The Kansas City Chiefs travel to New Orleans for the first time since 2012 for their Week 15 contest against the New Orleans Saints. Sunday's matchup has been billed as a "Super Bowl preview" as both teams are vying for the No. 1 seeds in their conference. The Arrowhead Report crew previews the game and gives their predictions.
Joshua Brisco: This game got more interesting when we found out that Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher would likely be starting, even as Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas and Chiefs right tackle Mike Remmers were ruled out. Now, I'm back to a place similar to where I started earlier this week: I'm excited for this game, I think the Saint will test the Chiefs on both sides of the ball, and I think Kansas City comes out on top.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Saints 24.
Tucker Franklin: At this point in the season, we know what the Kansas City Chiefs are and what they aren't. We know Patrick Mahomes and the offense are going to score points and the Chiefs defense will not be a lock-down, shut-down unit. Settling for field goals will be a win for the defense, and if they can force the Saints to kick enough of them, the offense should take care of business.
For a more in-depth preview of the game, The Athletic's Nate Taylor joined me on Friday's Roughing the Kicker podcast to break down the matchup and Jordan Foote helped me update the matchup on Saturday after news of who's playing and who's not. Find it wherever you get your podcasts.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Saints 28.
Jordan Foote: All week, my reasoning for picking the Chiefs in this game has been simple. We’ve come to expect Mahomes and company to score 30 points on a normal day. With Taysom Hill at the helm for the Saints, reaching that mark was going to be highly unlikely. While Drew Brees isn’t as dynamic and surely isn’t the quarterback he used to be, he can still throw a pretty accurate football in the short game and target his playmakers. A steady diet of Alvin Kamara both on the ground and through the air is nice, but it still isn’t enough to beat the Chiefs and their high-powered offense.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Saints 23.
Conner Christopherson: This week has been a wild rollercoaster of injury news for this game. Wednesday and Thursday, both Eric Fisher and Mike Remmers did not practice due to a back injury, which seems almost contagious with Chiefs tackles this year. Meanwhile, the status of Drew Brees remained unknown for most of the week. Everything changed on Friday when Brees was announced to be the starter on Sunday. Along with Brees' surprising injury declaration, Eric Fisher also practiced in full on Friday and seems on track to play and Michael Thomas was declared out. What we are left with is an interesting matchup, especially on the Chiefs offense/Saints defense side of the ball. With Eric Fisher potentially playing and Michael Thomas out, the Chiefs seem to have the edge, even with Brees back.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Saints 28.
Sam Hays: The Saints defense is quite the challenge, but you have to expect Patrick Mahomes to still produce against any defense in the history of football. Expect a couple of touchdowns from Mahomes to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs' defensive challenges get tougher with Brees at quarterback, but perhaps Tyrann Mathieu can make some more big plays on the ball or Juan Thornhill can get his first interception since Week 4.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Saints 17.
Mark Van Sickle: Allegedly, Drew Brees has been named the starter. I wouldn’t put it past Sean Payton to overthink this and end up playing Brees and Taysom Hill at quarterback throughout the game. No matter who plays quarterback for the Saints, it won’t be Patrick Mahomes (who plays quarterback for the Chiefs) and is looking to set an NFL record and have his seventh-consecutive 300+ yard passing game. The offensive line injuries are a bit worrisome, but Andy Reid will dial up the plays that will give KC the best chance to succeed.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Saints 20.
Taylor Witt: This is a great challenge for the defending champs. The Saints check in as the best team by DVOA rankings in football and Drew Brees has had several weeks to rest his old body. New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas, but I fully expect this game to be a dogfight. Something tells me the pace of the game will be slower than most people would anticipate given the firepower on each side, so I'm going with the Chiefs in a bit of a slugfest.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Saints 17.
Joe Andrews: I have a hard time believing Drew Brees will play a consistent role in Sunday’s game. Considering the injury he is coming back from, I believe we’ll see plenty of Taysom Hill. Either way, the dynamic Alvin Kamara should create trouble for the Chiefs’ defense. Add in the injury woes of the offensive line, this game may not be the most pretty, but Patrick Mahomes should find ways to excel as usual.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Saints 28.
Jacob Harris: The first game in Kansas City history where the opponent has more famous ribs.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Saints 24.