The Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) will try to avoid a three-game skid when they travel to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots (6-3) on Monday night.
With former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel sidelined with a broken hand, it might be a long night for the Chiefs. Last week, Cassel was relieved by journeyman Tyler Palko, who completed five of six throws for 47 yards, in a 17-10 loss to the Denver Broncos.
All eyes will be on Palko, 28, who will make his first-ever NFL start. The former University of Pittsburgh star will be throwing against an injury-plagued Patriots secondary that will be without cornerback Devin McCourty, and has safety Patrick Chung listed as questionable with a foot injury.
The Patriots were having their problems against the pass before McCourty and Chung went down. New England gives up an average of 308.9 passing yards per game, which is the worst in the NFL.
Palko's ability to connect with former Pro Bowl receiver Dwayne Bowe will be vital to the Chiefs' chances. Bowe is a big-play threat but he has gone four-straight games without a touchdown.
After two consecutive losses, the Patriots will look to build off their strong 37-16 road victory over the New York Jets last week.
Quarterback Tom Brady was on his game against the rival Jets. He completed 26-of-39 passes for 329 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Rob Gronkowski was Brady's main target, as the tight end caught eight passes for 113 yards, and two touchdowns.
Brady has been especially on his game at Gillette Stadium, having won a record 31-straight home games before the New York Giants snapped the streak on Nov. 6.
New England's offense will be facing a Chiefs' defense that has had its struggles this season. In the first two weeks of the season, the Chiefs gave up 41 points to the Buffalo Bills, and 48 points to the Detroit Lions. On Nov. 6, the Miami Dolphins posted 31 points against Kansas City.
The last time the two teams met was Sept. 7, 2008. In that game, Brady went down with a knee injury in the first quarter and was replaced by the inexperienced Cassel, who helped lead the Patriots to an 11-5 record.
ODDS: Patriots are favored by 14.5 points
OVER/UNDER: 46.5 points
PREDICTION: The Patriots will immediately take chances by testing the Chiefs' pass defense. Expect Brady to target Gronkowski and Wes Welker in the first quarter, as the Patriots jump out to an early lead. Despite an inexperienced quarterback, the Chiefs will also throw the ball, as they try to get back in the game and test a makeshift New England secondary. The Patriots have won three out of four games at home, and head coach Bill Belichick usually has his teams clicking at this point in the season. It would be a stretch to think the Patriots would lose two-straight games at home.
PREDICTED SCORE: New England 38, Kansas City 10