The New England Patriots will have two tough tasks when they face the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night. They will have to find a way to deal with the loud noise of Arrowhead Stadium and they will have to find a way to contain the talented running back duo of Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. Although Charles has been limited with a high ankle sprain, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says the team will be ready for both.
On Wednesday, Belichick talked about the talent of both players. Each bring something different to the field and after struggling in Week 1 with Knowshon Moreno, the Patriots have to maintain their discipline and focus on tackling, because if they don’t, either Charles or Davis is capable of taking it to the house.
I think they’re different skill sets, but they do the same things with them so the same plays look different depending on who is carrying the ball,” Belichick said. “Davis is strong, 230 pound or whatever he is. He breaks tackles. He’s got good lower-body strength, hard guy to bring down.”
Charles remains the focus for the Patriots defense despite a slight chance that he will not be able to play on Monday night. The talented running back has accounted for 36.7 percent of Kansas City’s yards from scrimmage in his career with the Chiefs. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork says the team is preparing for Charles and also knows how much of a threat Davis could be even in the absence of Charles. The defensive captain said:
We are preparing like [Charles] is going to play. If he doesn’t play, he doesn’t play. They didn’t miss a beat last week without him, so this is a team that wants to run the football and that’s what they do. They are built to run the ball. They have explosive guys at the skill positions. We have to be able to stop all of them.”
The Patriots have been better against the run the last couple of weeks. They didn’t have to face Adrian Peterson in the game against the Vikings and the Oakland Raiders didn’t have much of a running game. With or without Charles – it appears likely that he will play – the Patriots will be faced with perhaps their biggest challenge of the season against the run. Wilfork knows the team has to be ready.
They both run downhill. They both test the edges. They both catch the ball out of the backfield. They both block,” Wilfork said. “So they are built differently but at the same time they run hard like a big back. The big guy has speed and the small guy has toughness. They are kind of similar when you look at them like that, but Charles, there are not too many guys faster than him. We have to do a real good job up front of playing well in the run game and pass game because they use him so much everywhere on the field.”
Belichick and the Patriots are usually good at taking the opposing team’s best offensive player out of the game. If Charles is not much of a factor, the Patriots should have a good chance to win the game, but they have to also limit explosive plays from players such as Davis and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.