Boomer Esiason is all-in on the Patriots heading into their AFC championship showdown against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday.
In his weekly interview with “Mut & Callahan,” Esiason explained why he expects the Patriots to prevail in a tight game –– just like they did when the Chiefs came to Foxboro earlier this season.
“It will be close, it will be a good game, but I'm picking the Patriots to win the game. I’m sticking with them,” he said. “I think Belichick and (Brian) Flores and of course Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady will come up with something that will keep this game close and they'll hold onto the ball a little bit more. I think it will come down to the fourth quarter. It's the dream matchup we wanted at CBS, we got it, and the fact that it's Brady and Belichick, McDaniels and Flores, going up on the road against Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid makes it a really enticing matchup.”
Defending presumed NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes will be a big challenge, and Esiason concedes the Patriots will probably allow multiple big plays to the dynamic Kansas City offense. The New England defensive backs will have to ensure the action stays in front of them, and Esiason says he thinks they’re up to the task.
“I think we're all floored at how well (Mahomes) played in every big game,” Esiason said. “He hasn't had a bad game, he really hasn't. Even in the game where he didn't throw a touchdown and threw two interceptions, it was against Jacksonville earlier in the year. You guys know how tough Jacksonville was. But they still won that game. He is the engine that makes the whole thing work. His ability to move out of the pocket puts pressure on the defensive backs down the field, so Stephon Gilmore, the McCourty brothers, all of those guys down the field better not drop their guys.”
As we all know, Tom Brady chewed up the Chargers’ Cover 3 defense Sunday, completing 34-of-44 passes. While the Chiefs will likely play a more aggressive man coverage, as they did in their convincing victory over the Colts, Esiason says he believes the Patriots are tough and physical enough to win.
“Bob Sutton had his best game last week as defensive coordinator of the Chiefs,” Esiason explained. “They did play a lot of man. I thought when you watch that game, you could see the Indianapolis receivers had a hard time getting away from the secondary. This is definitely a bigger team than they just played –– their defensive line is bigger, they have bigger linebackers. This is not going to be a game in which you see seven defensive backs on the field. This will be more of a conventional style of defense, you'll see a lot more man coverage in this game. Then it really comes down to the receivers winning their battles. Hopefully Cannon and Brown can have the same type of games they had yesterday, and limit Dee Ford and (Chris) Jones and these pass-rushers they have out there. This is the Arrowhead defense. When they're at home, in that environment with bad weather, the long-range forecast looks like it's going to be cold again. But this is the Patriots. This is a team that's battle-tested. After the game, judging by what Tom said, he thinks nobody is going to pick the Patriots to win the game in Kansas City.
That is, except Esiason. Let the countdown to Brady’s ninth career Super Bowl appearance commence.