Patriots To Open Campaign With Victory

The 2017 NFL season kicks off on Thursday night when the New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

Bill Belichick’s men return to competitive action for the first time since lifting the Vince Lombardi trophy following their miraculous comeback over the Atlanta Falcons.

The Patriots are aiming to become the first team since they achieved the feat in the 2004 season to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

The club have done their utmost to stock their roster with talent, with the additions of Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore. Both players will be desperate to make an impact on their home bows.

The Chiefs have talent of their own in the form of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. However, their main off-season splash quarterback Patrick Mahomes will watch from the sidelines as Alex Smith continues to start.

Kansas City face a challenge to defeat the Patriots on the road, with their last trip to Foxborough ending in defeat in the 2015 Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Andy Reid will know that only a flawless performance will be good enough to kickstart their campaign with a victory.

We’ll now look at both sides ahead of the contest and break down the betting odds.

New England Patriots

Brady will be on form from the off

Credit: Getty Images

The Patriots will be aiming to win their 10th opening-day fixture in 11 attempts when they face off against the Chiefs. Belichick’s men have only lost once since 2007 in their first match of the campaign, suffering a 31-20 defeat to the Miami Dolphins in the 2014 term.

Even without the presence of Tom Brady last season, the Patriots were able to defeat the Arizona Cardinals on the road. Jimmy Garoppolo filled the void as the 40-year-old served the first match of his suspension, guiding the club to a 23-21 win at University of Phoenix Stadium.

New England received a blow during their third pre-season match when Julian Edelman tore his ACL, ruling him out of the term. That could knock their rhythm early in the campaign, especially against the Chiefs. Brady has a great deal of trust in one of his closest friends and losing him will not be easy to overcome.

Fortunately for the Patriots they acquired Cooks in the off-season. He has the potential to be even better than Edelman and will be determined to hit the ground running. Building an early rapport with Brady will be key and a strong performance against the Chiefs will settle the nerves.

Rob Gronkowski’s return from injury will be huge. He has taken a new approach to fitness this season after failing to finish three of his seven NFL seasons. The 28-year-old will want to start on the front foot in a term where he can enhance his Hall of Fame credentials.

Defensively the club have lost veteran presence as Logan Ryan, Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard left through free agency. Rob Ninkovich retired, leaving 24-year-old Trey Flowers as the senior figure at pass-rusher. In the secondary the arrival of Gilmore should secure the back end, giving the Patriots another solid defense.

Kansas City Chiefs

Smith will have to raise his game

The Chiefs looked to the future by selecting quarterback Mahomes in the first round of the 2017 Draft. The 21-year-old has impressed during pre-season, but Smith looks to be holding on to the starting job for now. The veteran will lead the offense against the Patriots, without a couple of key faces from last term.

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was released due to his high salary cap number, while running back Spencer Ware was ruled out for the term with a serious knee injury. Both players were vital for the club’s fortunes in the 2016 campaign when Reid’s men reached the playoffs, with the number two seed in the AFC.

Travis Kelce was named a First-Team All-Pro at tight end last season. Expect him to maintain his excellence on the field, while Tyreek Hill is an emerging star. The Chiefs will be pinning their hopes of Hill to become a standout at wide receiver, building off his outstanding rookie season.

Rookie Kareem Hunt will carry the load at running back following Ware’s injury. The 22-year-old impressed during his three years in the college game with Toledo. The Chiefs selected him in the third round of the 2017 Draft and he will have to rise to the occasion beginning in New England.

Defensively, veteran linebacker Tamba Hali was disgruntled with his situation over the summer. He begins the season on PUP, leaving Justin Houston and Dee Ford at pass-rusher. Eric Berry and Marcus Peters are the stars in the secondary, but the Chiefs are lacking in depth, which could be exposed by Brady.

Betting Options

The Patriots are imperious at home, especially on the opening day of the season. They defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in their last home opener after winning Super Bowl XLIX by seven points.

Their last clash against the Chiefs came in the Divisional Round of the 2015 Playoffs where they edged out Reid’s men 27-20 in Foxborough.

However, in their last regular-season meeting, Kansas City crushed the Patriots 41-14 at Arrowhead Stadium. The result led pundits to believe that New England’s dynasty was over, only to be silenced by their response to the humiliating loss.

The two coaches involved in this contest are the most winningest active coaches in the NFL, boasting over 400 wins between them. As a result, it should be an enthralling battle with each determined to kick start their campaigns with a statement win over a serious rival.

Certain players will be desperate to set the tone. None more so than Gronkowski in his first match since November. Back him at odds of +600   with SkyBet to score the first touchdown of the 2017 NFL season.

The Patriots should come out firing with their new offense. They looked in imperious form even without Edelman in their third pre-season game against the Detroit Lions. As a result, back them at odds of -110 with PaddyPower to score over 30 points against the Chiefs.

Expect the game to be closely-fought as Reid will have a few tricks up his sleeve. That might be enough to put points on the board, so take the Chiefs to cover the +6.5 spread at +130   with Winner Sports.

However, it’s tough to look beyond the Patriots to claim the win, with odds of -400   at TopBet sportsbook.

Tips Summary

New England Patriots To Beat Kansas City Chiefs
Thursday 7th September 2017 8:30 ET (Friday 8th September 2017 1:30 BST)
Odds: -400

Kansas City Chiefs To Cover +6.5 Spread
Thursday 7th September 2017 8:30 ET (Friday 8th September 2017 1:30 BST)
Odds: +130

New England Patriots To Score Over 30 Points
Thursday 7th September 2017 8:30 ET (Friday 8th September 2017 1:30 BST)
Odds: -110

Rob Gronkowski To Score Opening Touchdown
Thursday 7th September 2017 8:30 ET (Friday 8th September 2017 1:30 BST)
Odds: +600

Alex Smith
Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots
Tom Brady

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