Chiefs and Rams risk unbeaten starts
Kansas City’s Mahomes takes on New England QB Brady, LA hope to continue hot run at Denver
>> LOS ANGELES: Undefeated Kansas City will visit Tom Brady and the New England Patriots tomorrow morning, Thai time, while the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams travel to Denver for another week six NFL contest.
The last remaining clubs with a chance at a perfect campaign aim for 6-0 starts, with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes having made only six career NFL starts while 41-yearold Patriots star passer Brady has won five Super Bowls in eight appearances.
“He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks if not the greatest to ever play. It’s going to be a great opportunity,” said 23-year-old Mahomes, whose father Pat was a Major League Baseball pitcher.
“Just to compete against one of the best teams in the league is going to be an awesome opportunity. You want to play against the best.”
Mahomes has thrown for 1,797 yards and 14 touchdowns while tossing only two interceptions, but he knows the Patriots defenders will be trying to throw the second-year standout off his game.
“The mentality we’ve had this entire season is that whoever is open, give them the ball and let them make the play — going to help us out a ton,” said Mahomes who steered the Chiefs to a 30-14 win over the Jaguars last week.
“They are going to do some stuff to try to confuse me, but I am going to try to maintain our game plan and keep working.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, going for his 200th NFL victory, knows his Patriots counterpart, Bill Belichick, is famous for versatile and adaptable defensive schemes.
“He mixes and matches. He can change up and give you a completely different look,” Reid said. “Preparation becomes important so when you look at a route, you make sure you’ve got it down at least mentally versus all the looks you might face.”
Mahomes is a threat scrambling or in the pocket, a factor the Patriots (3-2) will try to limit.
“We just want to keep him in the pocket,” Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers said. “We’ll just try to contain him, get some pressure up the middle. We’ve got to be disciplined in the early downs and make them as uncomfortable as possible.”
The Rams have not started a season 6-0 since 2001 but will try to match that run with a victory at Denver, where the Broncos (2-3) will stick with former Rams quarterback Case Keenum.
Denver boast a tough two-back running attack that ranks fifth in the NFL with 137 rush yards a game behind rookies Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman while the Rams have the league’s fourth-worst run defence, surrendering five yards a carry.
“What we’re encouraged about as you watch it as a staff are they’re very fixable things,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “I think our players will respond the right way. For us as coaches, that’s the beauty of this is being able to look at the film, correct and you move forward.”
There’s little to change with the Rams’ attack, with Jared Goff completing 120 of 166 passes for 1,727 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods each above 400 reception yards for the season, on top of Todd Gurley’s rushing threat.
Cooks and Kupp are both questionable as they work through the NFL concussion protocol but McVay likes their chances to play. “Everything is good, no setbacks,” he said. “They are progressing in the right direction.”
Arizona at Minnesota, Carolina at Washington, Chicago at Miami, Indianapolis at Jets, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Seattle at Oakland (London), Buffalo at Houston, Chargers at Cleveland, Tampa Bay at Atlanta, Rams at Denver, Baltimore at Tennessee, Jacksonville at Dallas, Kansas City at New England
San Francisco at Green Bay
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, left, throws a pass against the Jaguars last Sunday.