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NFL Playoffs Patriots vs Chiefs Instant Analysis and Observations of Patriots 27-20 Victory

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Here is our instant analysis from the New England Patriots 27-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady loved having his weapons back

The Patriots quarterback looked like his early-season self with wide receiver Julian Edelman back on the field, and the offensive line has never looked better against a good defensive front. More importantly, the entire offense remained healthy through the game.

The Patriots didn't run the ball at all

Brady tied with Steven Jackson for the team lead with 6 carries on the day. Jackson and James White had 7 carries for 21 yards. That's three yards per carry; not good, but enough to keep the defense honest and aware of the Patriots play action pass.

Edelman was rusty, but was key

The broken-footed receiver notched 10 catches and 100 yards, but roughly 4 groan-worthy drops. He's back and he should be even better next week. The Patriots really liked having Gronkowski and Edelman back and involved as the remaining players- Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, and Keshawn Martin- didn't really do too much.

The offensive line had its best day

The Chiefs registered one quarterback hit, and that was pretty much the only blemish on the Patriots offensive line. Part of that was the offensive's clear aim of getting the ball out quickly (hence all of the screens to LaFell), but the line deserves some credit. Is Shaq Mason at right guard the solution? I'm not sure, but the line hasn't looked better all season.

Rob Ninkovich was ol' reliable

I think the Patriots edge defender is ageless as he registered 6 tackles, including one for a loss, and two additional quarterback hits. The entire defensive line found its groove in the second half as the Chiefs all of a sudden forgot how to run the ball. Chandler Jones added in a gimme sack (Alex Smith tripped and fell) and Jabaal Sheard blew up a few running plays. Hopefully Jones is healthy.

The linebackers are all hurt

Jonathan Freeny and Darius Fleming played today, which is something you never want to see. Jamie Collins suffered a back injury and Jerod Mayo injured his shoulder. Dont'a Hightower aggravated his knee, but ultimately didn't miss too much time. Can all of these players get better for next week? That's the goal. We'll find out.

Patrick Chung ascended to the next level

Devin McCourty gets a lot of praise as the Patriots top safety, and he made a few great plays in coverage, but Chung was the best player on the field. He blew up a few screens and he completely shut down Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Stephen Gostkowski is still perfect

There's nothing really to add, I just wanted to highlight that he still hasn't missed an extra point.