The divisional playoff round continues on Sunday with the Cleveland Browns (11-5, 5-3 away) battling the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (14-2, 6-2 home). Cleveland upset their rival the Pittsburgh Steelers last week during wild-card play while the Chiefs enjoyed the weekend off as the AFC’s top overall seed.
Kickoff is at 3:05 pm ET at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO., with the winner advancing to the AFC Championship. The Chiefs are a 10-point favorite in the matchup, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Cleveland Browns
After nearly two decades of absence from the postseason, the Browns win over the Steelers in the final week of the regular season punched their ticket to the playoffs. Cleveland matched up with the Steelers again in the wild-card round, downing Pittsburgh, 47-38.
Baker Mayfield completed 21-of-34 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s victory. Mayfield’s biggest improvement from 2019 to 2020 was the drastic reduction in interceptions this season. He threw for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns during the regular season.
The two-headed rushing attack of Nick Chubb (190 carries, 1,067 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Kareem Hunt (198 carries, 841 yards, six touchdowns) improved the Browns’ rushing attack considerably this season. In addition to Hunt’s rushing numbers, the talented back chipped in five touchdowns and 304 yards receiving.
With Odell Beckham Jr. down for the season, the Browns turned their attention in the passing game to Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins. The two wideouts combined for 109 receptions for 1,439 yards and seven touchdowns to lead Cleveland. Landy was the team’s leading receiver last week, hauling in five passes for 92 yards and one score.
What to Know – Kansas City Chiefs
The reigning Super Bowl champions continued to build off last season’s success this year with another solid regular season that earned the Chiefs the top seed in the AFC. Kansas City rolled during the regular season, winning fourteen of 15 contests before falling in the regular season’s final game with numerous starters resting.
Patrick Mahomes last played two weeks ago in Kansas City’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The quarterback completed 24-of-44 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Mahomes had another MVP season, throwing for 4,740 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Kansas City’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the team’s leading rusher, is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Browns. Edwards-Elaire carried the ball 181 times for 803 yards with four touchdowns over his rookie season. If Edwards-Helaire is unable to go, the Chiefs will turn to Darrel Williams and Le’Veon Bell to handle the backfield workload.
Tight end Travis Kelce (105 receptions, 1,416 yards, and 11 touchdowns) and wideout Tyreek Hill (87 receptions, 1,276 yards, 15 touchdowns) each surpassed the 1,000-yard mark during the regular season. Look for these two to continue to be Mahomes’ favorite targets through the postseason.
The Pick is In
Most of the key players on Kansas City’s roster haven’t played since Week 15 of the regular season. The extra rest is vital for a postseason run, and the only other team to enjoy a bye this season was in the NFC.
Cleveland has been a fantastic underdog story over the last couple of weeks, and the offense looked unstoppable against the Steelers, but we expect the Chiefs to be well-rested and well-prepared.
The Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -10