Without an ounce of hype necessary, this is the biggest pro football game to ever take place in Kansas City, because the Chiefs have never played host to either an AFC Championship or AFL title game in the franchise’s 59-season, two-city history. That’s a lot of pressure and I can’t wait to see how Andy Reid’s team responds to the size of the stage and the weight of expectation, because Kansas City’s existence is dotted with epic cases of postseason underachievement.
Not that Patrick Mahomes is responsible for any of that, and the second-year quarterback and likely league MVP is the Chiefs’ best hope of turning a completely new page in what promises to be a frigid setting at raucous Arrowhead Stadium. The Patriots haven’t won a road playoff game since the 2006 Divisional round at San Diego, and last earned a Super Bowl berth away from Foxboro in Pittsburgh in the 2004 AFC title game. New England is a three-point underdog, and apparently loving it. It’s been since late November 2014 that the Patriots haven’t worn the favorite’s label in a game, and their hope is that adds the extra motivational fuel needed to secure the ninth Super Bowl berth of the Belichick-Brady era. With big-game experience and superb coaching schemes providing their most obvious edge, some how, some way, I expect it to once again be New England’s day.