FOXBOROUGH – In 2014, the last time the Patriots traveled to Kansas City, apoplectic reaction went to parts unknown: speculation whether Tom Brady was finished and if his Lombardi-hoarding coach had lost his touch.
Two Super Bowl victories later, New England is again on rarely traveled ground, packing for another AFC Championship game as the underdog at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
“They’re a well balanced, disciplined team. We’ll need our best game,” Belichick said Wednesday in Foxborough, Mass.
The Patriots need one win for their ninth Super Bowl appearance since 2000. Sunday will mark the eighth consecutive year New England has reached the conference title game. No other team has appeared in more than five in a row.
“I love to play in a championship game,” Belichick said, shrugging off a question about preparing for game time temperatures forecast to be at or below freezing. “Schedule it wherever you want. We’ll be there.”
The most recent forecast calls for a daytime temperature of 19 degrees.
Belichick has won a championship at the expense of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. New England won Super Bowl XXXIX over the Eagles, with Reid as Philadelphia’s coach, following the 2004 season. The Patriots have 18 takeaways in eight games and a 6-2 record when Belichick opposes Reid.Overall, Reid is 1-4 in championship games. Kansas City hasn’t won the Super Bowl since 1970.
For all the playoff experience Brady and Belichick boast, not often has New England been asked to go on the road to earn a Super Bowl ticket. New England is 3-4 in postseason road games featuring Brady behind center.
“We’re going to have to stop the whole offense, not just one player,” Belichick said. “We’re going to have to play good team defense.”
Belichick is 8-4 in championship games and has 29 postseason wins as a head coach.Kansas City was first in the NFL at 35.3 points per game in 2018. New England was fourth at 27.2.
Recent games have been shootouts. The Chiefs beat the Patriots 42-27 to open the 2017 season, and New England knocked off K.C. in October of the just-completed season, 43-40.
“They have a great offense, they have a great set of players,” Belichick said. “Andy does a great job of forcing you to make choices, and spreading the ball around based on those choices. … They lead the league in everything.”
As for any lasting memories of the bloody Monday night in 2014 – a 41-14 loss in which New England trailed 27-0 and 41-7 – the Patriots are employing their usual short-term memory.This week, they’re on to Kansas City.
–Field Level Media