|Monday Night Football!|
The New England Patriots travel to Arrowhead Stadium tonight for the season lone appearance on Monday Night Football. This is one of 4 straight games against AFC opposition with the Patriots welcoming the Bengals to Gillette Stadium for Sunday Night Football before facing divisional rivals Buffalo and the New York Jets.
After starting the season with a lacklustre performance against Miami the Patriots have bounced back to win their last two games with a convincing 30-7 victory versus the Vikings and a hard fought victory against Oakland last week 16-9. While the 2014 edition of the New England offense is going through some teething problems the defense has looked steady often producing good play and signs of potential to be one of the best in the league.
They rank 1st in the NFL with the fewest yard against them over the first 3 weeks of the season giving up just 818 yards and 3rd in points against with just 49 given up leaving them just behind Arizona on 45 and Cincinnati with 33. Success at forcing turnovers has also been impressive in the opening weeks of the 2014 campaign for New England, something Bill Belichick’s defense have always been known for, with the team having racked up 6 interceptions already on the year which is tied for 2nd in the league. As well as these stats they have forced 3 fumbles so far recovering 2 and have sacked opposing quarterbacks 7 times.
The Chiefs didn’t start 2014 too well themselves going down heavily against the Titans 26-10 before almost taking the Broncos to overtime in week 2 when they narrowly lost 24-17. Last week was much better for Andy Reid’s team as they dismantled the Dolphins 34-15 to chalk up their first win of the year. Kansas City will be the hardest opposition that the Patriots have faced so far this year especially as Arrowhead stadium can often conjure up quite an atmosphere. Tonight they’re attempting to regain the crown they once had as “The loudest stadium in the world” so Tom Brady and co could be in for a tough task.
While tonight’s matchup could be rather tough for New England especially as they’ve had early season offensive woes so far this year it has to be said that typically on Monday Night Football Tom Brady excels in front of the prime time cameras; his MNF record is 13-5. Brady has thrown three or more touchdowns in a Monday Night game nine times, including four four-touchdown performances. He has also thrown four touchdowns in three of his last four Monday Night games. It’s also worth noting that Brady is tied with Steve Young for third place with 42 touchdown passes on Monday Night Football, behind Brett Favre (69) and Dan Marino (74). Steve Young threw 42 touchdown passes in 25 Monday night games, while Brady has 42 touchdowns in just 18 games!
|Last week was Brady’s 150th career regular-season victory as a starting quarterback.|
With Rob Gronkowski’s snap count growing as the season has begun it’s only a matter of time before the Brady-Gronk partnership lights up and tonight could be that night. There have been struggles on the offensive line but every team has its own individual chinks in their armour to deal with especially during the early stages of the season. Julian Edelman, Shane Vereen along with Stevan Ridley offer the Patriots versatility in the offense and either of the two could have a big game tonight as New England will look to take advantage of a Kansas City secondary that has looked sloppy at times during the early stages of the 2014 season.
Spare a thought for Danny Amendola as he is struggling performance wise while Aaron Dobson is still recovering from injury, as for Brandon LaFell well he saw some more targets from Brady last week and either him or Kenbrell Thompkins will be looking to build up some rapport with Brady tonight also watch out for Timothy Wright who seems to be growing in to the system week by week following his trade to the Patriots from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier on in the season.
As mentioned before New England’s defense has been playing well so far this season and will have to be at their best tonight when they go up against the likes of Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles. The likes of Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins continue to made big stride week by week and these 3 young defensive players are becoming big time assets to the Patriots along with the likes of Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork. The secondary has been progressing well as Darelle Revis settles in along with Devin McCourty who always seems to perform at a high level and I personally can’t wait to see Brandon Browner make his debut for the Patriots which should be next week versus the Bengals now that he has served his four game suspension.
|Chandler Jones is coming for you Chiefs!|
With Tom Brady’s record on Monday Night Football and Bill Belichick revitalising his team following their week one defeat I expect the Patriots to put in their best performance of the season as despite the Chiefs ranking 7th in yards against their defense and 6th in points given up so far this season they giving up an average of 354 yards a game. Ahead of that mouthwatering encounter against the Bengals next Sunday New England will be hoping to return back to Boston with a 3-1 record and give Bill Belichick his 16th victory as the head coach of the Patriots on Monday Night Football games.