Patriots-Chiefs matchup of the day: Saturday

Posted Nov. 19, 2011 @ 10:08 a.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

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

Chiefs WRs Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston vs. Patriots CBs Kyle Arrington, Antwaun Molden and Phillip Adams

When it comes to one-on-one matchups in this game, this is the only area on the field where the Chiefs have a significant advantage.

If Tyler Palko can get his receivers the ball, that's another story.

Bowe, Baldwin and Breaston each have a unique skill set that should allow them to get open against a very inexperienced group of Patriots corners, a group that heads the league's last-ranked pass defense.

Despite practicing on Saturday, the Patriots' top corner, Devin McCourty, is unlikely to play because of a shoulder injury suffered in last week's win over the Jets. When he left the game, the corners were able to keep Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes in check. 

Bowe is the Chiefs' biggest weapon. His size will create problems and Patriots safeties will need to help on him, especially near the endzone. Arrington, the most experienced of the corners, will have his chances against Bowe. Bowe will have a serious size advantage against Arrington. Breaston, the speedy slot man, will likely go against Adams, a former special-teams player in San Francisco who has been thrust into a more significant role.

Baldwin, the physical rookie who has impressed in his brief time on the NFL gridiron, is expected to go against the Patriots' most physical corner, Molden, who will move from the slot with McCourty out. Molden showed good coverage against the Jets after struggles against the Giants.

If Palko gets time in the pocket and has confidence, he could have success against a vulnerable secondary, especially if his receivers get open. This will be a very good test for the Patriots' cornerbacks.