BOSTON (CBS) — We’re finally there. Well, almost.
Sunday night will finally bring to an end this long week of waiting for the AFC Championship Game. By now, every angle has been dissected, every bit of analysis has been made, and every player has said what’s needed to be said.
But now, with the game getting closer, there’s still some room for a few more predictions. Here’s how the WBZ-TV and CBS Boston sports team sees this one playing out.
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV
The Patriots are peaking at just the right time. We all know they haven’t played well on the road, but the Pats may use that loss in Miami as a reminder for what they need to do in Kansas City.
The Patriots are underdogs, just the way they like it. Yes, K.C. is loaded with quicker weapons and there’s no substitute for speed. But the Patriots are great at making adjustments and they may have to make more than usual on Sunday. In the end, intelligence and experience win out.
Patriots 31, Chiefs 27
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV
If the Patriots are going to win their sixth Super Bowl title they’re going to earn it with two of the toughest games they’ve ever played. The four teams left in this tournament are clearly the best four in the NFL.
If the Pats can pull this one off in Kansas City it will be right near the top of the Belichick-Brady all-time wins. The Chiefs are an offensive dynamo with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and Damien Williams has been great in taking over for Kareem Hunt. The Chiefs average 35 points per game.
While their defense is statistically one of the worst in the league, they are giving up just 17 points per game at Arrowhead. They use their home field to a supreme advantage.
Brady must be the Brady we saw last week vs L.A. Edelman has been great over his last 10 postseason games, averaging 10 catches and 102 yards per contest. Gronk needs to be great, as do the running backs. Patience and precision will be key.
And the New England D needs a sequel to the “We’re going to slow down The Greatest Show on Turf” game plan.
Honestly, I like the Chiefs because they’re at home, but I feel like this could be the final chapter of supremacy for the Patriots!
Patriots 30, Chiefs 27
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV
Here’s the dilemma. I don’t like picking against Tom Brady in big games. But at the same time, Patrick Mahomes has given me no reason to think that he can’t get it done.
So then there’s this: Bob Sutton, the defensive coordinator of the Chiefs, loves to play man-to-man and he refuses to mix it up. If that’s still going to be the case, Gronk could have a breakout game and the Pats could put up a ton of points.
It will come down to which defense is better, and the Pats defense I feel will make more stops.
The Pats will advance to their third straight Super Bowl.
Patriots 38, Chiefs 30
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
I understand that it’s very difficult to envision the Patriots losing when they were absolutely dominant the last time we saw them. I struggle with it, too; if that team plays like that again? They’ll win this one going away.
But I do believe in the road issues this year. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence. Namely, I’ve seen the running game struggle mightily for the Patriots on the road compared to at home, which has a lot to do with the first step the O-line can get when playing in a peaceful home stadium. On the road, in a noisy environment, it’s that much harder.
I also think the Chiefs’ offense is too dangerous. Kareem Hunt’s gone, but Damien Williams has stepped up seamlessly. He averaged a tick under six yards per carry in the final three games of the regular season, before bursting for 129 yards and a touchdown last week vs. Indy. Against the Pats’ defense, which struggles to stop the run, he could be the X-factor.
I never expect the Patriots to lose, and I still don’t. But this win? This one would be filed under the “Very, Very Impressive” category.
Chiefs 30, Patriots 17
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
If this game was in Foxboro, I’d be picking the Patriots to win by two scores. But this game is not in Foxboro, and that has been a big issue for the Patriots this season.
The Chiefs are also really good, with a dynamic young quarterback who can put points up in a hurry. Making Patrick Mahomes make mistakes is the key to the Patriots defense; they did it in the first half back in Week 6, and it let them jump out to a big lead. If the Chiefs get up early this time around, the Patriots will have an extremely tough time coming back, even against a pretty bad Kansas City defense.
If it’s close, then there’s always the chance that Andy Reid does something silly that could cost his team the game. If that happens, Belichick and Brady will be ready to pounce, and if they win this game, it will be one of their biggest of this dynastic run.
Chiefs 31, Patriots 24
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Chiefs AFC Championship Game on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with a special 90-minute edition of Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 6:40 p.m., and after the game stay tuned for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!