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Chiefs vs. Browns: Game and score predictions

The Arrowhead Pride staff weighs in with their predictions for the first Chiefs game of the 2021 NFL season.

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs begin the 2021 regular season with a rematch of last season’s Divisional round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns. Let’s see what Arrowhead Pride staffers — and our readers — think about the game.

Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)

In a week full of games that will be hard to predict, I actually believe this will be one of the easier ones. I know that in sports, history shouldn’t have much bearing on the present. But when you’re dealing with Mahomes in September, then history absolutely matters. The guy doesn't start the season slowly. With an improved offensive line — and the new T-Rex formation to aid in the red zone— I can’t see a situation in which the Chiefs don’t manage to score at least 35 points. Chiefs 41, Browns 24

John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)

This will likely be one of the most interesting games on the NFL’s Week 1 schedule: a rematch of last season’s Divisional round contest. The last time, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes missed a substantial portion of the game — but the Browns were missing some of their key players, too. With a healthy Mahomes (not to mention Kansas City’s revamped offensive line), the Chiefs should be able to notch their first victory of the season. Chiefs 34, Browns 27

Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)

The Browns looked primed for a legitimate Super Bowl run, but that campaign starts against Kansas City. The potential loss of Tyrann Mathieu is a big tipping point in determining who will come out victors in Week 1. The Browns running attack is one of the best in the NFL, which will test the mettle of the Chiefs defense. Chris Jones and a healthy rotation along the defensive line have to control the trenches. Mahomes and company are seemingly in for just as tough of a matchup given the ferocity of the Cleveland pass rushers. The key for the offense is to score and score a lot to put pressure on the Browns to keep up. The Chiefs will want to turn this game into a track meet as soon as possible. A sold-out Arrowhead is perfect for this fantastic Week 1 battle. Chiefs 35, Browns 24

Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)

The last time we saw them in a meaningful game, the Chiefs were embarrassed — the first time in Patrick Mahomes’ career that he lost a game by more than one possession. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach made sure Mahomes would have protection moving forward — and on Sunday, it will be on full display. The Browns revamped their defense, but expecting nine new starters to click in their first game against this offense isn’t realistic. Also, with Arrowhead at full capacity for the first time in two years, it will be crazy. Chiefs 38, Browns 24

Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)

By the end of the 2021 season, this matchup (if it were to happen in the postseason) will be between the two best teams in the AFC. The Browns will be a legitimate challenger for the conference title — but in Week 1, they won’t be at that level. There are too many new defensive pieces for them to play at a high-enough level to slow down the Chiefs’ offense. On the flip side, I think the Browns offense will put up points on the Chiefs' defense — but it won’t keep up with the September version of the Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes offense. It’ll be a very entertaining game. In the end, the Chiefs will pull it out in front of a rocking Arrowhead Stadium crowd. Chiefs 33, Browns 27

Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)

In this one, don’t sleep on the Browns. They’ve made it clear that they circled the Chiefs on their calendar. I fully expect them to come out swinging, trying to jump out to an early lead. Luckily, the Chiefs have more than enough firepower to go punch-for-punch with any team in the NFL. I think Kansas City’s improved pass defense will hold the Brows to early field goals — and that will be the deciding factor. If Javedeon Clowney is out, things will be significantly more comfortable for Mahomes and the offense, allowing the Chiefs to double-team Myles Garrett. This will be a fun game — but when the dust settles, I expect the good guys to come out on top. Chiefs 31, Browns 27

Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)

I have a checklist for this game. Can the Chiefs check all the boxes? My first is whether or not the offensive line can handle the Browns’ pass rush. Myles Garrett can play on either side of the defensive line, so it’s going to be a huge test for both rookie Lucas Niang and veteran Orlando Brown Jr. The next box is how the linebackers will perform. I was shocked when the Chiefs’ unofficial depth chart showed that Nick Bolton would not start; the team is moving forward with Ben Niemann and Anthony Hitchens. The last box is the secondary. If Tyrann Mathieu is not cleared to play, I feel the Cleveland wide receivers will have a field day. Just like last season’s playoff game, this one will go down to the wire — but the Browns defense will prevail. Browns 34, Chiefs 31

Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)

There is so much focus on the Chiefs offensive line having to come together — but not enough focus on some of the uncertainties the Browns will bring to Sunday’s game. I buy Cleveland as a definite AFC contender, but I think their revamped secondary (with a rookie starter) will come up short in a shootout. The game will be very high-scoring, which will keep Cleveland from relying on their outstanding run game. Patrick Mahomes will find Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce as needed — and the Chiefs will win a game that a late Cleveland score makes it appear to be closer than it was. Chiefs 38, Browns 34.

Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)

The Chiefs have one of the most talented teams in the NFL, but the Browns are one of the few teams that could argue they have a more talented roster from top to bottom. Add in Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski finally bringing some stability to the play-calling, and this sets up to be one of Week 1’s best games. This isn’t the Browns of the past — and shouldn’t be treated as such — but Patrick Mahomes is still the ultimate advantage. This one plays out a lot closer than most would predict. Chiefs 35, Browns 31

Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)

There are some reasons for concern in this one — especially around the Chiefs’ defense. If Tyrann Mathieu doesn’t play and Frank Clark and Derrick Nnadi are limited — along with the absence of Willie Gay Jr. — it adds up to a defense that won’t be what we think it can be. They’ll face a very good Browns offense with a great offensive line; it can move the ball on the ground or through the air. But the Chiefs' offense won’t be shorthanded — and they’ll trot out a shiny new offensive line to protect the greatest player alive. Kansas City will be eager to erase the memory of the Super Bowl, making a statement against a team everyone thinks is on the rise. Mahomes is petty — and he’ll be fired up. Don’t bet against him. Chiefs 38, Browns 24

Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)

Week 1 (and September as a whole, in which Mahomes is 10-0 with no interceptions) is just a terrible time to draw the Chiefs on your schedule. Andy Reid is sure to flex some creativity — and the Arrowhead crowd will be rocking for the first time since the 2019 AFC Championship game against the Tennessee Titans. I’m preparing for my Twitter mentions to be flamed by Browns fans, but these two teams could very well meet again in January. Chiefs 34, Browns 20

Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)

Despite the three rookie starters, I believe this group of five Chiefs offensive linemen may just be the best group Patrick Mahomes has played with since he took over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2018. And while I realize Mahomes was finally — rightly — named the league’s No. 1 player in this offseason’s edition of the “NFL Top 100,” I still believe what transpired in Super Bowl LV has made people forget just how good Mahomes can be. The Browns’ front seven can dominate a game, so the new group will be tested early — but I think it's a test it will pass, leading the way for the score-at-will Chiefs offense we used to know. Chiefs 38, Browns 24

Ethan Willinger (@ecwillinger)

There are plenty of compelling reasons to pick the Browns — but for the Chiefs in September, it’s victory until proven otherwise. Under Andy Reid, the team is 7-1 in season openers — and it hasn’t lost a game in the opening month of the season since 2016. In their time together, Reid and Mahomes have always come out of the gate firing — and in this game, they will need to do so. These are two playoff teams — and for the rest of the season, the Browns have an easier schedule than the Chiefs. In a game that could end up having a significant impact on playoff seeding, Kansas City finds a way to get it done. Chiefs 34, Browns 27


Which team wins Browns (0-0) at Chiefs (0-0)?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Chiefs in a blowout (14 points or more)
    (367 votes)
  • 38%
    Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
    (886 votes)
  • 34%
    Chiefs in a close game (7 points or less)
    (792 votes)
  • 9%
    Browns in a close game
    (213 votes)
  • 1%
    Browns in an easy win
    (29 votes)
  • 1%
    Browns in a blowout
    (28 votes)
2315 votes total Vote Now

Just as we have done before, we’ll keep track of how each contributor does with their Chiefs predictions, posting their running total with each week’s picks. Spoiler alert: before the Week 2 game against the Baltimore Ravens, everybody will be 1-0 — or 0-1. The point spreads will make the difference.

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