Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs Matchup Preview (1/17/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The first game on Sunday for the divisional round weekend features the dominant Kansas City Chie7s against the surprisingly hot Cleveland Browns. The Chiefs cruised into the playoffs and took the #1 seed with a first-round bye convincingly after securing it with a week 16 win over the Atlanta Falcons. After resting most of the Chiefs’ starters in week 17, they will be well-rested for this matchup. In the other corner is the Cleveland Browns, who skidded into the playoffs while clenching their teeth. After losing to the Jets in week 16, they got their must needed win over the Steelers in week 17 to enter the playoffs just to face the Steelers again. Without a single playoff victory dating back to 1984, without a road playoff win since 1969, and without winning at Heinz Field since 2003, the Browns had all the odds stacked against them. But it was from the very first play from scrimmage that the Browns were dominating this game and never looked back. A sailed snap would go straight over Ben Roethlisberger and be recovered for the Browns in the endzone to give the Browns the lead in which they would never give back, winning 48-37. Even with a team torn apart with COVID-19 protocol, the Browns would go on to intercept Roethlisberger four times to win the game and move on to the divisional round. The even greater news for the Browns is that they will have their coaching staff back to full strength as well as the potential to return some start starters they were without against the Steelers. The momentum for the Browns is something to think about for how the Chiefs prepare. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs matchup page.
Date: Sunday, January 17th, 2021
Time: 3:05 PM ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, MO
TV Coverage: CBS
Browns vs. Chiefs Live Stream
Where can you watch Browns vs. Chiefs online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Browns vs. Chiefs Free Online Now.
Cleveland Browns: D. Ward (COVID-19) Q, K. Johnson (COVID-19) Q, B. Goodson (shoulder) Q, M. Dunn (calf) Q, J. Conklin (hamstring) Q, R. Jackson (hamstring) Q
Kansas City Chiefs: M. Remmers Q, B. Niemann Q, C. Edwards-Hellaire Q, S. Watkins Q, T. Hill Q,
Cleveland Browns Analysis
A recent COVID-19 surge through parts of the Browns’ team left some starters out for the Browns, particularly in the secondary, but that was no matter for the defense in last Sunday’s game against the Steelers where they frustrated Ben Roethlisberger with four interceptions. On top of that, the Browns had five coaches out, including head coach Kevin Stefanski. If all goes to plan, they will all return for next week’s game, but to see such success without a bunch of key parts of the team shows how dominant the Browns can be when they are on their game. They also have been playing without Odell Beckham Jr. since week 7 when he tore his ACL. Since then, we have seen names like Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, and Austin Hooper step up as the big playmakers in the passing game as well as running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The countless weapons on the Browns make focusing on stopping just one player impossible because there then exists a new threat. Last Sunday, Baker Mayfield spread the ball around to seven different receivers with three touchdowns. This opened up the rushing game, of which Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb took control with Hunt’s two rushing touchdowns. Overall, the Browns looked tremendous both offensively and defensively despite all the problems going on behind the scenes, which leads to the thinking that they may actually have a shot at making an AFC championship game this year after going 0-16 in 2017.
To beat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, one can look at the only team that was able to beat the Chiefs this year with Mahomes under center, the Las Vegas Raiders. It took the Raiders putting up 40 points to barely outpace the Chiefs. What the Raiders did right was establishing the running game to open up the pass. Beating the Chiefs at the line of scrimmage and winning the dirty battles will be what opens up other possibilities. One can nearly assume the Chiefs will reach the high 20s if not 30s in their final score, so the Browns will need to keep up with the pace. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will be the big difference-makers this week if the Browns want to have a hope of matching the points the Chiefs will ultimately be scoring. Despite that, the Browns’ defense will need to come up big just as they did against the Steelers. After a 28-0 first quarter, the Steelers managed to make it close when they had to business doing so. They will need to stay lockdown for all four quarters, or the Chiefs will be scoring a touchdown every possession, making it impossible for the Browns to win. Using the strength of the Browns’ defensive line will be important in forcing Mahomes into a few uncomfortable situations where he is forced to improvise, although maybe that does seem to be where Mahomes shines the brightest…
Cleveland Browns Depth Chart
Kansas City Chiefs Analysis
The Chiefs have had a break as they took the #1 seed in the AFC which came with a bye week. Most of the starters have had an even longer break as they sat out for week 17 in a matchup that had no implications for the playoffs. Will the rest bring about a healthy and rejuvenated Chiefs’ team or one that is lethargic from not playing in two weeks? Both are potential outcomes. Offensively, the Chiefs have the upper hand, especially with the hopeful return of Clyde Edwards-Hellaire, who would provide just another threat to the Browns’ defense. Utilizing the likes of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Hellaire, Le’Veon Bell, and Sammy Watkins will all be tools to victory for Patrick Mahomes. Every team has struggled to guard at least one of those players all season long, which has resulted in high point outcomes for the Chiefs. It will be on Mahomes to find who the Browns cannot cover to run up the score, but as history has shown, he does a nearly perfect job at that.
Defensively, the Chiefs need to stop the run. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are one of if not the best set of running backs in the league, and that is where the Browns open games up. It is when Chubb can establish himself as a big enough threat that Baker can find open targets in the future on his bootleg play. So first-and-foremost, the Chiefs need to shut down the run. But the Browns do have some threats through the air, which the Chiefs need to be concerned about. Jarvis Landry has come up huge all season long, as well as Austin Hooper, who is looking like his Falcons-self again. Rashard Higgins is another name to not look over as he has had his fair share of explosive games since Odell Beckham Jr. went down. But again, stopping the run first will force passing plays to occur, of which the Chiefs can better prepare themselves for. When the Chiefs have to get overly concerned about the run, it opens the door for play-action and bootleg plays of which the Browns take advantage of. It will be a tough task for them on defense, but with the offense to back them up, they will just need a few stops to be enough.
Kansas City Chiefs Depth Chart
Betting Corner Browns +10
Spread: Browns +10, Chiefs -10
Moneyline: Browns +390, Chiefs -480
The Chiefs should be the winner of this game, no questions asked, as their offense alone is enough to beat almost any team, so unless you are a Browns’ fan or a newly become Browns’ fan, the money line should be on the Chiefs. As for the spread, 10 points is a high margin that the Chiefs would have to cover. But yet again, we are talking about the Chiefs, who put up 30+ points almost every single week, no matter who they are playing. I suspect that this will be a closer game than what is seen at face value as the Browns have the momentum coming into this game and have tools of their own. We could easily see a one-possession game throughout the contest, which has me leaning towards taking the Browns in the spread. 56 points is a crazy number for the over/under as that would mean both teams reaching close to 30+ points. I suspect that there will be a fair share of scoring going both ways but not nearly enough to pass 56 total points as the Browns nor the Chiefs flaunt terrible defenses.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Travis Kelce only sits behind Stefon Diggs in receiving yards this regular season. For a tight end, that is absolutely insane. Kelce’s presence is felt every single play as he is the player Mahomes goes to when he needs short yards for a first down. He has had 10+ targets in seven of his last eight appearances, as well as surpassing 100 yards in five of those games. If you thought that is crazy, he has also had a touchdown in six of those eight games. He has put together an extraordinary season and will definitely be the guy that will be a big factor in the offense. A big game can almost be expected at this point as Kelce has had just one sub-par performance all season long.
When the Browns are on their game, Nick Chubb is almost always behind their success. Chubb has found the endzone in seven of the Browns’ last eight games, including the playoffs. In last week’s game against the Steelers, he totaled 145 yards with a receiving touchdown. His offensive presence is what leads to the Browns’ success on offense. Without him establishing the run game, the passing game is virtually impossible. Chubb did miss a large chunk of the season with an injury, but a fun stat is that the Browns have never scored over 20 points (excluding the game in which he got injured) without Chubb finishing the game with at least 100 yards from scrimmage. When Chubb is playing (again excluding the week in which he got injured), the Browns have scored over 20 points eight times, and Chubb has surpassed 100 yards in each game. If the Browns are going to have a shot at winning this game, it will take Chubb having a monster game.