Here’s what experts are predicting for Sunday’s Patriots-Chiefs game

Can the Patriots turn it around against Kansas City this Sunday?

New England Patriots running back James White (28) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Patriots running back James White during the second half against the Houston Texans. –Eric Christian Smith/AP Photo

Matt Bahr is only 63 years old.

We’d make a suggestion that the Patriots place a call to Gino Cappelletti to fill their open kicker position this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, but the man is 85 years old.

By comparison, Matt Bahr sounds fine.

When you think about it, the former Patriots kicker is only 17 years older than Adam Vinatieri, the man that replaced him. He’s only 21 years the elder of current Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Couldn’t Bahr manage what Kai Forbath couldn’t last weekend in Houston?

Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. Unless Bill Belichick feels comfortable bringing Mike Nugent back on an emergency basis, why not look toward someone with whom he has a little familiarity? Heck, his last season in New England, Bahr was a perfect 19-for-19 on extra points. Surely, that counts for something.

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Granted, it was 1995, but still. We are talking kickers here. How much can they really age over 24 years?

Cody Paker? Blair Walsh? Barf.

Bring in Matt Bahr and get him on a TB12 diet pronto.

Take that, George Blanda.

This week’s predictions

Joe Giglio, NJ.com: Patriots (-3). “New England is 42-0 vs. AFC teams at home when both Tom Brady and Julian Edelman are in the lineup.”

ESPN staff: Five out of nine pick the Patriots.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 31, Chiefs 27. “This should be a fun rematch of the AFC Championship Game from last January. The Patriots are struggling on offense, but I don’t think that will be the case here. Look for Tom Brady to change that in this one. I think he will outplay Patrick Mahomes as the Patriots win an important game.”

CBS Sports staff: Split (New England -3). Half also pick the Pats straight-up.

Jimmy Kempski, Philly Voice: Patriots (-3). “After losing to the Texans last Sunday night, the Patri*ts need to pull out all the stops against the Chiefs for playoff seeding purposes. It’ll be all hands on deck, from the videographers, to the deflators, to the radio signal tamperers, to the assistants staring down the Chiefs’ warmups, to whatever other competitive advantages the great Patri*ts have been able hide for the last two decades.”

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Michael Hurley, CBS Boston: Chiefs (+3). “I’d feel fine picking the Patriots if they had proven capable of taking advantage of Houston’s terrible defense last week. The fact that they did nothing until garbage time makes me think they won’t be able to capitalize on Kansas City’s defense, which isn’t quite as bad as Houston’s but is nevertheless bad. It’ll really come down to whether or not Patrick Mahomes can avoid being awful in the first half. He was unable to do that twice vs. the Patriots last year, and their defense has only gotten better, so hey, maybe it happens. I just think the Patriots would have won this game in September or October. Given the state of both teams at the moment, it’s kind of hard to not go with the Chiefs.”

Tadd Haislop, Sporting News: Patriots 27, Chiefs 23. “The annual “This Might Be It For Tom Brady And The Patriots Game” arrived later than usual this season, but it came in the form of New England’s loss to Houston last week. Now comes the “Oh, Never Mind; The Patriots Are Fine Game.” The spark Brady and Co. found in garbage time against the Texans could ignite an offense that’s getting healthier and forming its identity. Even at home, New England will need it against Kansas City, because Patrick Mahomes is getting hot again. The rushing attack the Pats have been trying to establish all season should get going against the Chiefs, which should lead to a game flow that minimizes the damage Mahomes can create.”

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Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 31, Chiefs 27. “The Patriots’ offense came to life in the second half against the Texans. That development positions them to play ball control and keep Patrick Mahomes off the field as much as possible. Tom Brady’s ability to get the ball out quickly to intermediate routes will neutralize Kansas City’s pass rush and give its secondary little chance to win battles downfield. Mahomes will try to overcome the Patriots’ sound coverage, but Brady, after finding his groove in Houston, will save his best GOAT stylings for last.”

MassLive staff: Four out of five pick the Patriots. “New England doesn’t lose at home or back to back very often. But this Patriots team is struggling coming in despite their 10-2 record.”

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Patriots 24, Chiefs 20. “Go ahead and write off the Patriots.”

Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Patriots 20, Chiefs 17. “The AFC Championship Game rematch will be a lower-scoring game than it was when these teams met in January, but he result will be the same, the Patriots winning a close one.”

Five Thirty Eight: New England at 63 percent (-4).

Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Patriots 23, Chiefs 22. “It’s disarming how much this matchup has changed since the AFC Championship Game in January. The Chiefs now have a pass defense for the Patriots to worry about, while K.C.’s passing attack has looked vulnerable and disjointed since Patrick Mahomes returned from injury, more reliant on individual magic than ever. A Patriots win would all but guarantee their 10th straight playoff bye. A Patriots loss would signal an 0-3 record against AFC division leaders, all led by young mobile quarterbacks, a changing-of-the-guard narrative so on-the-nose it seems scripted. I give New England a slight edge at home because Bill Belichick built the defense of his dreams specifically to slow this Chiefs team, in this game. (And the next time they play.) Look for the Patriots‘ steadily-improving running game to be the difference. An ugly game favors the home team with the more precise coach, just like it did for Belichick back in the early 2000s, when Andy Reid’s teams were also often falling just short.”

It says here: Patriots 20, Chiefs 15. Please be kind to Tyreek Hill, won’t you?

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