The 2016 NFL playoffs return for the divisional round. The wild card can be entertaining in its wildness, but the divisional round provides a chance for more intriguing, quality football. Although all four road teams advanced, it feels generally like the overall better team advanced in most case. Today we kick things off once again with Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs on the road facing the New England Patriots. The game will air on CBS, with Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts in the announcer booth.
The Chiefs are rolling, having won 11 straight heading into this game. No team has lost five in a row in a season, and then gone on to win 11 in a row. They have won five straight road games during that stretch. They had no trouble with Houston Texans in the wild card round, but Brian Hoyer was a mess in that game. They face a significantly stronger test in the divisional round.
The Patriots lost their final two games to blow home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, but they did manage a bye. And that bye was critical. Julian Edelman should be back on the field. Rob Gronkowski will play through knee and back issues that cost him a practice on Thursday.
The Patriots opened as a five point favorite, and the line has stuck right around there. It slipped down to 4.5-points on Friday, but is back up to five at a lot of sportsbooks on Saturday. I have the Chiefs covering, as I think this could be a really competitive game. I don't know that the Chiefs have enough to win it outright, but they'll hang around.
Chiefs vs. Patriots
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro
When: Saturday, January 16, 1:35 p.m. PT
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Radio: Chiefs Radio Network | Patriots Radio Network
Online Streaming: CBS Sports
Odds: The Patriots opened as five-point favorites, and the line has held steady at most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Chiefs blog: Arrowhead Pride
Patriots blog: Pats Pulpit