NFL Betting – Healthy(er) Pats Host Streaking Chiefs
Zack GarrisonNo comments
The defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots (12-4, 7-1 home), will start their quest to repeat this Saturday when they host the Kansas City Chiefs (12-5, 6-3 road) at Gillette Stadium (4:35 PM Eastern).
As the second seed in the AFC, New England earned a bye last week. The rest was crucial for the banged-up squad which limped to a 2-4 finish.
Crucially, the Patriots will likely see wide receiver Julian Edelman return to the lineup. The Kent State product hasn’t played since Week 10 when he broke his foot against the New York Giants. Despite missing seven games, Edelman finished the season second on the team in both receiving yards (692) and touchdowns (seven).
Edelman isn’t entirely sure how his foot will respond to full-speed game action, but isn’t going to be tip-toeing around the field, either.
“I’m going to go full throttle regardless. If it goes, it goes,” Edelman said of his broken foot, via ESPN.com.
New England also will have WR Danny Amendola back at (close to) full capacity. Amendola has been battling a knee injury that limited his action in the final three weeks of the year.
With the receiving corps looking much healthier than it did to close the year, the Patriot’s main concern on offense will be the offensive line. Bill Belichick has had to employ a patchwork o-line for most of the season and that will continue in the playoffs. Against a Chiefs defense that recorded 47 sacks, fourth in the NFL, keeping QB Tom Brady clean could be tricky.
The KC defense spurred the team to its 11th straight win on Wild Card Weekend, shutting out the Texans, 30-0, in Houston. Unfortunately for head coach Andy Reid, the team’s passing attack – which was already pretty limited – will likely be sans leading receiver Jeremy Maclin on Saturday. Maclin, who had 87 catches for 1,088 yards on the year, went down with a high-ankle sprain last weekend.
Kansas City crushed New England (41-14) when they met in 2014. But that game was at Arrowhead; the Chiefs haven’t won in Foxborough for almost 25 years. With the Patriots finally getting healthy – and the Chiefs headed in the other direction – take the Pats to cover at home.
Pick: Patriots -4.5.