Chiefs Travel to New England for Monday Night Football

Sports

November 21st, 2011 by Chris Parks

STATS LLC.- From general manager Scott Pioli and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to injured quarterback Matt Cassel, the Kansas City Chiefs have plenty of connections to the New England Patriots.

On-field success isn’t currently one of them.

Coming off a critical road victory that left them alone atop the AFC East, the Patriots return to Foxborough on Monday night to face a reeling Chiefs team that will have unproven Tyler Palko under center.

As Bill Belichick’s czar of player personnel, Pioli helped build the Patriots (6-3) into a powerhouse last decade before coming to Kansas City in 2009.

Pioli traded for Cassel — who emerged in 2008 with New England after then-Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard ended Tom Brady’s season with a hit to his knee in the season opener — and prior to 2010, hired Crennel, New England’s defensive coordinator during its run of three Super Bowl victories in four seasons.

Cassel had a Pro Bowl season in 2010 and Kansas City rode an improved defense under Crennel to a surprising AFC West title, but a repeat playoff berth is looking unlikely. After bouncing back from an 0-3 start with four straight wins, the Chiefs were outscored 48-13 in consecutive home losses to Miami and Denver.

To make matters worse, Cassel suffered what coach Todd Haley called a “significant” hand injury in last Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Broncos and could miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery Monday.

Palko, who’s thrown 13 NFL passes — 26 fewer than Cassel had when he took over for Brady in 2008 — will be under center for the foreseeable future.

“Tyler is the next in line, and he’s done a terrific job, like I said, of keeping himself ready,” Haley said. “That’s what the No. 2 quarterback has to do, because you don’t know. At a moment’s notice, you could be in there playing, just like any other position.”

Despite having been outscored 157-40 in their losses, the Chiefs (4-5) are still just a game out in the West.

The Patriots, meanwhile, have first place in the East all to themselves — a reality that was tough to imagine after back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh and the New York Giants left them tied with Buffalo and the New York Jets. 

Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.  We will join the broadcast after high school basketball.