KC Chiefs Defensive Pass Rush Vs. Tom Brady
The Kansas City Chiefs made a dominant statement in their win versus a hot-handed Indianapolis Colts team. The Chiefs offense led by star QB Patrick Mahomes played lights out football in the divisional playoffs. And Mahomes exploited a vulnerable Colts defense playing the Tampa 2 zone scheme.
Kansas City’s defense took center stage and made a statement by shutting down the high powered Colts offense with QB Andrew Luck. The Chiefs defense held Luck to 19-36 for 203 yards and 1 TD. They shut down the Colts running game by holding RB Marlon Mack to only 46 yards on 9 carries.
Fast forward to this week facing an ageless legend New England Patriots QB Tom Brady. He is planning to work his continued magic against a bi-polar Chiefs defense. Bi-Polar is best used to describe a defense incapable of stopping the run or pass when it counts.
Chiefs defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton’s unit, will need to play their best football to date to stifle the Patriots. Can it be done? Yes! How? By applying full pressure on Brady and giving him zero time to make his reads. Secondly, the Chiefs must shut down the run with the Patriots RB Sony Michel.
The Chiefs Defensive Pass Rush is the X-Factors Against The Patriots
No pressure on QB Tom Brady equals a possible loss for the Chiefs. They must bring a big rush to disrupt his rhythm to control the game.
The New England Patriots offensive line ranks 4th at 59 percent in the ESPN Pass Block Win Rate (PBWR) metric. And the Chiefs rank 8th at 55 percent for Pass Rush Win Rate (PRWR). ESPN reached the numbers based on the analytics of pass blocking and pass rushing.
The data tells us the rate at which linemen can sustain their blocks for 2.5 seconds or longer. Likewise, our “Pass Rush Win Rate” metric tells us how often a pass-rusher can beat his block within 2.5 seconds. The ESPN model of pass blocking harnesses player tracking data from NFL Next Gen Stats.
Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford is one of the best edge rushers in the NFL. His constant pressure on Colts QB Luck placed the Chiefs in the driver’s seat for victory. Ford finished the game with four combined tackles with one sack and a critical forced fumble. Ford will likely line up across from Patriots RT Marcus Cannon. It’s going to be a slugfest for Cannon who is more effective with run blocking than pass protection. He has shown a weakness defending the quick first step burst by edge rushers like Ford.
Chiefs left defensive end Chris Jones is a relentless pass rusher in a sometimes lethargic defense. Jones was a difference maker in the Colts game by batting down three Luck passes, and one hit sealing the Chiefs divisional victory. Jones will likely line up across from Patriots LG Joe Thuney or RG Shaq Mason. Either way, Jones intensity will need to be dialed up to shrink the pocket around Brady to disrupt the Patriots offense.
Justin Houston is the other tenacious outside linebacker for the Chiefs. Houston logged two combined tackles and two game-breaking sacks in the divisional round against the Colts. Houston is sheer power and aggressive energy packed into one punch. He could line up opposite Patriots offensive LT Trent Brown and battle throughout the game to sack Brady.
Tom Brady Versus The Chiefs Secondary
No matter when or where the New England Patriots play, the Brady bunch usually makes plays. The Chiefs defensive backs will need to play the same man coverage used against the Colts. The Chiefs secondary played a nearly flawless game except for a Colts no-huddle offensive TD drive before halftime. They will need to duplicate their efforts to slow down Patriots WR Julian Edelman and TE Rob Gronkowski.
Chiefs DC Bob Sutton Versus Patriots OC Josh McDaniels
The 2019 AFC conference championship will be a game of ball control and time of possession, (chess) and Patriots OC Josh Mcdaniels holds the edge primarily due to Brady’s ability to unmask any defensive scheme. In other words, the Patriots will do what they do. Chiefs DC Bob Sutton’s disguised Tampa cover two strategies, will not be useful unless his pass rushers apply maximum pressure on Brady for sixty minutes. Look for Brady to feel pressure on the edges, but make adjustments.
Chiefs HC Andy Reid Versus Patriots HC Bill Belichick
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s teams are always prepared to win on the road because of his meticulous game planning. Belichick who is a future Hall Of Famer is the best in the business with a postseason record of 28-11 (.718). Chiefs head coach Andy Reid brings a unique dynamic to his team by being a strategic architect of cutting edge offensive schemes. Reid smells the aroma of victory and knows what it takes to beat Belichick. He has one big advantage in this game. The strength is in his house with home field advantage. Reid is one game away for a chance to return to the Super Bowl to seal his legacy with an SB win. And he will get the win at Arrowhead!
A Super Bowl LIII Prediction
The Kansas City Chiefs will win their AFC conference championship showdown with the New England Patriots. And they will return to the Super Bowl since 1970. The Chiefs are locked and loaded on offense with Patrick Mahomes and cast. Dee Ford and the rest of the Chiefs defense will show up and shut the Patriots offense down.
Super Bowl LIII: The Kansas City Chiefs vs. The New Orleans Saints.
Winner: The Chiefs