Five Arrowhead Pride contributors thought the Los Angeles Chargers would defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in their Week 17 game — when the Chiefs rested their starters — and three thought otherwise. But no one predicted a final Chargers point spread above 10. So our aggregate prediction of a 23.0-20.1 Los Angeles win bore little resemblance to the 38-21 final score. Our readers didn’t fare any better. 53% predicted a Chiefs victory. Just 7% thought the Chargers would win in a blowout.
Let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think will happen in Sunday’s Divisional round playoff game between the Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
The Chiefs simply cannot start as slowly as did last year. I also think they are sick to death of hearing others talk and the narrative surrounding this team. So I am saying that the poor Browns defense is going to be victimized by Patrick Mahomes and company. Chiefs 51, Browns 31
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
Three seasons ago, the Browns ended a three-season stretch where they had won a total of four games. Now they stand at 12-5, having won their first playoff game since 1994. So it’s not fair to think of these men from the shores of Lake Erie as the same old Browns. They’re coming into Arrowhead with an impressive rushing attack, good players on both sides of the trenches — and more emotion than the Chiefs have likely seen since the Las Vegas Raiders came to town in Week 5. Kansas City can’t afford to overlook them — and I don’t think they will. The Browns have turned a significant corner — and for that, I offer my sincerest congratulations. But their time is yet to come. Chiefs 34, Browns 27
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
I can’t wait any longer for this game to kick off. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing how the Chiefs have barely beaten all their opponents down the stretch. I’m exhausted of hearing that Aaron Rodgers — and now even Josh Allen — had a more impressive season. I’m fatigued from all the questions about this team, so don’t you think the Chiefs are, too? Mahomes comes out and sets the Arrowhead turf on fire with his most productive playoff game yet. It may be a close contest at the start, but Kansas City’s offense begins to lap the Browns’ in the second half with a statement of a performance. Chiefs 48, Browns 27
Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)
The Chiefs have come out and given 110% for approximately four quarters this season and none have been consecutive. Whether it’s boredom, feeling like they are on top of the world — or something else — they simply haven’t strung together long stretches of play at their top-end level. The crazy part? They still won 14 games. Now, after a month of hearing how vulnerable and overrated they are, they are geared up and ready to come out swinging. Both sides of the ball show up early and often as the Chiefs come back to remind everyone exactly why they won the Super Bowl last year. Chiefs 42, Browns 20
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
The Cleveland Browns are on the rise, and they made history last week with a playoff win. It seems they finally have an exciting quarterback and an identity built around a dynamic duo of running backs. They showed last week they are opportunistic and that the playoff stage is no longer too big for them. Unfortunately for them, the dream may end on Sunday. The Chiefs are well-rested — and while not totally healthy, still have enough key pieces to play the game they want to play. I still think Reid and Mahomes are going to do some things we haven’t seen all season as they go on a run or two that puts this game out of reach. Watch for Kelce to dominate, Mecole to get lost for a big play, and Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu to lead a defensive effort that is better than most expect. Chiefs 35, Browns 17
Craig Stout (@barleyhop)
The Browns are a good running team with a stellar offensive line and a strong play-action passing game. Unfortunately, all of those elements can be taken away by scoring early and often — which the Chiefs offense should do. Everything that Patrick Mahomes and company do well on offense is a known weakness for this Browns defense, which should lead to a lot of points from a motivated offense. The Browns can’t hang with a Mahomes-led offense that’s not turning the ball over, and it should lead to big games from Chris Jones and Frank Clark. Chiefs win big and cruise to the AFC Championship game. Chiefs 42, Browns 24
Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)
Kansas City has been different since February 2, 2020. Its relationship with the football team took on a new meaning when the Chiefs re-paid years of loyalty with a Super Bowl victory. Expectations have risen after that moment — and simultaneously, the calm of knowing the Chiefs have the best player in the world settled over the city. The regular season felt different this year — because in Kansas City, the season now starts in January. It’s go time, pals. The Chiefs won over 93% of their games with Patrick Lavon Mahomes playing this year — and it feels there is more than they showed ready to unleash on teams in the playoffs. It starts on Sunday against a good Browns team that I expect the Chiefs to comfortably lead for the duration of the game. Chiefs 38, Browns 27
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
It’s been 12 months since January 2020 — a year we can collectively say has been the longest of most of our lifetimes. The Chiefs showing up to the 2021 postseason being as-good-as-if-not-better than they were this time last year is a credit to Andy Reid and the player-leaders, who simply stayed the course through the hardest of circumstances. In the first game of the playoff portion of Running It Back, I think the Chiefs come out firing — as there was a certain energy to Chris Jones’ press conference showing that they have had just about enough of the naysayers calling them bored. As for the Browns, they knocked off Spider Rico last Sunday. This is Rocky Balboa. I’ll take the Chiefs to have the game in hand late in the third quarter, with the Browns finding a way to the back-door cover late in the game. Chiefs 38, Browns 29
Who wins Browns (12-5) at Chiefs (14-2)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout
Chiefs in a close game
Browns in a close game
Browns 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 those who predicted the Chiefs’ Week 17 loss, Pete Sweeney’s 28-20 pick came closest to the mark, accumulating 20 points of error. It was Pete’s first win of the season. Kent Swanson was right behind Pete with a 27-17 prediction that was off by 22 points. John Dixon paid the price for predicting a 27-24 Chiefs win. It toppled him from the top of the standings — where Kent, Ron Kopp and Pete now stand supreme.