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Matchups to Watch Opening Night – Chiefs at Patriots

Alex Smith
(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

The Kansas City Chiefs are in Boston ready to take on the New England Patriots in the kickoff game of the NFL season. Kansas City has a lot to prove taking on the defending NFL champions at home on opening night. When the ball is kicked off at Gillette Stadium there will be plenty of players to watch and coaches to second guess. I’m going to give you an inside look at the match-ups that could make or break this game.

Alex Smith vs. Patriots Secondary

Alex Smith has a lot to prove headed into this season. The Chiefs made it very obvious that they felt they needed to upgrade the quarterback position this off-season. Andy Reid trusts Alex to make the right calls at the line of scrimmage and to take care of the ball. He can still be that player but he also has to push it this year.

This season we Reid is going to be pushed to make changes at QB because of the stellar play of Mahomes in the preseason. Alex knows the offense and can read the defenses coming at him but the question with him is will he take the shots needed. This is the type of game where he must step up his game for the Chiefs to win. Belichick is going to try to take away Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill and probably play eight in the box as well. Smith has to show he willing to push the ball to be successful.

Travis Kelce vs. Patriots Linebackers and Safeties

Kelce will more than likely be bracketed throughout the game. Kelce has shown he can get away from being double teamed. He still needs to prove that he is the best tight end in the NFL with his performance on Thursday night. Kelce’s ability to get open and create mismatches for the rest of the offense needs to be what is being talked about Friday morning after a Chiefs victory. The Patriots will try to jam him at the line of scrimmage. He will have underneath coverage and someone over the top as well but Kelce needs to find the soft spots.

A look at this weeks news for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kareem Hunt vs. Patriots Linebackers

Kareem Hunt becomes critical to the Chiefs success this season with the injury to Spencer Ware. He has to show that this game is not to big for him. He also needs to show the balance and vision that made him successful in the preseason. Hunt left a couple of plays on the field during the preseason but he has a lot of potential to help this team. He needs to consistently move the chains and pick up blitzes for the Chiefs to have a much better offensive combination.

Marcus Peters vs. Patriots Wide Receivers

Normally you’d expect that it would be the other corners for KC that I would question. The key here for this game is to make sure that Marcus Peters locks down his guy. If he can do that consistently without much help defending the Patriots becomes much easier. Then Bob Sutton can shift the defense to help the other corners and send players from other positions to create pressure on Tom Brady.

Eric Berry vs Rob Gronkowski

Eric Berry has to be on his “A” game all night tonight against the Patriots. With Ron Parker questionable, Berry’s presence is even more important. Berry has to be able to come up and keep Gronkowski from having a huge game. Gronk is going to make some plays. It’s going to happen. The most important thing is that they limit the productivity of Gronk overall. If they can make Brady look elsewhere it will buy the defense the time they need to get pressure.

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Chris started covering the Chiefs four years ago. Since then he started the Check With Me podcast with co-host Ryan Tracy. During training camp in 2016 Chris & Ryan were asked to host the Locked on Chiefs podcast. Follow @ChrisClarkNFL for more Chiefs and NFL coverage.

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