Out with the old and in with the new?

This Sunday’s AFC Championship Game featuring the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs is fascinating for so many reasons, but the most intriguing storyline centers on whether Patrick Mahomes can usurp Tom Brady in a battle between the likely NFL MVP and the greatest quarterback of all time.

The Chiefs, while perennial playoff contenders, are the new kids in town, whereas the Patriots have had the AFC in a stranglehold for the better part of two decades. Mahomes’ emergence coupled with Brady’s regression — however slight it is — could be enough to put Kansas City over the top.

That said, it’s usually dumb to doubt Brady and the Patriots. And Colin Cowherd on Thursday pointed out a huge difference between New England and Kansas City that could work in the Patriots’ favor.

Basically, Cowherd argues, the Chiefs haven’t learned how to close out games against tough competition yet, whereas the Patriots typically rise to the occasion.

While the Patriots had some hiccups this season, including double-digit losses to subpar competition (Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans), they still took care of business against eventual playoff teams, and their victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round last week marked New England’s best all-around performance to date.

One could argue the Chiefs are far more talented than the Patriots, even at the quarterback position, which Brady has mastered over the past 19 years. But the Patriots have been there and done that against the best. The Chiefs must prove they’re capable of the same.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images