The Kansas City Chiefs are returning to regular-season action with a Week 1 matchup against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. How will the game play out? The Arrowhead Report crew previews the game and gives their predictions.
Joshua Brisco: The uncertain status of Tyrann Mathieu certainly impacts how the Chiefs' defense will look against Baker Mayfield's crew, but I'm not worried about KC giving up a few points. Even with the new-look offensive line that will be getting its first full game as a unit, Patrick Mahomes and the offense should have no problem putting up 30-plus points as Mahomes and Andy Reid continue to dominate the month of September.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Browns 24
Jordan Foote: The Browns are undoubtedly seeking revenge after getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Chiefs, and both of these teams have changed quite a bit since January. Those improvements may take some time to manifest themselves in the form of on-field excellence, and I'm more confident in the Chiefs' offense having a good or great day than the Browns being able to slow them down with an elite defense. Patrick Mahomes and company will open up the season by putting the rest of the AFC on notice.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Browns 23
Mark Van Sickle: The Chiefs are coming into Week 1 with a sour taste in their mouths after an embarrassing loss in the Super Bowl. Mahomes and company will come into the game swinging out of the gates and will be ready to roll the Browns, just like they should have done in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last year if Mahomes hadn’t been in concussion protocol for half of the game. Chiefs by double-digits.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Browns 20
Taylor Witt: Patrick Mahomes is 10-0 in September, Baker Mayfield is 5-4. Mahomes is 3-0 in Week 1, Mayfield is 0-2. Mahomes is 11-0 in games starting in the 3:00 window, Mayfield is 1-5. There is a clear tendency for Mahomes to start the year on fire (zero interceptions thrown in September!) and I see no reason for that to stop now. The rebuilt offensive line will be tested, Mecole Hardman will be tested, and Tyrann Mathieu will be tested. At the end of the day, as Juju Smith-Schuster observed, the Browns is the Browns. But even more importantly, the Chiefs is the Chiefs.
Prediction: Chiefs 41, Browns 34
Sam Hays: This game, on paper, should be one of the toughest games on the Chiefs' schedule this season. With that said, the Chiefs and Mahomes have been quite dominant in the month of September in this Mahomes-Reid era — where the team has zero losses and boasts historically great statistical production. This will be no different, with the Chiefs jumping out to a 28-10 lead at halftime with Mahomes throwing touchdowns to Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Byron Pringle. Chris Jones also gets two sacks and consistent pressure throughout the game and Clyde Edwards-Helaire gets his first 100-yard rushing day since Week 6 of last year against the Bills.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Browns 24
Conner Christopherson: The Chiefs are looking to show the Browns (and the rest of the AFC) that it is still their conference. The showdown of the day is the revamped Chiefs offensive line going against a great defensive line on the Browns' side, led by Myles Garrett. The Chiefs' defense looks to repeat its performance from the playoffs, where they were able to slow down the Browns' offense enough to survive even after Mahomes left the game. With Tyrann Mathieu on track to play, this game will have huge implications for the season. That is where the Chiefs shine.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Browns 27
Jacob Harris: it's football day.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Browns 24