When the Kansas City Chiefs last visited Foxborough, they stunned the Patriots to start the 2017 season with a 42-27 win. It feels like a lifetime ago for many. On that night, KC’s offense was manned by veteran quarterback and the Picasso of modern-day-check-down artistry, Alex Smith. Smith, known as one of the NFL’s more passively competent QB’s, had possibly the best game of his career on that Thursday evening, throwing for 368 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. The league took notice and Chiefs fans began to believe. Smith was throwing downfield. Was this a dream? Could this be the year Andy Reid finally grabs that ever-elusive Super Bowl trophy? Most of the world laughed at the idea, only to be proven right in the end.
Smith went on to have his best season. He ended 2017 with a QB rating north of 100 for only the second time in his career, but experts knew, taking the next step towards a title with dump-off Dan under center was never going to happen. So, the Chiefs made a wise quarterback decision for the first time in decades and moved on.
Enter: Patrick Mahomes.
In the young 2018 season, the 23-year-old quarterback has wowed defenses. Kansas City’s passing attack, once vanilla and painfully conservative, has been turned on its head. Froggy-throated Mahomes, in his first 5 games of the season, has racked up over 1500 yards, 14 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. He’s already being compared to NFL history’s greatest field generals, which is obviously premature and wildly hyperbolic, but one thing’s for sure. He’s more Tom Brady than Alex Smith.
New England’s, “golden boy,” had an underwhelming start to the 2018 campaign, but has seemingly returned to form in recent weeks, racking up 6 touchdowns in his last two contests. With the addition of kush-enthusiast wideout, Josh Gordon, and return of slot sensation, Julian Edelman from ACL-enhancing PED suspension, the future looks bright for the Pats’ passing game. One would also expect All-Pro tight end and renowned meat brain, Rob Gronkowski, to perform better in the coming weeks. Gronk has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury since September and has only tallied 1 TD in his first five games. Taking the next step towards another AFC championship is always the focus of the Patriots and facing a worst-in-the-league Chiefs defense is sure to have Bill Belichick’s nipples blasting through that hoodie of his.
But New England’s defensive struggles, though not as laughable as KC’s, shouldn’t be overlooked either. With offensive weapons like dating show doofus, Travis Kelce at tight end wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, in Mahomes’ stable of targets, the Patriots will have their hands full. Pressure has successfully stifled the Chiefs QB at times, but with Belichick’s boys only producing 7 sacks so far this season, it’s hard to imagine, “Showtime,” spending much time on his back.
The NFL is ever-evolving, especially at the quarterback position. Sunday night will exemplify that. A young star-in-the-making will face off against arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game. Saying the primetime showdown represents a, “changing of the guard,” would be an overstatement (though that probably won’t stop Chris Collinsworth from mentioning it a thousand times) but watching the promise of youth battle the solidified greatness of a legend is can’t-miss television for any football fan. Tune in and let these offenses wash over you.