Before the Kansas City Chiefs’ meaningless season finale against the Los Angeles Chargers, most (but not all) of our Arrowhead Pride panelists thought Kansas City would win. it worked out to an aggregate prediction of an 18-16 Chiefs victory — which turned out to be just 10 points removed from Kansas City’s 13-12 win. John Dixon’s call for a 17-14 win was the week’s best call, followed by Stephen Serda’s 20-13 prognostication. More than half of our readers (54%) correctly predicted a close Chiefs victory.
Now we’re on to the postseason. For its Wild Card matchup, the Chiefs are hosting the Miami Dolphins on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is now favored by five points.
Let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.
Nate Christensen (@natech32)
If Miami was fully healthy, there would be a reasonable path for the Dolphins to win — but not with the injuries they’re facing. With defensive players like Andrew Van Ginkel, Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips and Xavien Howard missing, Kansas City’s offense will have opportunities to make downfield plays. On defense, it’s simple: until I see Tua Tagovailoa win a cold game on the road, I don’t see it happening. The Chiefs match up well with this version of the Dolphins.
Chiefs 24, Dolphins 13
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
This is a season in which some Kansas City fans have predicted the team will go one-and-done in the postseason. I think it’s reasonable to believe it will be hard for the Chiefs to win four in a row against the league’s best teams — but in the end, it always comes down to the next game. In this one, I have to take the home team. Farewell, Garo Yepremian!
Chiefs 24, Dolphins 17
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
After a regular season without a marquee win inside Arrowhead Stadium, I see the Dolphins matchup as a perfect stage for the Chiefs to build momentum with a strong, encouraging victory. The Dolphins are very depleted defensively, but the effect cold temperatures could have on Miami’s offense stands out to me. I see Kansas City’s offense and defense both stepping up to the plate, managing a low-scoring first half before pulling away in the second.
Chiefs 23, Dolphins 13
Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)
I don’t think I’ve felt this confident in a potential Chiefs' victory in quite some time. Maybe it’s because the season ended on a relatively stress-free two-game winning streak. Maybe it’s because the coaching staff has finally acknowledged its offensive limitations — and has stopped trying to force-feed sub-par wide receiver play down our throats. Maybe it’s because it’s going to be cold as sin — and once the temperature drops below the age of my toddler, I’ll take the home team over a bunch of South Beach softies any day of the week. But mostly, it’s because the playoffs are a win-or-go-home scenario, and we have No. 15 versus a Miami defense that is more banged-up than the 1990 Toyota minivan I drove in high school.
Chiefs 34, Dolphins 16
Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)
If I said I was very confident in the Chiefs, I’d be lying. But injuries, rest and the weather are lining up too much against the Dolphins. In addition, Miami will have to overcome the mental toll caused by being just a quarter away from hosting a playoff game to being on the road for a playoff game in subzero temperatures. When we last saw Kansas City’s first-team offense, it appeared resigned to play a possession-based game plan, knowing that the defense can win games for them. On a cold night at Arrowhead, I expect a similar script that is focused on a steady diet of running back Isiah Pacheco.
Chiefs 23, Dolphins 17
Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)
While the Dolphins are dealing with a boatload of injuries — especially on the defensive side of the ball — I still find myself worried about the Chiefs being able to win a playoff game. It comes down to the frustrating season they’ve put on paper. But a more than banged-up Miami defense coming into Arrowhead and beating Kansas City is still too hard for me to imagine. At the end of the day, I think the weather matters and the Chiefs' experience matters — and the health of the Dolphins’ roster really matters. I expect the offense to find ways to be frustrating — but I have a lot of confidence in Steve Spagnuolo dialing things up a notch on defense. As long as the defense can slow Miami’s rushing attack, I think Kansas City’s secondary does enough to keep the Dolphins' pass-catchers from putting up enough points.
Chiefs 24, Dolphins 17
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
It’s been a rough season, but the vibes have improved over the past two weeks. The still- stellar defense, the simplified offense and the rise of Rashee Rice? Yes... it’s all coming together at a good time. Right from the start, the Chiefs will need to take control of the game; they can’t let Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins get on a roll. It could all come down to who can run the ball the best — which could be influenced by which team scores first. Give me playoff Patrick Mahomes and playoff Travis Kelce — and Rashee Rice to score on the opening drive. Then let Isiah Pacheco hammer the turf — and the depleted Miami defense.
Chiefs 31, Dolphins 21
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
I know that a lot has been made of the advantage of the cold, but I am not sure how much advantage can be drawn from extreme cold; I think both teams will have a similar challenge against the elements. I think the Chiefs’ built-in advantage in this matchup comes from the Dolphins’ depleted defense. I know Kansas City’s offense has been struggling this year, but if it can’t find success with six Miami defensive pieces missing, perhaps they don’t deserve to be in the postseason after all. Much will be made about Tyreek Hill’s return, but the defensive point to watch is how the Chiefs manage to keep De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert under control. If the Chiefs can do that — avoid turnovers — it will be time to book the trip to Buffalo.
Chiefs 24, Dolphins 21
Prop bets (from Pete Sweeney)
Head on over to DraftKings Sportsbook and take...the running back overs.
- Isiah Pacheco O63.5 rushing yards
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire O9.5 rushing yards
Which team wins Dolphins (11-6) at Chiefs (11-6)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
Dolphins in a close game
Dolphins in an easy win
Dolphins in a blowout