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Patriots vs. Chiefs Week 4 Preview: Introducing Kansas City

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The Patriots travel to Kansas City this week for a Monday Night Football match-up against the Chiefs. Here's our initial look.

Joel Auerbach

Taking a high-level look at the Patriots week four opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs:

 

Overview:

The 2-1 New England Patriots are back on the road for the third time in four weeks, as they will travel to Kansas City Monday night to take on the 1-2 Chiefs in what will be their first primetime game of the 2014 season. Kansas City was a playoff team in 2013, getting off to a 9-0 start before stumbling to an 11-5 finish and getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Colts in the first round. They haven't had the same hot start as a year ago, but are coming off a dominating 34-15 victory over the Dolphins... who dominated the Patriots in week one.

 

How They Rank:

Total Offense: 322.3 YPG (T-23rd)
Rush Offense: 124.7 YPG (13th)
Pass Offense: 197.7 YPG (26th)
3rd Down Offense: 48% (7th)
Points Per Game: 20.3 PPG (T-22nd)
Total Defense: 354.0 YPG (19th)
Rush Defense: 130.3 YPG (23rd)
Pass Defense: 223.7 (T-11th)
3rd Down Defense: 36% (7th)
Points Allowed/Game: 21.7 PPG (T-13th)
Turnover Ratio: -5 (32nd)

 

Three Storylines to Watch:

Chiefs Trio of Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali, and Justin Houston

These three are the strength of the Chiefs' defense. Poe has continued to progress heading into year three, and had a dominating performance against the Dolphins last week. The big defensive tackle could give the Patriots serious issues up front, regardless of whether or not the Patriots make the Stork-Devey swap. Meanwhile, Hali and Houston continue to be one of the best pass rushing duos the league has to offer. All three players came up with sacks against the Dolphins last week. Considering the issues the Patriots have had in protection, this could make for a long game.

 

Opposite Ends of the Turnover Spectrum

The Chiefs and the Patriots are on complete opposite ends of the turnover spectrum in 2014. The Patriots are first in the league at plus-six. The Chiefs are dead last at minus-five. This is especially surprising in Kansas City, considering they were second in the league in turnover differential a season ago. They have yet to force a turnover on defense, which is kind of surprising when you consider how they get after the quarterback. You could argue this makes them a more dangerous match-up... they're completely overdue to create some turnovers.

Offensive Line Overhaul

Much like the Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs underwent a complete offensive line overhaul this offseason. If you're going by PFF analytics, the results haven't been too pretty. In pass blocking, the Chiefs are rated second worst in the NFL at a paltry negative 17.3. The only team worse? The New England Patriots at -21.7. In run blocking, the Chiefs are fourth worst in the league at -17.4. Each of their linemen grade negative except for fourth year center Rodney Hudson. Second year lineman Eric Fisher, who made the transition from right to left tackle this season, is graded at a negative 9.7 on the year. Chandler Jones is likely to get that match-up.

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For Chiefs coverage, head on over to Arrowhead Pride. What are your early thoughts on the match-up?