The Patriots know they're going to host a football game on January 11. They don't know who they're going to play yet.
It'll be Cincinnati, Indianapolis, or Kansas City.
Tom E. Curran breaks down each possible opponent with Mike Giardi on SportsNet Central.
First up, the Chiefs.
"I think they're a problem because defensively they have a lot of talent," Curran said.
Curran lists LB Justin Houston, DT Dontari Poe, S Eric Berry, LB Tamba Hali as key players on defense. But they also have a couple weapons on offense.
"Offensively they have Jamal Charles who along with LeSean McCoy are two of the best running backs in the league," Curran said. "And Alex Smith, people call him a caretaker quarterback. There's no such thing as a bad caretaker. If you take care when you play the position, that's outstanding."
But the Chiefs will have to beat the Colts in Indianapolis to get a shot at the Patriots. Mike Giardi thinks the networks would love to have Andrew Luck make his way to New England, but Curran is quick to say it wouldn't end well for the Colts if he did.
"I think [the networks] would, but the last time the networks had that matchup, the Colts got the puss beat out of them 59-21," Curran said, "so I think that that would be a likely result again, even though that Robert Mathis is one of the defensive player of the year candidates. I think that the inconsistencies of the Indianapolis Colts, beating Denver for instance on a Sunday night and yet having so many flat performances in December, hints to me that they are not yet ready to make the leap."
Lastly, Cincinnati, the No. 3 seed, and team the Patriots will play if they win and the Colts win.
"Much different team now then it was previously," Curran said of Cincy.
"But the biggest concern for Cincinnati is the Patriots played good defense for them that game. But they have somebody that's developed in Marvin Jones on the outside as a wide receiver and a complement to A.J. Green."
They also have Andy Dalton, who is not the least bit consistent at QB for the Bengals.
Curran says in the end that the Colts are the team the Patriots should want to play on Jan. 11.