The New England Patriots already were faced with a stiff challenge in Week 4.
Now, they’re tasked with battling the reigning Super Bowl champions on the road, on an adjusted schedule and without arguably the best offensive player.
The Patriots’ tilt with the Chiefs has been moved to Monday after both AFC powerhouses had a player test positive for COVID-19 in recent days. New England’s positive test was much more noteworthy, as Cam Newton will be out for a to-be-determined amount of time after contracting the virus.
Newton’s absence prompted changes to both New England’s quarterback situation and the betting line for the Patriots-Chiefs. New England, which originally was a seven-point underdog at Arrowhead Stadium, now is being given 11 points by the sportsbooks, per consensus data.
It’s been quite some time since the Patriots were such a heavy betting underdog.
Despite the large spread, bettors still might be inclined to roll with Patrick Mahomes and Co. on Monday. Brian Hoyer has plenty of familiarity with the Patriots’ system, but he doesn’t exactly inspire a ton of optimism for New England’s chances in Kansas City.
That said, Hoyer might not have much on his plate in Week 4. The Patriots are coming off a 250-yard rushing performance, and their running back group could be at full strength Monday. James White is expected to return following a two-game absence and Damien Harris, who started the season on injured reserve, is eligible to be promoted to the 53-man roster and make his 2020 debut against the Chiefs.
As such, taking the Patriots and the points might not be the worst play.