The Patriots are trying to head into one of the loudest stadiums in the league and pull out a win. That would be a tough call for any team, nevermind a team with a floundering offense.
The Chiefs boast an elite defensive line that will be challenge number one for the Patriots. Here's how the Patriots will steal a win and solidfy their division lead.
1) Rookie linemen need to do their jobs. The Patriots are expected to start rookies at both center and guard, with an immediate challenge in nose tackle Dontari Poe of the Chiefs. Bryan Stork has been getting up to speed, while Bill Belichick has been touting Cameron Fleming's intelligence for the past couple of weeks. If they do their job, they'll improve the offensive line- a clear indictment on the performance of those they're replacing.
2) Run the ball and extend the drives. Stevan Ridley is one of the better running backs at moving the chains and establishing positive drives. The team needs him to be the engine to not only move the ball, but open up the playaction pass. A quality outing by Ridley opens the window for Tom Brady to have more time in the pocket.
3) Rush the passer. Simple enough, but the Patriots haven't really asked their defensive linemen to tuck their ears back and chase after the quarterback. Alex Smith will not make mistakes, so the Patriots will have to force him into a bad decision to force a turnover. That won't happen if they play contain.
4) Don't give up the big play. The Patriots have been outstanding all season at preventing big gains by opposing teams. The Chiefs thrive with their big playmakers and the Patriots need to eliminate the homeruns. No big plays from the running backs or tight ends. Play tight and always, always have a spy on the outlet player. The Chiefs are fast in the open field; the Patriots can't afford to be caught out of place.
5) Take the crowd out early. One way to neutralize the crowd noise is to score early and pull them out of the game. If the Patriots score two early touchdowns, it would go a long way in helping the offense have a quieter time on the field. No one wants the game to be on the line with these fans on the sideline. Score quickly and leave a mark.