NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Need/Get
by Dennis Ranahan

The Kansas City Chiefs are the only undefeated 5-0 team that is also perfect against the point spread. They visit Foxboro tonight to meet a New England Patriots team that uncharacteristically lost two games in a row earlier this season and now have company atop their division race.

After tonight, the Patriots will either have a won/loss record of 3 wins and 3 losses with Kansas City rising to 6-0, or the Patriots will be 4-2 as the Chiefs suffer their first loss of the season and head back to Kansas City with a 5 and 1 record.

If the Chiefs win tonight, they would be three games better than New England through the first six weeks of this season. But, if the Patriots win, they pull to within one game of the conference leading Chiefs.

In the balance of things, I’m betting these two teams are only separated by one game after tonight’s contest, and with that decided, we can move on to the point spread to see if there is an enhanced reason to fear the spread?

This is not the first time Andy Reid has opened a season with the Chiefs winning five straight games. They did it last year too, in a season that began with a win over the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots on their home field. In sixth week action last year, Kansas City was a three-and-one-half point underdog in Pittsburgh, and lost to the Steelers, 19-13. That defeat was followed by losses in five of the next six weeks, and that streak took the Chiefs from the perch atop the NFL world to no postseason berth.

That losing run and missed playoff campaign also prompted the Chiefs to pull the plug on starting quarterback Alex Smith, waiting no longer to elevate Patrick Mahomes to the starting role. Smith was traded to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third round draft choice.

This has proven a win/win deal.

The Redskins were able to part ways with their incumbent QB, Kirk Cousins, and secure the rights to one of the winningest regular season quarterbacks in the game. Smith’s postseason woes the only serious blemish on his NFL career.

As for Mahomes, he has proven he was ready to step into the spotlight that is shown on an NFL quarterback. Particularly, one that has rewritten the history books on most touchdown passes to begin an NFL career. His all out exuberant and deft play has been the primary reason the Chiefs have emerged as the only undefeated team in the American Football Conference.

If Mahomes is to extend the Kansas City winning streak to six, he is going to have to outduel a man that has been winning at this game since before Mahomes started grade school, Tom Brady.

The Chiefs have a cushion in their division race and the Patriots need this game to move into first place.

If it was just a need/want situation, the Patriots appear poised to avenge last season’s opening loss to this same Chiefs team. But it is not just need/want, in Brady’s case, it is need/get.

Qoxhi Picks: New England Patriots (-3½) over Kansas City Chiefs