FOXBORO -- The Patriots know they have a huge challenge Sunday night in Kansas City against the Chiefs in the AFC championship game.
The Chiefs are the No. 1 seed and come into the game with the best offense in football, averaging 35.3 points per game in the regular season, and 37.5 points per game in their losses. Going up against Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, the Patriots defense will need to play close to perfect to keep them in check.
New England beat the Chiefs, 43-40, in Week 6 at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots played a great first half, but allowed 31 points in the second half on just 22 offensive plays. The unit knows it will need to be better this week.
"We can’t have anybody that has a bad game Sunday," safety Devin McCourty said. "Like it’s that time of the year where we all need to kind of play our best football and that’s the teams that win – when you get all 11 guys out there on the same page playing good football, and that’s what we’ll need to do Sunday."
It appears the message this week is to do as much prep as possible because in the end they will need it, and coming away with a win will make it all worth it.
"I think just walking in here today, seeing the background, you don’t know if this will happen every year and it kind of seems crazy because we say it every time we get this opportunity, but it’s a special thing to be able to play in this game," McCourty said. "Especially because it’s the one game back in April that every team wants to be playing in, every team in the AFC wants to be in this game and it comes down to us and Kansas City. Bill [Belichick] said it all week, 'We won’t regret putting a lot into this.' So I think that’s the approach guys are taking, just giving it everything they have this week as far as film study, staying late, getting their body ready, just doing anything possible to try to play their best and I think that’s the right approach to have this week."
It isn't just on the defensive side of the ball, either.
“This is not the week to have less than our best,” Tom Brady said. “It’s a tough game. It’s a tough challenge. It’s tough to beat the No. 1 seed on the road. That’s the reality. It’s like we’re tough to beat at home when we’re the No. 1 seed. It takes a lot. It takes a lot of good football. It takes a great complementary game. All three phases have to be on point. We’re going against a team that scores a lot of points. They lead the league in sacks, strip sacks.
“That’s a good group, and I think everybody at every position has to play well. That’s what championship games are all about. These aren’t just handed to you on a silver platter — here you go; here’s your trip to the Super Bowl. You’ve got to go fight them out. We’ve been in a lot of games that came down right to the end.”
The Patriots and Chiefs will kickoff Sunday night at 6:40 p.m. for the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.