Browns vs. Chiefs: Updated Odds, Stat Predictions for 2021 AFC Divisional Game

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJanuary 16, 2021

Browns vs. Chiefs: Updated Odds, Stat Predictions for 2021 AFC Divisional Game

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The path to what they hope will be second consecutive Super Bowl championship begins Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs. After getting the No. 1 seed in the AFC and the lone bye in the conference, the Chiefs are set to return to action in the divisional round.

    Kansas City will welcome the No. 6-seeded Cleveland Browns to Arrowhead Stadium, with kickoff set for 3:05 p.m. ET on CBS. The Browns are coming off an upset road win over the No. 3-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round.

    The Chiefs have won three straight meetings against the Browns, with Cleveland's most recent victory in the series coming during the 2012 season. Kansas City is a heavy favorite as it looks to begin a run to becoming the first team to repeat as the Super Bowl champion since the New England Patriots, who won in both the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

    Here's a look at the odds for this Browns-Chiefs clash, along with stat predictions for several of the top players in the matchup.

Current Odds

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Spread: Kansas City (-10)

    Over/Under: 57 points

    Moneyline: Kansas City -480 (bet $480 to win $100); Cleveland +390 (bet $100 to win $390)

    Via NFL" target="_blank">DraftKings Sportsbook.

Mahomes Poised for Big Game to Start Chiefs' Playoff Run

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Last year, Patrick Mahomes impressed throughout the Chiefs' run to the Super Bowl title. He passed for 901 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in Kansas City's three playoff games. That included passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns while also adding a rushing score to earn him Super Bowl LIV honors.

    Can Mahomes do it again this postseason? There's no reason to think otherwise. He put up bigger numbers during the 2020 regular season (passing for 4,740 yards and 38 touchdowns) than he did in 2019 (when he passed for 4,031 yards and 26 touchdowns). And he's still surrounded by incredible talent in the Chiefs offense.

    Kansas City averaged an NFL-high 415.8 total yards per game this season, so Cleveland is going to have some difficulty trying to stop that unit. The Browns are beatable through the air, giving up 247.6 passing yards per game during the regular season, the 11th-most in the league.

    There should be plenty of offense on both sides in this matchup, which will lead to Mahomes continuing to pass deep into the game. And with the stakes raised, expect the former NFL MVP to rise to the occasion and come through with a huge passing performance in the Chiefs' playoff opener.

    Prediction: Mahomes passes for 354 yards, four touchdowns.

Chubb Likely to Keep Rolling, Get in End Zone Yet Again

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Although the Chiefs went an NFL-best 14-2, one area in which they didn't rank near the top of the league was in run defense. They allowed 122.1 rushing yards per game, 12th most in the NFL. So the Browns may want to utilize their two-headed rushing attack of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to pile up some offense in this matchup.

    That shouldn't be an issue for Chubb, who has been on a roll of late. He scored at least one rushing touchdown in each of Cleveland's final six regular-season games, a stretch that also saw him run for 80 or more yards four times. In the Browns' Wild Card Round win over the Steelers, Chubb had 145 total yards (76 rushing and 69 receiving) and had a receiving touchdown (which he had none of during the regular season).

    Chubb has also had a consistent workload. Since returning from a knee injury Nov. 15, he's had at least 14 touches in each of his nine games. So even though Hunt will also get the ball some, Chubb should have plenty of opportunities to impress at Kansas City, as he has done in recent weeks.

    As long as the Browns don't fall far behind, they should utilize their ground game to try to wear down the Chiefs defense. Either way, Chubb should have some involvement in the passing game. Expect him to keep his momentum going, turning in another strong performance to lead Cleveland's offense.

    Prediction: Chubb compiles 121 total yards (81 rushing and 40 receiving) and a touchdown.

Expect Mathieu to Come Up with Big Defensive Play

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Throughout his eight-year NFL career, Tyrann Mathieu has made some big plays. This season, he's done so even more frequently than ever before.

    In his second year with the Chiefs, Mathieu had 62 tackles, a career-high six interceptions, nine pass deflections, a fumble recovery and a touchdown (the second of his career, and his first since 2015) in 15 games. The 28-year-old is a defensive leader for Kansas City, as evidenced by his team-high interceptions total.

    Lately, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield hasn't turned over the ball over as much as he was early in the season. But the pressure could be on in this divisional-round matchup because it's unlikely Cleveland gets off to as strong of a start as it did at Pittsburgh (when it became the first team to score 28 points in the first quarter of a playoff game).

    When the Chiefs need a big defensive play at some point during this game, don't be surprised if it's Mathieu who delivers it. In five career playoff games, he's yet to notch an interception. That will change Sunday, coming at a time that will help Kansas City swing the momentum of the contest.

    Prediction: Mathieu records seven tackles, records first postseason interception.

                          


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