Patriots Defend Title Against Chiefs In Season Opener

The 2017 NFL Super Bowl Champions are set to square off against the Kansas City Chiefs tonight in Foxborough, Massachusetts, as the NFL season (and regular season betting lines) kick off. The Patriots will look to pick up where they left off against a weakened Chiefs offense. Meanwhile, the Chiefs will begin their redemption run to another postseason berth. The Patriots are favored to win over the Chiefs at most premium Super Bowl betting sites.

The Chiefs are already facing a tough break with the loss of RB Spencer Ware and his torn PCL/LCL. Rookie RB Kareem Hunt is expected to start over Charcandrick West—this move should give the new player a chance to have a standout performance. New England suffered a significant offensive loss as well in losing WR Julian Edelman with a torn ACL. Now it will be up to Danny Amendola, Chris Logan and Brandin Cooks to make a difference. Cooks enjoyed several good seasons with the New Orleans Saints, leading to his move to the Super Bowl champion team. Amendola has statistically performed better with Edelman on the field, as the spry running back is able to cause confusion in the backfield, so it will be interesting to see if Amendola can take over the wide receiving corps.

Kansas City possesses an offensive powerhouse in WR Tyreek Hill. Hill made headlines by having the fastest play of 2016 with an 86-yd kick return touchdown against the Denver Broncos in Week 12. Hill will be a constant target for QB Alex Smith and will undoubtedly be a player for the Patriots defense to mark.

If the Chiefs want to win this game, they are going to have to hope the Patriots will turn the ball over. New England’s offense is too strong to stop on a consistent basis, so forcing turnovers will be an objective for the Chiefs defense. The Chiefs forced 33 turnovers last season, making one them one of few teams that could make an impact against the Patriots.

Special teams will be a huge factor in this game, as both teams feature strong outfits. The Chiefs’ Hill averaged 27 yards per kick return. The Patriots made several additions to their special teams unit with Marquis Flowers, Johnson Bademosi and Cassius Marsh, though their exact roles will be unclear until the game begins. You can expect them to target Hill on each return.

Scoring early is a positive for any game, though it is a must if you want to beat New England. The Patriots offense will punish teams who fail to keep up. The fact that this game is in New England and takes place after the Super Bowl LI ceremony is a key component of how this will likely play out. The Chiefs will have to play amidst a fierce home crowd and a team pushing to give them what they want.

Most sportsbooks have the Patriots winning roughly with a -9 point spread at -105 odds, though this figure could vary somewhat depending on the sportsbook at which you are betting. Most fans will bet on the defending champions, and it is easy to see why, but the Chiefs could start the season with an upset. After all, the odds are close. Below you will find some interesting facts on Chiefs @ Patriots to consider when betting (per NFL Netowrk):

• KC has never won a game at NE in Brady era since 2001 (including Playoffs)
• Tom Brady has an 86.4 average passer rating without Julian Edelman since 2014
• Travis Kelce (70.3) & Rob Gronkowski (67.5) were the top 2 TE in receiving YPG in 2016
• NE tied for the fewest giveaways (11) last season while KC had the most takeaways (33)