BOSTON (CBS) — Sunday’s Patriots-Chiefs showdown at Gillette Stadium is a pretty big one. At least to everyone but Bill Belichick.
It may be only Week 6, but Kansas City is the hottest team in the NFL. They’re 5-0 and have the most exciting young quarterback in the league in Patrick Mahomes, who is ripping every defense he faces to shreds. The KC offense is averaging an AFC-best 35 points per game thanks to his rocket of a right arm.
So Patriots players should be pretty amped up to welcome an undefeated team to Foxboro, a great measuring stick game that could, in the long run, play a big part in determining the No. 1 seed in the AFC. But their head coach isn’t going to add to the hype surrounding the tilt, as Belichick spent his Wednesday morning downplaying the upcoming clash as nothing more than a game against New England’s next opponent.
Asked if he felt like the top seed in the conference is on the line Sunday night, Belichick had no time for the inquiry.
“Feel like we’re playing Kansas City,” he responded.
When the reporter tried again by asking the coach if the stakes feel a little higher than usual for a Week 6 game, Belichick interrupted him to once again remind him who the Pats were playing.
“I feel like we’re playing Kansas City,” Belichick said, shaking his head.
It’s 2014’s “On to Cincinnati” but in reverse. Instead of deflecting attention away from an embarrassing loss to the Chiefs, Belichick is making sure people don’t exaggerate the importance of an early-season clash.
He certainly isn’t doing it to belittle what the Chiefs have accomplished so far. A 5-0 start doesn’t mean much if you can’t finish the season strong (the Chiefs went 5-0 to start last season before finishing the year 10-6, losing in the Wild Card round), but Belichick had heaps of praise for Andy Reid and his team on Wednesday.
“I think it’s fortunate we’ve had a couple of extra days to work on Kansas City,” he said. “We need a lot of extra time to prepare for this team. They give you a lot of problems with their scheme, players. They’re very well coached, as they always are with Andy. This is a very explosive group, so it’s easy to see why they are undefeated.
“This will be a big challenge for us this week,” Belichick continued. “We will have to do a lot of things well and do them consistently. Do them for 60 minutes.”
Heading into Sunday, Kansas City has won two of their last three matchups with New England.