All but one of Arrowhead Pride’s writers called for the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the New Orleans Saints last Sunday. Still, we turned in our best predictions of the season. Our aggregate pick for a 32.5-27.3 Chiefs victory had just 4.5 points of error. Our readers did well, too. They were also a bit concerned about a Chiefs loss — 19% thought the Saints would win — but 88% thought the game would be close.
Let’s see how our staff — and our readers — see the Week 16 game against the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
If this game is close, I will eat my Christmas hat. Apart from the fact that the Chiefs continue to play close games, there are no logical reasons to think the Falcons can hang with the Chiefs. While this might be the season of giving, there will be zero generosity from Andy Reid and company. I can’t wait to watch Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill rack up the stats — all whilst I enjoy a strong drink and several mince pies. Chiefs 41, Falcons 17
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
As I look back over this season, one thing really stands out: Kansas City’s ability to win games in so many different ways. Certainly quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been the Chiefs’ ace in the hole — but even when he has been held back, other parts of the team have risen to the occasion. Now they face a new test: a week filled with ridiculous (and absolutely untrue) claims that results from Friday and Saturday’s games could somehow clinch the first seed before Sunday’s kickoff. So I’m counting on the head man to take his turn at securing the 14th (and decisive) victory — for Andy Reid to help his players filter out all of this week’s ill-informed noise and focus on getting this thing done. Chiefs 34, Falcons 24
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
No matter how the last two weeks of the season go, it’s nearly impossible for the Chiefs to lose the AFC’s top seed — but that won’t stop Andy Reid from getting the troops rallied to clinch it themselves on Sunday. There’s no reason that the 4-10 Falcons — who have only played outdoors twice all season — should be able to come into Arrowhead and take down the NFL’s best team. That was probably true even before Julio Jones — one of the league’s best wide receivers — was ruled out for the game. The Chiefs offense has their way with Atlanta’s defense, while the Kansas City pass rush comes alive against a very sackable Matt Ryan to officially clinch home field advantage. Chiefs 38, Falcons 21
Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)
The Chiefs are coming off of a few big road wins against playoff teams, so normally this could be considered a let-down game. But to earn that extra week off, the Chiefs should be ready. When the Chiefs have the ball, this matchup is ideal for the offense. The Falcons’ pass rush is one of the NFL’s worst; they shouldn’t be able to take advantage of the Chiefs’ patchwork offensive line, allowing the Chiefs to pick apart Atlanta’s weak secondary. When the Falcons have the ball, the trick will be to holding them to field goals in the red zone, slowing down the initial scoring onslaught with which the Falcons start every game. But the Falcons’ passing game is effective, so if the Chiefs’ pass rush can’t get home, this could become a shootout. The first half will see the two offenses trading scores — but like in most games, Steve Spagnuolo will adjust at halftime and the Chiefs will cruise to victory. Chiefs 40, Falcons 27
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
This could be a difficult game to predict. The Chiefs are riding high, thinking about the No. 1 seed and the first-round bye. The Falcons have already lost 10 games in what looks like a lost season that will likely lead to a regime change — but they also have dangerous offensive weapons that can put up big numbers in any given week. Still, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes will keep the focus on what they can control: winning another football game. As usual, this one might be closer than it should be, but there likely won’t be any real threat of a loss. The #runitback tour will continue; the Falcons will just be a speed bump along the way. Look for the Chiefs to run the ball, get it to Travis Kelce early and really try to get Mecole Hardman going again. Chiefs 28, Falcons 17
Craig Stout (@barleyhop)
In 2020, the Falcons have played four games against predicted playoff teams, losing all four by an average margin of 9.5 points. Two of those games were on the road, where the losing margin averaged 14.5 points. Now this dome team comes to Kansas City on a cold day to play against a defense that well-absorbed the opposition’s best punch early in the season — and when the Falcons have failed to get out to leads against good teams, the wheels have fallen off quickly. Steve Spagnuolo and company hold down Atlanta’s offense, while Patrick Mahomes carves up the worst secondary he’s seen in the last four weeks en route to a blowout. Chiefs 38, Falcons 20
Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)
The Chiefs are securing the one seed on Sunday. After this occurs, it remains to be seen how they manage Week 17 — but this could be the last time we see the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Tyrann Mathieu and others before the playoffs. Knowing what is ahead for this team, I wouldn't be surprised to see a sharp, focused performance. The Chiefs keep the Falcons at arm's length for the duration of the game, locking down the bye week. Chiefs 31, Falcons 24
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
I see Chiefs head coach Andy Reid — not wanting to show much ahead of the playoffs — rolling out a somewhat vanilla offensive game plan against the Falcons. Regardless of that, the Chiefs are just too talented. By the third quarter, Travis Kelce gets at least the 60 yards he needs to break the tight end receiving yards record — and Le’Veon Bell rushes for over 100. Veteran Matt Ryan tests a young Chiefs secondary, but they bite him twice for two picks. Chiefs 35, Falcons 24
Which team wins Falcons (4-10) at Chiefs (13-1)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout
Chiefs in a close game
Falcons in a close game
Falcons in a blowout
Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.
Among the staff last week, Kent Swanson led the way with a remarkable 31-28 prediction that carried only two points of error. It was the second time this season where Kent has come that close. John Dixon, Matt Lane and Pete Sweeney tied for second. Their 30-24, 31-24 and 36-28 picks all missed by just 10 points — an error that would be close enough to win in most weeks. With four second-place finishes in the last six games, Pete moved up a notch in the standings. By missing his third game of the season, Craig Stout created a new tier at the bottom — but even so, his average error remains among the best.