The last time they played a game that mattered, the
So far be it for them to write off the underdog
(And even if the Patriots were supremely confident heading into the game — which would be understandable in light of their history on this high-profile stage — they wouldn't dream of saying so.)
“Opening day’s always a time where you have a lot of questions [and] butterflies,” New England coach
"Lots of unknowns when the two collide."
And collide they will, as the nitro-burning Patriots offense meets a red-brick Kansas City defense in a nationally televised showdown. Belichick and the Chiefs’
The Patriots have won their last eight home openers on kickoff weekend, and Brady is 4-2 against the Chiefs in the regular season, including 3-0 at home.
Even with star receiver
Brady is surrounded by some dangerous weapons, among them tight end
"I think that's what makes a good offense — having a lot of versatility," Brady said recently. "I've said for a long time, I throw to where the guys are open. If they double someone, everyone else is singled across the board, so you've just got to be careful who you double. If we've got the right play called against a certain defense, it's tough to stop us."
Kansas City has a seasoned defense that can crank up the pressure on a quarterback, which many people believe is the only recipe to beat Brady. The Chiefs have a host of defensive playmakers in
“They’ve got all the intangibles, especially defensively,” Patriots receiver
On offense, Kansas City quarterback
Kelce and Gronkowski are arguably the two best in the business.
"I just try and go out there and be myself," Kelce told reporters. "Rob's a heck of a player. Everyone is always comparing the two [of us] and saying, 'Well, if he stays healthy, if this, if that.' I just hope he stays healthy and goes out there and plays to the best of his ability because I love the competition."
In Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs have an offensive and special-teams threat who sends chills down the collective spine of coordinators around the league.
Still, the Patriots are in their comfort zone — at home, in the spotlight, opening the season. The Chiefs will have to beat the odds to emerge victorious.
The Patriots know that can be done, of course. They just have to think back to February.
Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer