New England Patriots will try to extend their winning streak to three games when they face the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium. It will be New England’s first prime time appearance of the season.READ MORE: Young coyote mistaken for dog now bonding with another rescued pup
After losing the first two games of the season, the Chiefs will face the 2-1 Patriots with a 1-2 record after beating the Miami Dolphins 34-15 at Sun Life Stadium in Week 3. Back in Week 1, the Patriots lost on the road to that same Dolphins team 33-20. New England’s rivalry with Kansas City dates back to 1960, when the teams were charter members of the American Football League. Initially, the franchises were known as the Boston Patriots (until the team moved to Foxboro in 1971) and the Dallas Texans (until the franchise moved to Kansas City in 1963).
The Chiefs lead the all-time series against the Patriots 16-13-3. In spite of their shared AFL/AFC heritage, the teams have never met in the postseason. New England won the most recent meeting 34-3 at Gillette Stadium on November 21, 2011. Coincidentally, that game was also on Monday night.
Chiefs on Offense
Kansas City’s biggest offensive weapon, running back Jamaal Charles, missed the game against Miami with a high ankle sprain, but that didn’t keep the Chiefs from gaining 324 yards of total offense against the Dolphins. In Charles’ absence, rookie running back Knile Davis made his first career NFL start and promptly ran for 132 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries. He did, however, make two fumbles, losing one.
Quarterback Alex Smith is throwing for a modest 214.3 yards per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL, but that’s still better than the 210.7 yards currently averaged by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Deep threat wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is off to a slow start after serving a one-game suspension in Week 1 for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He’s also been dealing with a nagging finger injury since training camp.READ MORE: New England Living: Behind the scenes at WaterFire in Providence
Chiefs on Defense
During the 2013 regular season, the Chiefs defense generated 36 takeaways, contributing to a plus-18 turnover differential, best in the NFL. However, three games into the 2014 season, the defense has yet to force a single turnover. Safety Eric Berry, who made three interceptions last year and returned two of them for touchdowns, did not play against Miami due to an ankle injury, so it remains to be seen if he’ll play Monday against a Patriots team that makes very few turnovers.
The Kansas City defense suffered a tremendous blow when it lost linebacker Derrick Johnson for the season to an Achilles tendon injury, but his replacement James-Michael Johnson is also pretty speedy. The team’s best run-stopper is Dontari Poe, a 6’3″, 346-lbs. nose tackle who is tremendously athletic for his size.
Overall, the Chiefs aren’t playing like playoff contenders this season, but they still earned a road victory against a Dolphins team the Patriots couldn’t handle in Week 1. Also, Arrowhead Stadium is considered to be one of the toughest places to play in the NFL — last year, the venue set a Guinness world record for the loudest outdoor stadium when crowd noise reached 137.5 decibels during an October game against the Oakland Raiders. Kansas City is a four-point underdog for this game, but don’t be surprised if the Chiefs win the contest outright.
For more Patriots news and updates, visit Patriots Central.MORE NEWS: Jimmy Butler wants to run into Celtics 'and see who falls down first'
Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.