Chiefs vs. Browns: Game Preview from The Mothership
The Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) return to Arrowhead Stadium for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns (3-11) in fifth place in the AFC standings and just one game behind the Denver Broncos for the AFC West division lead.
The magnificent turnaround is due to eight straight victories, and a ninth on Sunday would tie a franchise record.
What has happened is stunning, but ask head coach Andy Reid about it and he'll explain that there is nothing to be satisfied about yet. There is a lot left to do in his eyes.
"It's a tribute to the players and the coaches for what they're doing—they understand we're not done here," he said. "We've still got to take care of business here. Really, nothing has been accomplished at this point until we get ourselves ready for Cleveland. That's the approach that everybody has taken. It's important."
Coming to the Game? Here's Some Information that You Need to Know from The Mothership
All fans are asked to maintain a clear aisle by containing all tailgate equipment to an eight-foot area behind each parking space. This will allow a space that can accommodate emergency vehicle traffic and ensure that cars can safely be directed to all available parking spots.
Chiefs vs. Browns: How to Watch and Listen from The Mothership
Play-by-Play: Kevin Harlan
Color Analyst: Rich Gannon
WR Chris Conley Featured on the "MMQB" Podcast with Robert Klemko from The Mothership
Last week, Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated's Monday Morning Quarterback flew to Kansas City to interview Chiefs wide receiver
Chris Conleyabout his reaction to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
‘That date' has arrived for Dwayne Bowe's return to Arrowhead from The Kansas City Star
"He's frustrated, and things haven't gone the way that we thought they would go or he thought that would go," Cleveland coach Mike Pettine said. "It's been a tough year."
Bowe caught two passes for 22 yards last Sunday against Seattle after being a healthy scratch for three of the previous four games. In fact, Bowe, who averaged 58 catches and 713 yards in his two seasons under Chiefs coach Andy Reid, has been a healthy scratch for seven games this year.
Bowe was not made available to the Kansas City media this week, but Pettine said a pulled hamstring that caused Bowe to miss most of training camp made him fall behind.
"He got injured and it took a good amount of time to get back — everything from getting his timing back to having a good understanding of what we're doing from a schematic standpoint," Pettine said. "He got behind, and Travis Benjamin stepped to the forefront and played the X receiver and played at a high level. This is a guy who's an alternate to the Pro Bowl who's had a real breakout season for us, and that's the position that Dwayne plays."
De'Anthony Thomas ruled out against Browns from Chiefs Digest
Wide receiver/punt returner De'Anthony Thomas has been ruled out and his status is "non-football related," the Chiefs announced Saturday in a short 22-word email to media members.
The reason behind the non-football related status is unclear.
Chiefs announce De'Anthony Thomas will miss Sunday's game from The Kansas City Star
Instead, Stanley told The Star, Thomas and the Chiefs collectively decided that it was simply wiser to give him a full week to return to the field before seeing any game action, and that the timing of Thomas' clearance from the league's concussion protocol did not allow that for Sunday's game.
Thomas is expected to be ready to go starting on Monday, Stanley added.
Prediction: Chiefs 30, Browns 13 from ESPN
The only time during their eight-game winning streak that the Chiefs committed more turnovers than they forced came two weeks ago against theSan Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. Not coincidentally, that was the only one among the eight where the result was in doubt until the Chiefs forced an incomplete pass in the end zone on the game's final play.
That's an illustration of just how important winning the turnover battle is to the Chiefs, and in the NFL in general. And it might be Cleveland's only hope this week.
There's not much else that could prevent the Chiefs from winning their ninth straight game and perhaps clinching a playoff spot.
Containing Browns QB Johnny Manziel's elusiveness a priority for Chiefs from Chiefs Digest
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton echoed Reid's assessment of the Browns' first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft.
"Some of the throws he can make when running to his right or left and back across the field, not a lot of people can do that," Sutton said. "So he's got a great arm, his release is extremely fast. And I think, obviously, his ability to move in the pocket, to escape."
The Chiefs clearly have respect for Manziel, who has appeared in nine games with five starts in 2015, completing 116 of 191 passes for 1,364 yards and seven touchdowns against four interceptions. He has also rushed for 122 yards on 26 attempts.
But Sunday won't mark the first time the Chiefs defense squares off against a dual-threat quarterback since Reid and the current coaching staff arrived in 2013.
Chiefs-Browns scouting report from The Kansas City Star
Bottom line: Chiefs 27-13
Manziel showed a knack for making some magic during his college days, and he has shown improvement this year, which makes him a potential danger. But if the Chiefs control the line of scrimmage and play with their usual intensity, they should cash in on a few mistakes and pull this one out.
CLEVELAND AT KANSAS CITY
Cleveland: The Browns travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs, who suddenly have a chance to win the AFC West and have won eight consecutive games. Kansas City has allowed 14 or fewer points in seven of its past nine games. The Browns' chances? Good luck. Chiefs 27, Browns 10. -- Pat McManamon
Kansas City: The Chiefs might be able to beat the Browns without throwing a pass. The Chiefs are eighth in the league in rushing yards per game (122.8) and fifth in yards per carry (4.6). Meanwhile, the Browns are 31st in rushing yards allowed (134.9) and 29th in yards allowed per carry (4.6). The Chiefs will have their choice of the versatile Charcandrick West or the powerful Spencer Ware as their featured back this week. Ware didn't play last week because of sore ribs. Chiefs 30, Browns 13. -- Adam Teicher
Despite foibles, Travis Kelce's game is major boost for Chiefs from The Kansas City Star
His exhilarating game at times is compromised by exasperating mental lapses and, specifically, fumbles (four last season, two in 2015) that might suggest his eyes have gone googly and his mind is elsewhere.
And, alas, you might see some such transgression again before long from the animated Kelce, who has 65 catches for 822 yards this season.
But there are a few things that bear remembering when you consider that disheveled part of the package.
Understand that his tendency toward showboating says more about sheer enthusiasm and seeking to get others stoked than it is mere absentminded shenanigans.
Charcandrick West, Chiefs: West had 16 carries last week, and you know what? He's scored in every single game he's been given 16 or more carries. As of this writing, we don't know how much playing time Spencer Ware gets; I feel like it's another week of Ware being active but used only in an emergency. And even if Ware does get some touches, I like West's chances against Cleveland. Running backs have scored at least 14 points against the Browns in three of the past four games.
Why Chiefs' eight straight wins are impressive, even considering the mostly bad competition from The Kansas City Star
The point here is that this is one of those sad Browns teams that defines a lost franchise not up to what their fans deserve and, for our purposes here in Kansas City, another in a long line of inferior opponents for the Chiefs. A win on Sunday — even a blowout win — would be largely met with eye rolls and apathy by the bigger football world.
This is A Thing now. The Chiefs have not lost since a bizarre game in a college stadium in the middle of the October. That's a span of eight wins, from Europe to the West Coast, a stunning turnaround that has made fans go from wondering whether the franchise needed a leadership change to a growing confidence that a 22-year drought of playoff wins will finally end.
Game Day Forecast from The National Weather Service
Today A slight chance of rain, snow, freezing rain, and sleet before 2pm, then a slight chance of snow and sleet between 2pm and 4pm, then a slight chance of freezing rain and sleet after 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 34. Breezy, with a north northeast wind 18 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs: Who will win? Predictions and poll from Cleveland.com
The Cleveland Browns return to the field on Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs. The game will be on CBS and is scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Here are staff picks from writers at cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer, with each writer's season record in parentheses. Make your pick in our weekly poll:
A State Highway Patrol sergeant arrested Bryant and Saunders early Friday during a traffic stop along Interstate 71 in Brook Park, Highway Patrol Lt. Craig Cvetan said Saturday.
Browns general manager Ray Farmer announced Saturday that Bryant will sit out Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Saunders is a member of the team's practice squad.
Bryant was found in possession of Adderall. He was unable to produce a prescription at the scene but it's unclear if he has a prescription. The prosecutor's office will determine whether he will be charged, Cvetan said.
Saunders was issued a citation accusing him of drunken driving and speeding and is scheduled to appear Monday in Berea Municipal Court, according to a traffic ticket issued by the sergeant.
"With this stretch -- Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh all fighting for playoff spots, all really solid teams with good defenses -- this is a test collectively for our offense to try to finish on a good note.''
But Manziel acknowledged that he's not the same quarterback who had, in the words of left tackle Joe Thomas, an abysmal rookie season due to his lack of preparation.
"It's night and day,'' said Manziel. "It's not even close. Just being able to see the field, protections, progressions, everything. Going out and playing these past couple of weeks has shown that a little bit. It's a world of difference throwing for 70 yards an entire game like what happened last year against Cincinnati and just that whole debacle.
"Having a full offseason with the knowledge that I had last year and just knowing how to come in the building and do the right things and prepare. That's the biggest thing.''
Cleveland Browns Pregame Scribbles: This is the season when the mess never ends -- Terry Pluto from Cleveland.com
1. When will this season end? That's what crossed my mind when I first heard that Armonty Bryant and De'Ante Saunders were stopped by police at 2:15 a.m. on Christmas. Saunders was driving 75 mph in a 60 mph zone on Interstate 71. He was arrested on an OVI charge. He refused to take a breathalyzer test. He also had an unregistered handgun, according to police. Bryant had Aderall, according to police. Joe Haden was suspended for four games in 2012 for using Adderall, which is not allowed by the NFL. Unless Bryant can produce a prescription for the Adderall, he could face suspension from the NFL.
Today, the Cleveland Browns play the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. These teams arrive here having followed two different paths from identical 2-5 starts to the season.
Smith and the Chiefs have averaged 29.75 points per game during the winning streak and have scored less than 25 points only twice in the last two months.
"Really, it comes down to a lot of things: attention to details, having good weeks of preparation, and then, going out there and playing four quarters of football," Smith said in a conference call with the Cleveland media.
"Throughout the game, you are going to have ups and downs, especially when the game is on the line. Whether it be offense, defense or special teams, guys do all the little things and make the plays in those critical moments that have turned the games."
Despite being sacked 43 times for 223 lost yards, Smith has completed 278 of his 424 attempts (65.6 percent) for 3,205 yards with 16 touchdowns against only four interceptions.
Browns-Chiefs Preview from The Associated Press via FOX Sports
The surging Chiefs can improve their postseason chances by matching the franchise record with a ninth consecutive victory Sunday at home against the lowly Cleveland Browns.
''I like the football team," coach Andy Reid said. "I like the makeup, even during that (losing) time. We have some character guys."
There's no AFC team hotter than Kansas City (9-5), which has turned a 1-5 start into a potentially special season. The Chiefs have averaged 29.8 points and allowed 12.3 while going undefeated since a five-game skid.
''Everybody knew what this team was capable of,'' receiver Jeremy Maclin said. ''Now we're kind of putting it together, (but) we still have a way to go before we get to where we want to be.''
N.F.L. Playoff Picture: What Chiefs Fans Should Root For from The New York Times
With 31 games remaining in the season, there are two billion ways the season could end. Which of those outcomes are best for the Chiefs? It's questions like these that led us to build our N.F.L. simulator, to let you explore which games matter the most for your team's playoff chances.
Our goal here is to give you the short version: The Chiefs are very likely to make the playoffs and remarkably still have a decent chance to win their division, despite having started the season 1-5. Kansas City fans should root hard for the Bengals during their Monday night game in Denver this week.
Below, you'll find a tree that (very) exhaustively lists all of the ways the Chiefs' season could end.
Duvernay-Tardif and the Chiefs are fighting for a playoff spot from L'Oeil Regional [translated from the original French]
Adding that the men of head coach Andy Reid are just one win to catch up the leaders of their division, the Denver Broncos. Recall that a division title would allow the Chiefs have home advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
Sunday, the Chiefs face home the Cleveland Browns (3-11) to 13h. Kansas City will try to go for a ninth straight win.Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and his teammates will complete the regular January 3 home schedule against the Oakland Raiders.