Entering the 2014 NFL season as the overwhelming favorite to win the AFC East, the New England Patriots have not looked like a Super Bowl favorite through three games. The defending division champs look to change that in Week 4 when they visit the Kansas City Chiefs on “Monday Night Football.”
New England is coming off a 16-9 win that saw them barely get by the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots totaled less than 300 yards of offense, and their struggles have not been limited to just that game.
Only three teams are averaging fewer yards per game than New England, and those teams have combined for just one victory. The Patriots are tied for 19th in the NFL with 22 points per game.
Tom Brady has led some of the best offenses in league history. Since 2007, the Patriots have accounted for three of the top 12 scoring teams of all time. In 2014, though, Brady’s number are not what they used to be. His 82.9 passer rating would be his lowest ever for a full season, as would his 58.8 completion percentage.
Against the Chiefs, Brady could have his best day of the young season. In the opener, Kansas City allowed Jake Locker to produce his only good game of the year, and Peyton Manning posted a 143.9 passer rating against the Chiefs in the following week.
Brady’s biggest challenge will be having success in spite of Kansas City’s talented defensive front. While 24 teams have played one more game than the Chiefs, they are tied for eighth in the NFL with nine sacks. Justin Houston leads the team with three sacks, and he’ll look to get to Brady, who’s been taken down seven times in three games.
Despite their struggles, New England has an opportunity to take a one-game lead in the division and improve to 3-1. A loss for the Chiefs would keep them in third place in the AFC West and put them two games behind the San Diego Chargers.
The Chiefs are coming off their first win of 2014 and should be getting their best player back in the lineup. Jamaal Charles, who missed Week 3 with an ankle injury, is expected to suit up for Kansas City. Last season, Charles ranked third with 1,287 rushing yards.
Kansas City hasn’t played on “Monday Night Football” since they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in November 2012. New England lost its last Monday night game, but the team had won 10 of its previous 11 times as the final game of the week.
Start Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Online Stream Info: WatchESPN
Point Spread: Patriots by 3 points
Over/Under: 46.5 points
Prediction: New England 27, Kansas City 20