As the Patriots prepare to do battle with the Chiefs tonight, on Monday Night Football, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe looks at a core of players who have been together here since 1996. Adam Vinatieri, Troy Brown, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, and Ty Law have enjoyed an unusual continuity during their time in New England, and remain the heart of the Patriots locker room. "They have played in three Super Bowls, winning two. They are 85-52 in the regular season since '96. They have worked under three coaches, played in two home stadiums, and been a part of a team that won a record 21 straight games," writes Cafardo.
Kevin Mannix of The Boston Herald contends, despite their 3-6 record, the Chiefs are a team not to be taken lightly, especially in the raucous environment of Arrowhead Stadium. "The real threat, as it was viewed before the season, was tonight's game at Arrowhead Stadium against the Chiefs," writes Mannix. "Dick Vermeil had Priest Holmes, the best offensive line in football and Trent Green, a highly underrated quarterback. All together it was considered then-and is still ranked-as THE best offense in the NFL."
Mannix also previews the game, breaking down which team holds which advantages. Mannix gives the overall edge to the Patriots, but not by much.
George Kimball of the Herald visits the other side of the field to spotlight Chief's quarterback Trent Green. Green makes for a very interesting story, being a considerably late-bloomer in his NFL career. "He was 27 years of age and in his fifth professional season by the time he set foot on the field for a regulation NFL game, and 28 before he started one, but at 34, the Chiefs starting quarterback is coming off his first Pro Bowl season," writes Kimball.
In his Chiefs notebook, Kimball covers KC coach Dick Vermeil, the various offensive weapons they will feature, the dangerous return man Dante Hall, and some local ties to Chiefs players.
The Herald also runs another excerpt from Michael Felger's book, Tales From the Patriots Sideline.
Paul Kenyon of The Providence Journal points out the Patriots, despite their recent success, still have something to prove in Kansas City, where they have not won in a very long time. "The last time the Pats won in Kansas City, Babe Parilli was the quarterback, Mike Holovak was the coach and the team was still called the Boston Patriots. It beat the Chiefs, 31-24, before a "crowd" of 13,166 in Municipal Stadium," writes Kenyon.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call previews tonight's game, noting there are a number of different scenarios that could play out in Kansas City. "Perhaps this is the week the Patriots finally pay the price for not having cornerbacks Ty Law and Tyrone Poole in the lineup, but even if they get torched by the likes of Trent Green, Derrick Blaylock and Tony Gonzalez, there's no reason to believe they can't exchange blows with the Chiefs," writes Parente.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant agrees Arrowhead has not been the most receptive of places for the Patriots, even in recent years. Greenberg cites the game the Pats played there in 1999, which ended with a game-winning field goal attempt by the ever-clutch Vinatieri clanging off the crossbar, giving the Chiefs a 16-14 win. "In 1999, the last time the Patriots played there, the crowd was so loud and the Chiefs defense so intimidating that the Patriots offensive line had four illegal motion or offside penalties in the first quarter," writes Greenberg.
Greenberg also breaks the game down by injuries, key match-ups, and projected advantages.
In his notebook, Dan Pires of The Standard Times discusses the Patriots aversion to disclosing any more than they have to regarding injuries. "The Patriots will never speak openly about injuries, because the implied belief is nothing good can come of it," writes Pires. Pires also reports on the Patriots injuries, the Chiefs lack of defense, and predicts a 10-point Chiefs victory.
In his notebook, Tim Weisberg of the Times covers last week's press conference with Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel as well as Tom Brady's appearance on David Letterman's Tonight Show. Weisberg also extends his personal opinions of last week's MNF promo scandal, and predicts a 45-32 Pats victory.