FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In describing what he's seen from the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015, Bill Belichick pointed to their 30-0 victory over the Houston Texans in the wild-card round of the playoffs as an accurate snapshot from their 11-game winning streak.
"Typical Kansas City game -- a lot of turnovers on defense, no turnovers on offense, capitalized on opponents’ mistakes and didn’t make any," he said. "They’ve won a lot of games pretty much doing that."
As Patriots players return to work Monday for their first of four practices leading into Saturday's divisional-round playoff game, here are some things that stand out with the Chiefs:
Five Pro Bowlers: Safety Eric Berry, cornerback Marcus Peters, tight end Travis Kelce, and linebacker/defensive ends Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were named to the Pro Bowl. Of the group, Berry was also named to the Associated Press All-Pro first team.
No. 3 scoring defense: Allowing an average of 17.9 points per game, the Chiefs ranked third in the NFL over the course of the regular season.
Turnover differential in their favor: With a plus-14 turnover differential during the regular season, they ranked second in the NFL (29 takeaways, 15 giveaways). The 29 takeaways were the fourth highest total of any team.
Smith as a rusher: Accounting for quarterback Alex Smith as a rusher will be important, as his 498 yards on 84 carries (5.9 avg.) ranked second on the team and fourth among NFL quarterbacks. Only Carolina's Cam Newton (636), Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor (568) and Seattle's Russell Wilson (553) totaled more.
Peters an excellent 'pick': Just as the Patriots have an up-and-coming cornerback in second-year player Malcolm Butler, the Chiefs have to feel good about Peters, their first-round pick out of Washington (18th overall). Peters tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions.
Smith sacked 45 times: In part because his athletic ability leads him to scramble, Smith was sacked 45 times this season, ranking Kansas City 29th in sacks per pass play.
When winning the toss, they defer: While one might think the Chiefs would take the ball when winning the opening toss due to head coach Andy Reid's offensive background, that hasn't been the case. The Chiefs have consistently deferred when winning the opening toss.
Week 9 bye week: Unlike the Patriots, who had the earliest bye possible in Week 4, the Chiefs' bye was better positioned in Week 9.
Offensive coordinator on head-coaching radar: Doug Pederson, in his third season as Chiefs offensive coordinator, interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday for their head coaching position. Their special teams coordinator Dave Toub had been in the interview mix in past years, but his candidacy seems to have simmered since.