The time has come for my weekly 5 players to watch. This week the Patriots battle the undefeated Chiefs at the Razor. This should by all accounts be a good game with two good teams battling for early playoff positioning. With that being said, in order for the Patriots to get that win they’ll need a flawless effort. Let’s get into the 5 players who I think will make that happen.
Trey Flowers: The leader of the line will once again be called upon to lead this group. What they need from Flowers is pressure on Mahomes. They all need to bring the heat this week. I would like to see Mahomes under siege on every play. Trey without a doubt is the Patriots’ best pass rusher and he has a chance to make an impact. Football is generally won in the trenches, but there are always exceptions to the rule. The Patriots’ ability to make Mahomes uncomfortable will go a long way in this game. We can’t forget Kareem Hunt in this game can we? Which leads me to my second player.
Kyle VanNoy: What he does for this team is often underappreciated. I like him; in fact he’s one of my favorites on this team. He doesn’t have the flash or the sizzle, but he makes plays. What I would like him to do this week is shadow Hunt. Where Hunt goes, he goes. The front seven will need a good game in order to get that W. I would bring him down on the line a few times just to give Mahomes something to think about. I know there’s been a lot of talk about the RPO this week, but in actuality the Chiefs don’t use that as much as what’s being discussed. Look for Kyle to make his usual plays out there, and when they do use the RPO, he will sniff it out.
Stephon Gilmore: The Patriots best cover corner needs to have a game this week. He will be matched up with a dynamic player in Tyreek Hill. This will be fun to watch I think. There is no doubt in my mind he’s gonna need safety help in this one. That’s OK, since it’s gonna take a total team effort this week, but he’s gotta be a menace to Hill. I would suggest jamming him at the line rather than letting him get a free release. With the Patriots shutting down Hill it will be another weapon gone from the Chiefs’ arsenal. I think he can at least minimize the damage here. I know Hill will make plays, but stopping him will go a long way in shutting down that potent KC offense.
Sony Michel: What a difference a few weeks make doesn’t it? The rookie was the talk of the town just a few weeks back. I can’t imagine why can you? We don’t overreact around here do we? I’m sure you can sense my sarcasm as I’m writing this. I’m gonna make this very simple here: run the ball until you can’t anymore. What is seen as a weakness on the Chiefs team is defense, and it is just that: a glaring weakness. The running backs for the Patriots should be in-line for a huge game this week. With Sony and White the two are slowly becoming a legit duo in the NFL. The Patriots do a good job exploiting other teams’ weakness. This week will be no exception. Look for a heavy workload from the backs this game.
Rob Gronkowski: The time has come, big fella to put these Kelce vs Gronk comparisons to bed. This week all we’ve heard is how Kelce has overtaken Gronk as the best tight end in the game. There’s always gonna be people who will believe that is the case. There are probably people in New England who think so as well, but I wouldn’t go there just yet. The workhorse for the Patriots is gonna get it going here. This week it feels like a couple TDs from him. The Chiefs defense overall isn’t that healthy this week. I like Gronkowski in this game. Let’s hope he has heard the talk this week, but being who the Patriots are they can motivate themselves without the noise.
Prediction: This is a tough one this week with both teams being who they are. When I sit back and look at everything, give me the Pats 30-27. This should be a excellent game.
You can follow me on Twitter @Chris_Blackey. Check out our weekly podcast @stevehoodpod. As always – Go, Pats!