The Patriots (10-2) and Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) are set to meet Sunday at 4:25 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in a game that could shape the landscape of the AFC playoff picture.
Both of their matchups last year – one in the playoffs and one in the regular season – were instant classics, and several other meetings in recent memory have also been entertaining.
There’s been no shortage of offense, either, as they’ve averaged a combined 64 points per game in the last five battles.
With the Patriots’ dominance on defense and struggles on offense lately, the consensus is that this game could be low-scoring. If it is, it will be unlike any head-to-head clashes since 2011.
The Chiefs lead the all-time series, 18-16-3, but the Patriots have had the slight edge this decade. Here’s a look back at the last five meetings, which feature three Patriots wins, one overtime thriller, and a whole lot of points (322 to be exact).
Jan. 20, 2019: Patriots 37, Chiefs 31 (OT)
When Patriots fans reminisce about the glory days years from now, one game that will stand out is last year’s Patriots-Chiefs AFC Championship Game, which New England won, 37-31, in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium.
Rex Burkhead’s 2-yard touchdown run with 4:52 left in OT was one of many lasting images, as the game featured four lead changes in the fourth quarter alone.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 21, 2019
The Patriots dominated statistically, racking up 524 net yards, compared to 290 for the Chiefs, and registering 36 first downs while Kansas City picked up 18. It wasn’t that easy, however.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs were plucky, and they rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit to take a 28-24 edge with 2:03 left in the fourth. Burkhead scored from 4 yards out with 39 seconds left, Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker nailed a 39-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining, and the Patriots found a way in OT.
“Overtime, on the road against a great team, they had no quit. Neither did we,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told reporters at the time. “We played our best football at the end. I don’t know, man, I’m tired. That was a hell of a game.”
New England ultimately beat the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3, in the Super Bowl, capturing its sixth Super Bowl title.
Oct. 14, 2018: Patriots 43, Chiefs 40
There’s always naturally a great deal of hype heading into the AFC Championship Game, but last year, it was magnified because of what happened when the teams met in the regular season.
The nuances of how the games unfolded were different, but the overall trends were quite similar. In the regular-season meeting, the Patriots jumped ahead, 24-9, at halftime. The Chiefs stormed back to lead, 33-30, with 8:38 remaining, then Brady scored from 4 yards out to put New England back in front.
Video: A day later, Rob Gronkowski recaps Patriots-Chiefs by saying it was a great game to be a part of — in part due to the atmosphere created by fans. pic.twitter.com/pFryrhpix0
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 15, 2018
Stephen Gostkowski added a 50-yard field goal, Tyreek Hill scored a 75-yard TD to tie it up, then Gostkowski drilled a 28-yarder as time expired to lift the Patriots past the MVP Mahomes and Co.
The Patriots had an answer every time the Chiefs responded.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit early, and you can’t do that against a good football team,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters.
Sept. 7, 2017: Chiefs 42, Patriots 27
This one doesn’t elicit quite as fond memories for Patriots fans.
Chiefs QB Alex Smith turned in one of the best games of his career, finishing 28 for 35 for 368 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Brady was 16 of 36 for 267 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions, and the Chiefs held Rob Gronkowski to two catches for 33 yards and no TDs.
New England led, 21-17, at halftime, and 27-21, through three, but Kansas City ripped off 21 unanswered in the fourth to stun the Foxborough crowd in the season opener. Mike Gillislee’s three-touchdown performance was for naught, as the Patriots struggled in crunch time.
“We’re going to enjoy the heck out of it,” Reid said afterward.
The fans did manage to have some fun, as many vehemently booed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and sported clothing and towels with his face that featured a clown nose.
New England finished the regular season 13-3, beat the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs, then lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Jan. 16, 2016: Patriots 27, Chiefs 20
The Brady to Gronkowski connection was on full display in this one, as the star tight end posted seven catches for 83 yards and two TDs to guide the Patriots to a win in the AFC Divisional round.
It wasn’t quite as close as the score indicates, as New England led 21-6 in the third and 27-13 with under two minutes left in the game before a late Kansas City TD. Remember Steven Jackson? He was the Patriots’ leading rusher, but he finished with only six carries for 16 yards.
Brady rushed for a touchdown, and otherwise, it was just about all passing. He racked up 302 yards on 42 attempts, and it was enough to help the Patriots advance to their fifth straight AFC title game.
— NFL (@NFL) January 16, 2016
“The chemistry was clicking tonight,” Gronkowski said.
They then lost to the Denver Broncos, marking the only time they haven’t made the Super Bowl in the last five seasons.
Sept. 29, 2014: Chiefs 41, Patriots 14
The Chiefs walloped the Patriots on Monday Night Football, handing them one of their worst losses in the Brady-Bill Belichick era.
Kansas City led, 17-0, at halftime, 27-7 after three, and scored 14 unanswered after New England sliced the margin to 27-14 midway through the fourth quarter. Jamaal Charles scored three times for the Chiefs.
Brady threw two picks before Jimmy Garoppolo came in and was 6 of 7 for 70 yards and a TD. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen led the Patriots in rushing, and Brandon LaFell added six carries for 119 yards and a score, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
“Let’s face it, they’re not good anymore. They’re weak,” ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said after the game.