- The Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship this Sunday.
- When these teams met earlier in the season, the Patriots walked away with a 43-40 victory, but both sides have come a long way since their Week 6 matchup.
- Whichever team wins on Sunday will represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
The game is a rematch of one of the most thrilling games of the 2018 regular season, but both teams have come a long way since their Week 6 matchup.
Below we break down everything you need to know before the game kicks off on Sunday.
What: AFC Championship
When: 6:40 p.m. ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
Where to watch: CBS
What’s the spread?
The Chiefs are currently 3-point favourites at most sportsbooks.
This means that for Chiefs bettors, Kansas City will need to win by more than three points to cash their ticket, while Patriots bettors can earn their winnings with a New England win or a loss by two or less.
The total on this game is currently listed at 55.5 points, meaning Las Vegas is expecting a pretty high-scoring affair between the two teams.
What happened the first time they met?
The Chiefs travelled to New England in Week 6 of the 2018 regular season for what was one of the most compelling games of the year.
Football fans were just getting to know Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and the young gunslinger was impressive in a shootout against Tom Brady and company.
Despite trailing at halftime 24-9, the Chiefs mounted an impressive comeback in the second half, with Mahomes finding Tyreek Hill for a 75-yard touchdown with just three minutes left to tie the game 40-40.
Hill finished the game with seven receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
However, Brady would use those final three minutes to go on a methodical drive down the field, using all of the remaining clock to set up a game-winning field goal as time expired, securing a 43-40 win for the Patriots.
The Patriots posted a clean injury report on Wednesday, and the Chiefs are relatively healthy as well heading into the AFC Championship.
Running back Spencer Ware, who has missed four straight games for the Chiefs while dealing with an ankle injury, was limited in practice.
Beyond that, players like Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Eric Berry, and Kendall Fuller were all been listed as full participants in practice and should be ready to play come Sunday.
How do the quarterbacks stack up?
Patrick Mahomes has been the best quarterback in the NFL this season and looks like a lock to take home the NFL MVP award after his incredible year.
Tom Brady has been the best quarterback in the NFL for nearly two decades now and holds numerous postseason records that will likely never be broken.
Which man will have the upper hand on Sunday is anyone’s guess.
Mahomes will have the home crowd behind him and has been throwing like a magician all season, but Brady has won in the cold before, and with frigid temperatures expected in Kansas City, his experience could win the day.
Who has the coaching advantage?
Bill Belichick is widely regarded as the best coach in the NFL, but Andy Reid has done about as well as anyone to match him head-to-head.
Reid is 2-2 against Belichick as the Chiefs head coach, with three of those games coming as the road team in Foxboro.
That said, Reid’s notorious clock management skills combined with Belichick’s end-of-half dominance makes it feel almost inevitable that the Patriots steal at least a field goal in the final seconds before halftime.
Who is the potential X-factor?
Tyreek Hill was the hero for the Chiefs in their first game against the Patriots, but if one player (aside from Mahomes) is going to lift Kansas City over the top in this one, sure-handed tight end Travis Kelce is one to watch.
Whether in the red zone or on a big third down, if the Chiefs need a big play in a big moment, Kelce is a guy who can deliver.
One fact of note:
Tom Brady is playing in his eighth-straight AFC Championship, his 13th conference title game in 17 seasons as starting quarterback, leading to a lot of wild numbers, such as these:
That's talent ???? pic.twitter.com/ORjfwytMnl
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 15, 2019
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