Patriots-Chiefs matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Nov. 16, 2011 @ 1:51 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a key matchup to watch in the Week 11 game between the Patriots and Chiefs:

Patriots pass rush vs. Chiefs offensive line

Thanks to Andre Carter, the Patriots' pass rush came alive in their Week 10 win over the Jets. Carter has been far and away the team's best free-agent acquisition. He recorded 4½ sacks on Sunday night and has nine on the season, in addition to 17 QB hits.

What was most impressive about Carter's night was that he got a couple of his sacks going against Pro Bowl OLT D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Carter also had some help on a sack from pass-rush specialist Mark Anderson, who is second on the team with five sacks.

The Chiefs' O-line has been miserable in their last two games, both losses. It has allowed nine sacks and 21 QB hits in those two games combined.

The Patriots already have a big advantage when it comes to pass defense in this Monday-night game, as the Chiefs will be starting backup Tyler Palko at quarterback. But as we have seen with the Patriots this season, if opposing quarterbacks have time, they can carve up New England's secondary. Palko has a trio of talented receivers, Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston, that all can win one-on-one battles with Patriots cornerbacks. Even Palko can take advantage of that if he has time to throw.

Carter should be able to wreak havoc against the Chiefs' O-line, but if they double-team him and focus on keeping him out of the backfield, another pass rusher will need to step up. Anderson, Rob Ninkovich and Shaun Ellis should be ready to get after Palko if the Chiefs can neutralize Carter.