Football

AFC GameDay: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has 72 catches for 875 yards and five touchdowns this season and is a Gronk-like threat down the middle for Kansas City.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has 72 catches for 875 yards and five touchdowns this season and is a Gronk-like threat down the middle for Kansas City. TNS

5. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) at 2. New England Patriots (12-4)

TV: 3:35 p.m. Saturday, KTVT/11 Line: Patriots by 4 1/2

Playoff records: Chiefs 9-15; Patriots 28-18

Last playoff game: Chiefs won wild-card game 30-0 at Houston Texans, Jan. 9. Patriots won Super Bowl 28-24 over Seattle Seahawks, Feb. 1.

2015 leaders: Chiefs: QB Alex Smith 307-470 for 3,486 yards, 20 TD, 7 INT; RB Charcandrick West 160-634, 4 TD; WR Jeremy Maclin, 87-1,088, 8 TD. Patriots: QB Tom Brady 402-624 for 4,770 yards, 36 TDs, 7 INT; RB LeGarrette Blount 165-703, 6 TDs; TE Rob Gronkowski 72-1,176, 11 TDs.

Notable: Temperature control. With an 11-game winning streak, nobody is hotter than Kansas City. Since Week 5, their defense has allowed more than 18 points only twice and corralled 31 turnovers. Hard to imagine this team was 1-5 and searching for a foothold. New England has taken a different rout, starting 10-0 before taking a cooling lap to the finish line. Their 2-4 closing run parallels the loss of receiver Julian Edelman (61-692, 7 TDs) to a broken foot and the diminished production of tight end Rob Gronkowski (15 catches over the past four games). Edelman is finally expected to play, but how effective he’ll be is anyone’s guess. What isn’t in question is Tom Brady. The three-time Super Bowl MVP is 21-8 in playoff games, including 14-3 at home. He’s also 3-0 at home against the Chiefs, though the teams have never met in the playoffs. KC QB Alex Smith is a cautious thrower and a deceptive runner (fourth most QB rushing yards in 2015). He’s been intercepted 21 times in 46 games as a Chief. He is 2-2 in career playoff starts with 10 touchdowns and one interception.

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