Pats Forcing Turnovers A Positive Sign With Chiefs Up Next

Pats Forcing Turnovers A Positive Sign With Chiefs Up Next

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.: The Patriots thrived last season when their defense was finding ways to take the ball away from opponents.

It did that against the Raiders in Sundays 36-20 win by forcing three turnovers, including one that was recovered in the end zone by Deatrich Wise Jr. for a touchdown. It also dominated on third down and in the red zone against a Las Vegas offense that was among the leagues most efficient in both categories.

Theyre all positive signs as New England (2-1) shifts its attention to a looming road matchup with defending champion Kansas City.

Theyre a good team. A lot of people have them circled on their schedule as a big opponent from the beginning of the year, cornerback Jonathan Jones said. They kind of have that mentality of teams that, year after year, you know youre going to have a tough game on your schedule.

New Englands defense had all kinds of problems trying to contain Seattles Russell Wilson in Week 2s loss and will have just as big a challenge against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Heading into Monday nights matchup with Baltimore the reigning Super Bowl MVP had completed 65% of his passes for 513 yards, five TDs and no interceptions in Kansas Citys first two games.

How much success the Patriots have against him will likely depend on how much pressure they are able to get on him. That will demand peak efforts from not only the defensive line but the secondary as well, safety Devin McCourty said.

“Theres no good pass rush without a good secondary, he said. Well have a huge test next week with Mahomes ability to buy some extra time and them having a lot of skill players who can either go deep or do a great job underneath. Guys like (Travis) Kelce and Tyreek Hills a guy that whether hes going vertical or horizontal, and (Mecole) Hardman the same thing.

So, well have our hands full going into next week and well have to really continue that pass rushing coverage, marrying it up.

WHATS WORKING

The Patriots had their third straight game without an offensive penalty. New England entered as the least penalized team in the NFL with just five penalties and now have just seven total on the season.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The offense struggled on third down, converting on a season-low three of 11 attempts (27%). The Patriots converted on 54.5% of their chances through their first two games, ranking third in the NFL. After Sundays performance, they are now 15 of 33 on the season (46%), dropping them to 11th.

STOCK UP

Sony Michel. After rushing for just 56 yards over the first two games, Michel had 117 on nine carries Sunday. Its a welcomed sign for him coming off offseason foot surgery.

STOCK DOWN

Cam Newton. The quarterback had his worst performance of the young season. He completed a season-low 61% of his passes for 162 yards, a touchdown and interception. He also ran for a season-low 27 yards on nine carries.

SCHEDULE CHANGE

The Patriots Oct. 11 home matchup with the Broncos has been changed from a 1 p.m. kickoff to 4:25 p.m.

INJURIES

The Patriots played without center David Andrews after he was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a hand injury. Joe Thuney shifted over from left guard to start in his place. Rookie Michael Onwenu started in Thuneys normal spot and both seemed to perform well. This will likely remain the alignment while Andrews is out.

KEY NUMBER

2 With a 2-yard rush in the first quarter against the Raiders, Newton passed Randall Cunningham (4,928) for the second-most career yards rushing by a quarterback in NFL history. Newton ran for 27 on Sunday and now has 4,955 for his career. Michael Vick is first with 6,109 yards.

NEXT STEPS

Mahomes picked up his first win against the Patriots last season in Foxborough, holding on for a 23-16 victory. Sundays matchup will be in Kansas City, where Mahomes is 0-2 against New England, including a 37-31 overtime loss in the 2018 AFC championship game.

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