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The New England Patriots averaged 40 points a game in two contests with the Chiefs last season, but it's not the same offense heading into Sunday afternoon's matchup at Gillette Stadium.

Quarterback Tom Brady has just eight touchdowns in the past seven contest, a stretch in which the Patriots have dropped two games while averaging just 23.9 points per game

Patriots' Offensive Breakdown

While the Patriots offense struggled in recent weeks, it still has a quarterback that can become a handful for opposing defenses. There remains very little Brady hasn't seen in his NFL career, and that knowledge and experience makes him dangerous. 

He's starting to show signs of losing some arm strength, but he delivers an accurate, on-time ball under ideal conditions. He also shows reluctance in taking hits, choosing instead to duck away from would be tacklers. He also will surrender in accepting the sack instead of hanging in the pocket for a split-second longer to get the ball out to a playmaker before absorbing a hit. The Patriots lean on their defense and special teams as the driving force behind the team, making Brady more of a game manager.

Unlike in years past, Brady's supporting cast presents a giant question mark. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels calls the offense like they still have a tight end similar to Rob Gronkowski, although Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse are not even close to being on the same level. 

Julian Edelman easily leads this receivers group. The shifty little receiver does a majority of his work over the middle of the field, using his quickness to get separation and give Brady an easy target. Outside of Edelman, however, the young Patriots' receivers struggle creating separation. Rookie N’Keal Harry is a big possession receiver with outstanding body control, but little in the way of speed. Phillip Dorsett offers speeds, but Brady’s declining arm talent makes that less threatening as a weapon. Jakobi Meyers is another youngster New England tries to get involved, but his lack of separation really limits what he brings to the table. Mohamed Sanu, another possession receiver, is dealing with an ankle injury while also trying to find a role in this offense since arriving in a trade from Atlanta.

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With so many uncertainties in the passing game and facing a Chiefs defense that often struggles against the run, the Patriots would be wise to turn to their ground game. Sony Michel averaged 112 yards per game in last year's Super Bowl run, including 113 against the Chiefs at Arrowhead. He's averaging just 54 yard per game this season, however, struggling to get anything going consistently to this point. 

Part of his troubles could stem from sharing a backfield with two other running backs. James White is the main passing-down back who beats linebackers with his speed and quickness. Rex Burkhead offers a mix of Michel and White, used to spell Michel in the run game between the tackles while also capable of handling work in passing situations.

Stopping the Patriots' Offense

The run game should be the focus of the Chiefs defense. If Kansas City can stop the run, the Patriots don’t really have the weapons in the passing game to scare anyone. The defense needs to keep a close eye on LaCosse when he is in the game. His position on the field likely leads to the direction the ball goes. The offensive line doesn’t generate a lot of movement at the line. The Patriots will also be missing starter Ted Karras with a knee injury.

With Brady’s declining arm talent, the field shrinks immensely for the Patriots. The secondary should look for the ball no more than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. Brady likes taking a couple of deep shots with a majority of them being to the right side of the field. 

The passing attack consists mostly of 3 to 5-yard in breaking routes, crossing routes and swing passes to the running backs. White is a mismatch for linebackers running routes out of the backfield. The Chiefs should use a defensive back to cover White to take away his speed and quickness advantage over linebackers. Using two defenders to bracket Edelman, one taking inside breaking routes and the other to cover the outside routes, will limit Edelman’s impact on the game, forcing Brady to look to the targets that are having a tougher time getting open.  

When it comes to attacking the offensive line to get pressure on Brady, the Chiefs should focus on generating interior pressure. They need to test backup center James Ferentz early to probe for weaknesses. Twists can effectively create free rushers all across the line. If a twist comes from the left side, the defensive end needs to crash inside and make contact with left tackle Isaiah Wynn to draw his attention away from the looping defensive tackle, giving the tackle an untouched path to the backfield.

Left guard Joe Thuney is susceptible to a bull rush and should struggle blocking Chris Jones inside anytime the Chiefs want quick pressure. Both tackles are weak against speed rushers, particularly if those rushers come from wider than a 5-technique. If the rusher uses a dip and rip, he can easily get the corner on the tackle and force Brady to step up into a collapsing pocket. Wynn also falls victim to a spin move back inside. That sets up the opportunity for a bull rush at the top of his pass set before he gets his feet situated underneath himself.