In mid-October, the New England Patriots went into Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. They were short favorites heading into that game, and they lived up to the billing by pulling out a narrow 43-40 win over the hosts. Tom Brady and the Patriots run game gashed the Chiefs in the first half, and then held on at the end to get the victory.
The New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams were involved in a shootout too. The Saints jumped out to a big lead over the Rams thanks to big performances from Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara, and they dealt the Rams their first defeat of the season in a 45-35 win.
NFL Betting Lines
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Over 57
In their comeback win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Saints lost a key component of their defense. Sheldon Rankins has been the anchor of the defensive line all year, but he fell victim to a torn Achilles tendon, and he will not be available for the rest of the postseason. That is a huge blow to the Saints, as his part in blowing up the interior of the offensive line helped them stop the run.
You can be sure that the Rams will be looking to exploit this absence. They have the best running back in the league in Todd Gurley, although he is nursing an injury of his own, and they ripped the Cowboys run defense apart last week. Sean McVay and the Rams use the run to open things up through the air for Jared Goff, and if they can move the chains against the Saints front seven, their secondary might have to play man-to-man and dare Goff to beat them.
On the other side of the ball, the Saints have already proven they can put up a lot of points on the Rams. Thomas had his best game of the year against the Rams earlier in the season, and Kamara should be able to have the success that he has continually had this year. The Rams defense has not been as solid as you might think given their talent, and Brees will have the luxury of playing in a dome.
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs Under 54.5
Pat Mahomes II and Tom Brady are probably wishing they were going to be playing in a dome this week. The weather forecast in Kansas City is calling for extreme cold with a polar vortex potentially dropping the temperature as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit. That would make this one of the coldest games on record, and even without snow, it’s hard to see a lot of offense happening here.
Mahomes and his No. 1 weapon Tyreek Hill are not used to the cold. Mahomes and Hill played their college ball in Texas and Oklahoma, and that won’t help them acclimate for this weather.
Brady is likely to be more prepared for the cold, but his age may end up limiting him. Cold and old typically aren’t a great mix, and he could have a lot more trouble moving the ball against the Chiefs than he did earlier in the year.
The Patriots defense is surely to improve too. They had a great game-plan to stop the Chargers on Sunday, and Belichick will have something in store for Mahomes and company.
Another factor favoring the under is the crowd. The Patriots have not been the same team on the road that they have at home, especially on offense. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, and the Chiefs’ fans will be ready.
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