By Fred Liggett
Lots of talk about rodeos this week as the AFC Championship game gets closer to being played between the New England Patriots and host Kansas City Chiefs. The reason for that is the Patriots will be playing Sunday in their eighth straight AFC championship game, the Chiefs will be playing in their first one since 1994. All week long media attention has centered on the veteran-laden Patriot team who has been here before compared to the Chiefs youth who will be on this big stage for the first time.
Both the Patriots and Chiefs advanced to the championship game last week in wins that came easier than predicted. The Patriots held a commanding lead over the LA Chargers most of the game before winning 41-28. The Chiefs went up 17-0 on the visiting Colts when the visitors finally scored and it was a special teams play that did the trick. Chiefs went on to win 31-13 and advance to the team’s first AFC championship game to be played at Arrowhead Stadium. The stadium opened in time for the 1972 season and the Chiefs last appearance in the AFC Championship game came in January 1994 when it was played in Buffalo.
Having the Chiefs play the Patriots for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIII is not a surprise to many NFL followers. Back on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 the two teams met in Foxboro, MA where the Patriots outlasted the Chiefs 43-40 in a Sunday Night national TV game. The time was week six of the NFL season and the Chiefs suffered their first defeat on the season. The Chiefs made national attention on the way the team nearly overcame a 24-9 halftime deficit to beat the Patriots on their home field. This field known as Gillette Field has played host to the AFC championship game a number of times where opponents have left frustrated and defeated.
Heading into this much talked about rematch the two teams are healthy as the Patriots only list one reserve on their injury report. The Chiefs saw All Pro S Eric Berry return to practice and OL Laurent Duvarney-Tardif return from the injured reserve list. Having both teams this late in the season playing so well and healthy is a good sign for an entertaining game to be played in KC.
Soon after kick off expect to hear names like Brady, Gronkowski, Edelman and Michel for the Patriots. Then the names of Mahomes, Hill, Kelce and Williams for the Chiefs. This championship game might serve as just another rodeo for the Patriots to be involved in but at the end of the day home field advantage will be the difference as it’s the Chiefs who will rope up another opponent on their way to Super Bowl LIII. That’s What I REID Into It for this week.
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