The Kansas City Chiefs have the unenviable task of opening their 2017 season against the New England Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champions.
Making things even more difficult, the game is in New England and the Patriots will have star quarterback Tom Brady available for the Week 1 matchup, unlike last year when Brady was suspended for the first four games.
However, the Chiefs aren't getting down on themselves, and have a plan for dealing with Brady and the New England passing attack.
According to star linebacker Justin Houston, the Chiefs need to get pressure on Brady and hit him early and often if they're going to have success on Thursday night in the season opener (via Pro Football Talk):
“To hit him,” Houston told reporters on Sunday regarding his strategy for dealing with Tom Brady. “Because the ball comes out so fast, he’s a smart guy. My main thing is the defense, don’t lose confidence in what you got going on because he’s going to make plays — it’s Tom Brady. Just got to stay together through four quarters.”
Obviously, Houston's plan is easier said than done, but the Chiefs need to figure out how to make it a reality if they want to avoid an 0-1 start to the season.
However, it's not just the Chiefs who need to worry. After all, the Patriots are also preparing for a team that made the playoffs in 2016 and has had a string of impressive seasons.
Coach Bill Belichick said preparing for Andy Reid's Chiefs is no easy task (via Patriots.com):
"[They were] 12-4 last year, got a lot of players back," he said. "They’re good at everything – good on offense, can run the ball, can throw it, mobile quarterback, tight end, perimeter, experienced offensive line, you name it. Defensively, [they] don’t give up many points, turn the ball over – two of the most important things in football. Very explosive in their return game, good specialists, real good punter. Obviously, two great returners, two of the top guys in the league on the same team. So, they’re well-coached.
"They present a lot of problems with their offensive and defensive schemes and in the kicking game, so this is a tough team to get ready for. They do so many things well and they put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of different ways."
Fortunately, it's less than a week before NFL fans get to see these two talented squads square off. The winners will be able to feel good about themselves while the losers will have to scramble to avoid an 0-2 start.