The Cleveland Browns travel to Arrowhead Stadium for their divisional-round matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs starters haven't played in a game in 21 days as they are coming off their first-round bye after resting against the Los Angeles Chargers. Will that matter? The Arrowhead Report crew previews the game and gives their predictions.
Joshua Brisco: Finally. After a long regular season and two weeks without seeing the Chiefs' starters, the playoffs are back in Kansas City. Most of the Chiefs' season has been characterized by the team's ability to become the AFC's No. 1 seed without ever playing their best game. They should be able to survive a few mistakes against the Browns, but it's time to see if Andy Reid will begin to empty the bag of tricks to get the offense to its peak form. I think the Chiefs will hold a solid lead throughout the game and the final score will look closer than the game felt.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Browns 27.
Tucker Franklin: We've finally made it to gameday, but be careful, Chiefs Kingdom. This team isn't the "same old Browns." Last week, they proved they are a legit team and deserve to be where they are. With that being said, any team facing Andy Reid off the bye is running into a buzzsaw. Cleveland is getting healthy at the right time to give the Chiefs a run for their money, but too many things have to bounce their way for them to win while all Kansas City has to do is not make big mistakes. I expect this game to follow the usual script Chiefs games follow. By the first quarter, Kansas City will be out to a big lead and by the end of the game, they'll need a Patrick Mahomes drive to ice the game.
Prediction: Chiefs 38, Browns 35.
Jordan Foote: Hats off to the Browns for an impressive wild-card round win. They looked impressive and capitalized on mistakes the Steelers made. Barring a repeat of last year’s game vs. the Texans, though, the Chiefs won’t spot Cleveland 28 points. Patrick Mahomes and the offense should be well-rested and prepared for a game against a tough opponent, and the Chiefs’ defense should play well enough to win comfortably. Baker Mayfield is good, but not good enough to keep up with Mahomes.
Prediction: Chiefs 38, Browns 24.
Conner Christopherson: These Browns are not like the old Browns. Kevin Stefanski has led a long-suffering franchise out of the darkness and delivered the Browns not only a playoff berth, but a playoff win. Anchored by their ridiculously elite offensive line, the Browns are a formidable foe who should not be taken lightly despite the franchise's history. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will be ready. If there is one weakness the Browns have, it's their secondary. Despite Denzel Ward coming back from the COVID-19 list, it's still a weak spot that the Chiefs could exploit with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Coming off ample rest and raring to go, I expect the Chiefs to host their third consecutive AFC Championship game.
Prediction: Chiefs 37, Browns 30.
Sam Hays: This Cleveland Browns team is intimidating, there's no doubt about it. Baker Mayfield is playing the best football of his NFL career right now, the offensive line led by Wyatt Teller, Joel Bitonio and Jack Conklin is fantastic, and the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is the best in football. They should have a good shot, until you remember the other side has Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Andy Reid, the most unstoppable offense in NFL history, and the Browns defense isn't that great, especially without key pieces like Olivier Vernon. The Browns will make it a game and earn the respect of Chiefs fans, but the Chiefs come out on top. The Chiefs become the second team in NFL history to host three consecutive conference championship games, joining the Eagles during the era of current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. He truly is one of the greatest coaches in football's illustrious history.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Browns 27.
Mark Van Sickle: The Chiefs are going to be well-rested mentally and physically heading into this game. The Browns are coming off their biggest win in over three decades. Emotions are running high and they are feeling confident coming into Kansas City. Unfortunately for the Browns, Patrick Mahomes and Co. are on a mission, and they aren’t going to let anyone stop them from achieving the goal at hand.
Prediction: Chiefs 41, Browns 28.
Taylor Witt: It's finally here. The real season for the Chiefs begins Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium against the Browns. In their 15 warmup games, they managed a 14-1 record, but now the focus turns to what really matters, and that's hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa Bay. But Kansas City can't get to that step unless they complete this one, and that starts by shredding a Cleveland pass defense that has been suspect all year. Look for the Chiefs to do what they did in all three postseason games last year, which is win by double digits.
Prediction: Chiefs 44, Browns 28.
Joe Andrews: This is the part of the season we’ve all been waiting for since the sun rose on February 3. There’s a lot at stake here for the Chiefs, and they can’t afford to skip a beat. Patrick Mahomes vs. Baker Mayfield sounds like a lot of fun, but we all know who will have more crucial plays in the end.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Browns 28.
Jacob Harris: It’s been cute, but it’s over now.
Prediction: Chiefs 49, Browns 24.