Bill Belichick's defenses have a few tried and true characteristics that we've come to rely on. They almost always improve as the season progresses, they usually are content to allow yards but generally stiffen to keep the points down and as a rule they identify which weapon the opponent leans on the most and does a good job of taking that away.
Over the years we've seen this with players like DeAndre Hopkins in Houston and many others. The problem with that theory against the Chiefs is Kansas City has a multitude of options to pick from.
In the most recent meetings it would appear as if Belichick focused on containing Travis Kelce and the defense has done a nice job of limiting the All-Pro tight end's damage. In the Week 6 meeting this season, he finished with five catches for 61 yards.
Meanwhile, Tyreek Hill has absolutely destroyed the Patriots, racking up 14 catches for 275 yards and four touchdowns in his two previous matchups with New England.
So, this week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is: Who should the Patriots defense focus on in Kansas City?
PFW's Andy Hart says …
There is perhaps no more explosive player in the league than Tyreek Hill. He is considered the fastest player in the league, and against the Patriots in the past he has lived up to that reputation. After the Week 6 matchup in Foxborough, Duron Harmon and Devin McCourty talked about how difficult it is to prepare for that kind of speed.
Therefore, I feel the Patriots need to focus on stopping him. Hill has killed the Patriots in the past, catching 14 passes – seven in each game – for 275 yards and four touchdowns in two meetings. Clearly, Hill deserves more than just normal attention.
I feel Stephon Gilmore needs to be involved with Hill in addition to some safety help over the top. Hill is dangerous so he's probably going to make some plays regardless, but the Patriots can't afford to watch him running free through the secondary like he has in the past.
Figure out a way to make life more difficult for him, and in turn make Kansas City find another way to beat you.
PFW's Paul Perillo says …
There's a reason the Patriots have focused on Kelce in the past and that's because of his prolific ability to make plays. Kelce is Patrick Mahomes' most trusted receiver, and he's the guy the quarterback leans on when he needs to make a play.
Kelce is terrific on third downs and that's where the Chiefs go to move the chains. If too much attention is paid elsewhere, Kelce will methodically rip apart the Patriots secondary and allow the Chiefs to control the ball.
One of the reasons the Patriots were able to get a big lead in Week 6 was their ability to prevent Kelce from picking up first downs in the first half. That forced the Chiefs into desperation mode in the second and to their credit it worked. But I have no problem if the Patriots can jump out to a lead once again by containing Kelce early and forcing Kansas City to look elsewhere to get back in the game.
Keep Kelce in check.