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AFC Championship: Mahomes, Chiefs meet again with Brady, Patriots

By
Connor Grott
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks to pass. Mahomes and the Chiefs play the New England Patriots on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks to pass. Mahomes and the Chiefs play the New England Patriots on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The upstart Kansas City Chiefs challenge the reigning AFC champion New England Patriots in a conference title showdown on Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs, led by young gunslinger Patrick Mahomes, reached their first AFC Championship game since the 1993-94 season. New England, guided by the coach-quarterback duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, will play in their eighth consecutive conference championship.

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New England has five Super Bowl wins in the Brady-Belichick era. Kansas City's lone championship in franchise history came in the 1969-70 season, the last time the team made it to the Super Bowl.

Both teams met in Week 6 this season, when the Patriots edged the Chiefs in a 43-40 shootout. Since that game, the Patriots lost wide receiver Josh Gordon due to personal issues, and the Chiefs released Pro Bowl running back Kareem Hunt after off-the-field trouble.

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Kansas City will also return linebacker Justin Houston and standout safety Eric Berry to the field on Sunday after injuries sidelined them in the first meeting.

The Patriots cruise into the AFC title game after handling the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 last weekend. Running back James White tied fellow tailback Darren Sproles' postseason record of 15 catches in a single game in the divisional round victory.

Rookie running back Sony Michel added three rushing scores and 129 yards, forming a potent duo in the Patriots' backfield.

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Kansas City will counter with All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill, running back Damien Williams and star tight end Travis Kelce.

Williams ran 25 times for 129 yards and a score in the Chiefs' 31-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round. Hill had eight catches for 72 yards, and added one rush attempt for 36 yards. Kelce made seven catches for 108 yards.

The Chiefs had 433 total yards of offense against the Colts. The trio of Williams, Kelce and Hill accumulated 345 of those yards.

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Sunday's home game marks the first time Kansas City will host the AFC Championship game. They are 8-1 at home this season with the lone loss coming against the Chargers.

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