Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots Preview: Prediction, Best Bets, Odds, Depth Charts (12/17/23)
The New England Patriots (3-10) play host to the Kansas City Chiefs (8-5) on Sunday (12/17/13) at 1 p.m. EST. Betting odds have the Chiefs as heavy favorites at -8.5 against the spread, while the over/under is set at just 37 total points.
This article provides Chiefs vs. Patriots analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the Chiefs against the spread.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots Prediction & Best Bet
The Chiefs are angry. It may not be justified, as the offsides call on Kadarius Toney that cost the Chiefs their would-be game-winning TD against the Bills last week was absolutely the right call and a call that had to be made. However, the Chiefs feel the refs stole one from them, and they have now lost back-to-back games for the first time since weeks 2 and 3 of the 2021 season.
This is a perfect bounce-back opportunity for Patrick Mahomes and Co. against an awful Patriots team that managed to win its third game of the season last week against a potential playoff team in the Pittsburgh Steelers. The offense looked as good as it has looked all season against a tough Steelers defense, and Bailey Zappe looks like he is clearly the best QB on their roster.
Given the huge gap between these teams, a spread of -7.5 at DraftKings is simply too good to pass up. We expect the Chiefs to pound the Patriots and would consider playing an alternate line up to -12.5, but we’ll play it safer with our best bet recommendation.
There is a scenario in which the Patriots could make this closer than we expect. The Chiefs have struggled against the run – they are 30th in DVOA and 31st in EPA this season. The Patriots will try to exploit that with Ezekiel Elliott and (possibly) Rhamondre Stevenson. If they can run the ball effectively and use the ground game to control the ball and keep Mahomes off the field, then they could keep this game close into the second half.
The Patriots’ defense is also legit. They have arguably the best run defense in the league – 1st in DVOA, EPA, success rate, and yards per carry allowed (3.2), and 3rd in yards per game (88.2). That is especially impressive considering how often they have played from behind, when opponents are incentivized to run the ball. That could make the Chiefs’ offense one-dimensional, especially if Isiah Pacheco misses his 2nd straight game.
Still, the Patriots can be exploited through the air, and even with a haphazard cast of pass catchers, we expect Mahomes to have more than enough success offensively to win this game by at least two scores.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots Prediction & Best Bet: Chiefs win 26-10 | Best Bet: Chiefs -7.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots Betting Odds
The spread in this game has dropped quite a bit from the lookahead line of Chiefs -11.5, as it currently sits at -8.5.
The over/under has held steady right at its opening line of 37 total points.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Chiefs winning 23-14.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots Key Injuries
The Patriots could be missing a few key offensive playmakers, as RB Rhamondre Stevenson still has not returned to practice as of this writing, while WRs Demario Douglas, DeVante Parker and JuJu Smith-Schuster have all been limited. LT Trent Brown and DL Christian Barmore are also worth monitoring.
For the Chiefs, LT Donovan Smith and RB Isiah Pacheco both missed last week’s game and remain questionable. On defense, LB Leo Chenal and S Mike Edwards are also on the injury report.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Chiefs vs. Patriots below.
Ezekiel Elliott vs. Chiefs’ run defense
As noted above, the Chiefs’ run defense is bad. In addition to being bottom two in the two advanced metrics referenced above, they are also allowing the fifth-highest yards per carry and the 10th-best success rate to opposing runners.
With Rhamondre Stevenson out with an ankle injury, Ezekiel Elliott had his best game of the season last week against a solid Steelers’ run defense. He looks like vintage Zeke as both a runner and as a receiver.
Veteran RB Ezekiel Elliott has generated 232 Offensive yards in the last two weeks, including a 140-yard performance during the Patriots 21-18 win over the Steelers in Wk 14.#Patriots #NewEngland pic.twitter.com/5ZKKkRWHIN
— All 22 Films (@All_22_NFL_Cuts) December 10, 2023
Elliott averaged 2.73 yards after contact per attempt last week and had an 18% missed tackles rate. Now he faces a Chiefs defense that is allowing the 9th-most yards after contact per attempt this season.
The Patriots’ best chance to keep this game close is running the ball effectively and controlling possession. If the Chiefs can’t stop Elliott in the run game, it will be much harder for them to cover the spread.
Patrick Mahomes vs. Patriots’ pass defense
The Chiefs are going to have to win this game through the air, which puts all the pressure on Mahomes to play better than he has played for most of this season.
Over his last six games, Mahomes is 31st in yards per attempt, 25th in passer rating and 15th in completion percentage over expected (CPOE). Those numbers are well below Mahomes’ typical standards, which has been a result of both below-average pass-catchers and his below-average play. This matchup should present an opportunity for him to get back on track.
Expect rookie WR Rashee Rice to continue his stellar freshman campaign. The second-round pick from SMU has really started turning it on over his last three games, averaging 7.7 receptions on 9.7 targets for 81 yards per game over that span. He leads the Chiefs in targets, receptions and touchdowns over that span, and trails only Travis Kelce in yards.
Speaking of Kelce, this might be a tough matchup for him, as New England allows the fifth-fewest yards per game to opposing tight ends. But he’s still Travis Kelce, and he can beat just about any defense.
If Rice and Kelce can produce for Mahomes, and the rest of the pass catchers can chip in (without committing costly penalties!), then the Chiefs should have no problem scoring enough to cover the spread.