Winning on the road in the NFL playoffs is difficult, and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City is among the toughest venues for an opposing team to leave with a win.
This is the feat the New England Patriots must accomplish Sunday when they play Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. Tom Brady and the Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 in Week 6, but that game was in New England. The last time Brady played at Arrowhead he was benched during a 41-14 loss in Week 4 of the 2014 season.
The Patriots not only will be battling the frigid cold and a raucous Chiefs crowd at Arrowhead -- history also isn't on New England's side. Here's how road teams have fared in recent conference championship games.
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Recent history won't be on the Patriots' side next weekend. Road teams are 0-10 in conference title games in the last five years. Last away teams to advance were the Ravens and Niners in 2012. — Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) January 14, 2019
The Patriots have accounted for two of these 10 losses -- both coming in Denver to Peyton Manning's Broncos in 2013 and 2015. The Pats have lost their last three AFC title games on the road dating back to the blown 21-3 lead against Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in 2006. The Patriots also own a less-than-stellar 3-11-1 record all-time in Kansas City.
New England's last road win in the AFC Championship Game came in 2004 over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The only other Patriots road win of the Brady/Bill Belichick era in this setting came three years prior in 2001 against the Steelers at Heinz Field.
The Patriots, despite all of the factors working against them, still should be pretty confident entering Sunday's game. Their AFC Divisional Round win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday was quite impressive, Brady is playing as well as he has all season and the pass rush showed great improvement versus L.A. And we cannot forget about the Patriots embracing the underdog role, especially because they rarely are in that position.
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