Preseason is finally over and it’s time for some real football. Hopefully your favorite team was able to get through it without any unnecessary injuries. The NFL came out swinging with some nice week 1 matchups to start the year off right. Thursday night football highlights those big matchups with a rematch game of last year’s post-season.
New England Patriots v.s. Kansas City Chiefs Thursday NBC 8:00PM
The defending Superbowl champion Patriots return home with the Lombardi trophy in hand, to face off in the opener on Thursday night, against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Brady, a guaranteed first ballet HOF player, continued his unprecedented dominance on the NFL with another Superbowl victory to cap off last season. This year, he will be without his workhorse receiver, Julian Edelman for the entire year. Edelman tore his ACL in a preseason game earlier this year.
New England Offense:
That being said, Brady will rely on Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola to pick up the receptions. Hogan capped off last year with 680 yards and 4 touchdown grabs while Amendola was virtually non-existent in the offense with only 23 grabs for 243 yards. Amendola did however, manage to grab 4 touchdowns as well, due to the exceptional distribution of the ball in the redzone.
Brady will also deal with the loss of TE Martellus Bennett to the Greenbay Packers. The Patriots must be hoping that Rob Gronkowski will be healthy all season. If he manages to do so, it will be the first time since the 2014 season.
It’s not all bad news for the Patriots passing game though. They did manage to make some off-season acquisitions in the form of Brandin Cooks and Philip Dorsett. These two should provide some quality perimeter targets for the New England offense that #12 hasn’t seen since Randy Moss was on his team.
Justin Houston was the leading pass rusher for the Chiefs last year and will look to get pressure on Brady and to do something he couldn’t in the 2015 playoffs; Sack Brady. The lack of pressure by the defense contributed to their demise the last time these two met. Brady wasn’t sacked a single time and was only pressured 4 times out of his 42 pass attempts. Last season, the defense led the league in turnovers and was ranked 7th in total points allowed, so they are very capable of holding Brady. “They do a great job in those two areas. They don’t give up a lot of points, and they turn the ball over. What else is there? That’s what defensive football is, those two things … that’s a problem for us and a problem for any offense,”New England coach Bill Belichick said.
The KC offense will be interesting to watch in the opener. It seems as though Alex Smith will still be the starter at quarterback, but he has a young and talented Patrick Maholmes on his toes. You get the feeling that if Smith has any lack in production, Andy Reid won’t hesitate to bring the young gunner into the game. Maholmes has the power and downfield accuracy that has eluded KC with Alex Smith as their starter.
The Chiefs O will weigh heavily on the QB position since they lost a key part to their offensive production with the season-ending injury to Spencer Ware. They will have to look for production at the running back position from rookie, third round draft pick, Kareem Hunt. Hunt ran for 1475 yards on 5.6 yards per carry and tallied 10 touchdowns for Toledo a season ago. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the preseason, but that’s the preseason. Once he straps on the helmet and goes up against the defending champions, we will see what he is really made of.
The spread is set at New England -9 and the O/U is set at 48. I think Kansas City’s defense will look much better than Brady this season but it won’t be enough. I’d look for Brady and his Team to cover the spread and take the over in this one. Final 31-17 New England.