As the NFL Playoffs slim down to the final four teams, there remains one constant. Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots. The Patriots are set to suit up for their NFL record, 8th consecutive AFC Championship game. The Patriots will travel to Arrowhead Stadium where they’re set for a showdown with the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs and NFL MVP frontrunner, Patrick Mahomes. Bookmakers rarely list the Patriots as underdogs, but when they do the Pats have thrived. The Patriots have gone 7-1 straight-up and against the spread since 2014 as underdogs. Chiefs, on the other hand, tends to struggle when the spotlight gets bigger. The Chiefs are 2-11 straight-up and against the spread in playoff games since 1994. We saw these two face-off against each other once already this season, in what ended up being one of the best games of the season. The Patriots edged out a 43-40 victory. A game in which the Patriots dominated the ground game, and in return dominated the time of possession as well. Keeping them off the field has seemed to be the key to opponents slowing down Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. If the Patriots can run the ball successfully again, they should give themselves a great chance to pull off the upset. The Chiefs offense will be receiving another boost from Sammy Watkins for this matchup, as the wide receiver is set to play his second straight game after returning from a foot injury he suffered midway through the season. According to meteorologists, there is an “arctic blast” expected to settle over Kansas City on Sunday night, which would make the Patriots-Chiefs game one of the coldest games in NFL history. The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures at kickoff to be anywhere from 10 degrees to well below zero, which would be the coldest game in Arrowhead Stadium history. The Patriots have a lot more experience playing in cold weather than the Chiefs. However, Mahomes did look solid in the cold last week versus the Colts. So without further ado, here’s our case for The Goat vs The Future.
THE CASE FOR MAHOMES
Mahomes is genuinely a once in a generation talent, and doing things that have never been done or seen before. It’s the no-look pass. It’s the lefty throw. It’s the shortstop-like delivery. It’s the majestic bombs. It’s the touch. Patty Mahomes is John Elway meets Superman – Only better. Mahomes has been so incredibly great this year that it seems like many are forgetting that this is still the Future’s first year as a starter! The Future just joined Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for more than 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards in the same season. Again, it’s his first season as a starter! Mahomes is your MVP of the league, and football’s best player this season. The Future is a superstar. This weekend is his chance to receive the “passing of the torch”. If Mahomes can take down Brady and the almighty Patriots, he could cement himself as the best player in the NFL, at just 23-years old. The Chiefs and Mahomes just manhandled the hottest team in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs immediately jumped out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back. The Kansas City defense had its best game of the season. They held the Colts to 0-9 on 3rd down conversions. That’s an incredible stat against any opposing offense, let alone the gunslinger that Andrew Luck is. If the Chiefs defense can perform even close to that level, Mahomes and the gang will be punching a ticket to the Super Bowl come Sunday night.
THE CASE FOR BRADY
The greatness for which Brady has displayed throughout his career has almost been underrated. It almost seems that people have become so accustomed to Brady and the Patriots winning that they forget how tough it is to sustain success in a league like the NFL. If nothing else, the simple case for Brady is the fact that he’s already won five Super Bowl rings, seven AFC championships, four Super Bowl MVP awards, two NFL MVP awards, and is headed to his 8th straight AFC championship appearance. Oh, and not to mention he just led the Patriots to the largest comeback in Super Bowl history just two years ago as he defeated the Atlanta Falcons. Tom Brady ranks 1st in just about every single postseason statistic you can find. He’s first in wins, touchdowns, games played, yards, completions, Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl wins, and Super Bowl MVP awards. Anytime you hold that many playoff records, you’re always going to have a shot. It’s Tom Brady; he’s seen and heard it all. You think he doesn’t know the talent he’s up against in facing Patrick Mahomes? You know damn well that he understands this Future’s skill set. I just don’t think it matters to him. Brady has demonstrated time and time again that as long as he goes out and executes, the results will follow suit. Never count the GOAT out.
This will be one of the best games of the season. These two offenses will go toe-to-toe, and points will be scored. In the first meeting, the Patriots secured the victory with a late field goal, edging them to a 43-40 win. While I think Mahomes is phenomenal and going to be one of the best players in the league for a decade more to come, his time isn’t here yet. The Brady era has not yet closed, and he just showed that to you this past week against the Chargers. While some of Brady’s arm strength has deteriorated, his understanding of the game has not. No quarterback in the NFL reads defenses like Brady does, and he’ll pick you apart with mismatches. If the Chiefs had a more consistent defense, we’d give them the edge. But, a very average defense is not the recipe for success against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Ultimately I think the Patriots ability to run the ball and control the clock will be the difference. Brady will utilize his intelligence to orchestrate long, methodical drives, that will keep Mahomes sidelined for large chunks of the game at a time. You saw Brady do it this last week against the Chargers, and you’ll see it again this weekend.
Patriots 38-35 Chiefs