Justin Houston's secret to stopping Tom Brady: Hit him

The Chiefs are three days away from taking on the world-champion Patriots in New England.

It's an opening tilt that doubles as a massively tall order for Kansas City.

If you're looking for Chiefs-inspired hope, point no further than a defense that returns the majority of its starters after leading the league in takeaways last season.

Naturally, the Patriots tied for the NFL's fewest giveaways, but Chiefs pass-rusher Justin Houston believes he's unearthed the secret ingredient to foiling 40-year-old New England signal-caller Tom Brady.

"To hit him," Houston said, in comments distributed by the team. "Because the ball comes out so fast, he's a smart guy. My main thing is the defense, don't lose confidence in what you got going on because he's going to make plays -- it's Tom Brady. Just got to stay together through four quarters."

Kansas City fared well last season against the league's best attacks, piling up a 7-1 record against top-10 scoring offenses.

Still, this year's Patriots roster feels deeper than ever, with Brandin Cooks added to the passing game alongside do-everything back Rex Burkhead. While Julian Edelman is out of the picture, pass-catcher Chris Hogan torched teams in the preseason, while Brady still has his game-changing tight end Rob Gronkowski to tip the scales.

It's easy to wonder if this tilt could morph into an unwatchable slaughter, but the Chiefs -- in the regular season, at least -- have the tools to put up a fight.

"They want to play against the best and so that's how this is presented," Kansas City coach Andy Reid said of his players. "You want to coach against the best, you have that opportunity and that's a great thing. That's the beautiful thing about this sport."

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