New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs Point Spread – Pick

New England Patriots (12-5 SU, 10-7 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (13-4 SU, 10-6-1 ATS)
AFC Conference Championship
Date/Time: Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 6:40PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: NE +3/KC -3
Over/Under Total: 57

The New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday in the AFC Championship. These are the top two seeds in the conference battling for a spot in the Super Bowl. For the Pats, it would be old-hat, whereas the Chiefs have long been absent from the big game. This is the first AFC title game that the Chiefs will host in their long history. They looked the part last Sunday, winning in the divisional round to the Colts, 31-13. Their offense, where most of their reputation is based, was in good form. But a much-maligned “D” was able to contain a red-hot Colts bunch to just 13 points in a thorough win. The Patriots were no less dominant, battering the Chargers, 41-28, in a game that wasn’t even that close. It served notice for those who may have thought otherwise that the Pats are still major contenders and perennial presences at this time of the season for a reason.

In week 6, these teams played in Foxborough, with the Pats winning a tremendous 43-40 game that was a great shootout. When you get to the AFC title game, it’s iffy how much a week six game even means. Both offenses had a feeding frenzy, with four scores in the final 5:25 of the game. This result does suggest, however, that these teams combine for a lot of excitement and I expect another well-contested game with its fair share of drama.

The Chiefs looked good on Saturday, mostly dominating a surging Colts team that had won 9 of their previous ten games. Combined with a snowy day at Arrowhead, the Chiefs proved to be too much. And for all their offensive firepower, the defense was as much responsible for the win. They have played significantly better at home and if they can duplicate that showing in this game, the Super Bowl could well be within reach.

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The Chiefs’ offense is one of the better ones in the league. But it hasn’t come easy. They had to overcome the loss of losing the defending rushing champion, while riding the arm of an unproven commodity in QB Patrick Mahomes, who has been brilliant. He didn’t have any TD throws on Saturday, but the smooth effectiveness he shows when commandeering this offense is something to behold for such a young competitor. They overcame some rough spots late in the season and are again cruising. Damien Williams is running hard and had 129 yards and a TD against Indy. Both tight end-extraordinaire Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill were effective, with Sammy Watkins adding some big catches. This offense really runs opponents ragged. The backfield is still pretty deep, with receivers getting hand-offs on end-arounds. Mahomes is steely in the pocket, with the ability to use his legs to make plays. And he can make all the throws, making opposing defenses dizzy.

The Kansas City defense has suffered its share of issues this season. They have been markedly better at home. This is January football and Arrowhead is a place where that is felt by opponents, as we saw last week with an off-rhythm Colts’ squad. Some tinkering over the course of the season has helped get the secondary in better shape. And the front-seven helps bring the noise and on Saturday, Justin Houston, Derrick Nnadi, Dee Ford, and others were very impactful.

At the same time, even in a rousing victory where the spread was easily covered, there was visible daylight for a team to exploit. Indy didn’t do much right, with mistakes right and left, and they were still vaguely in the game for most of the contest. It’s not hard to see a better team taking advantage of the things Indy was not able to. Kansas City is not infallible and it’s not easy to make it to the Big Dance. Can they do what they haven’t been able to do in almost a half-century?

On Sunday, in New England’s win over the Chargers, we saw a team that continues to thrive despite people forecasting otherwise. And why would they falter now when their history suggests the direct opposite? Whenever people tend to anticipate a downturn, the Pats serve notice that they are still here and a major factor. A lot of people liked the Chargers on Sunday, but before long, we saw the old Patriots’ formula for success. The Pats just efficiently dissect opponents. The defensive game-planning is on point. Tom Brady and the offense start going to work, almost effortlessly rolling over defenses. This is where Brady and Belichick made their bones and on Sunday, we saw another in a long line of dominant Patriots postseason performances.

Tom Brady is still a star and on Sunday, he put up 343 yards on 34-for-44 completions. The offense just has a deep cast of capable players who are in lockstep with the erstwhile Brady. On Sunday, rookie back Sony Michel ran for a robust 129 yards with three touchdowns in a stirring performance. Aerially, Julian Edelman, Brady’s reliable top-target, was productive with 151 yards on nine catches. Running back James White was very active, with a postseason record-tying 15 receptions, while Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Rob Gronkowski were also in the mix. In a spot like this, you have to wonder how much impact it will make that Brady is such a veteran in these types of games, while Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes faces his first test of this magnitude.

Over the last few seasons, the New England defense has been dicey during the regular season, only to snap into form when the chips are all in the middle of the pot. And while there have been some postseason issues as well over the last few seasons, they usually perform better in these spots, as they showed on Sunday. The took the Chargers out of the game as the Pats cruised out to an insurmountable 38-7 lead en route to their 8th straight AFC Title game appearance. For long stretches, the strong Chargers’ offense was bumbling around. Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn had sacks. Stephon Gilmore had a pick. Still, on the road against the Chiefs, they will be tested. They will also be exploited and look to limit the damage by preventing the Chiefs from exploiting their huge big-play ability.

The Pats are in their wheelhouse and are a cold-weather team. Still, Arrowhead is a tough place to play for anyone. Both teams will have it a lot tougher than they did in the divisional round. I think both defenses should play better than they did when these teams first met in a 43-40 free-for-all. In an evenly-matched battle, I prefer to be getting points and to have the vastly more-experienced core. I just can’t get away from the feeling that this being at home will give the Chiefs the little edge they need to get over the hump.

Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus three points. Did you know… that you could be wagering on the Patriots vs. Chiefs game at discounted odds? There’s a better than good chance that you’re laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to BetAnySports Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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