The Kansas City Chiefs faceoff against the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Rd of this year’s AFC playoffs. Let’s get into some Dolphins vs. Chiefs odds, picks and predictions as our best bet is under 44.5 points.
Dolphins vs Chiefs Prediction
Just a few weeks ago, this matchup looked like it would be more likely to take place in the AFC Championship Game than in the Wild Card round but — given how competitive the conference is this year — things can change in a flash. The Chiefs are not the juggernaut they were a year ago, namely offensively, and the Dolphins’ explosive offensive system continues to come up short against the best teams they face.
Most recently, that meant a loss in a potential division-clincher against the Buffalo Bills. The Miami defense did a nice job forcing Josh Allen into bad situations, but the offense was completely anemic down the stretch and failed to seal the deal. Miami is pretty injured on both sides of the ball, and could be in some real trouble as they head into a brutal road situation. They’ll be forced to contend not only with the enthusiastic, loud environment of Arrowhead, but also the single-digit temperatures expected on Saturday evening.
Of course, in many ways, this is the least imposing Chiefs team in recent memory. Even last year without Tyreek Hill — now a Dolphin making a big return to KC— the Chiefs’ offense had plenty of burst with Mahomes at the helm. Now, with longtime offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy now out in Washington, things have been a bit different. Yes, there’s been erosion of talent as well, including time finally taking its toll on the 34 year old Travis Kelce. That said, Matt Nagy’s performance has been mediocre at best.
With all of that being said, this version of the Chiefs might be a scarier one for the Dolphins than the classic, championship-winning editions that leaned mostly on Mahomes’ gunslinging abilities. These Dolphins can score frequently and in a real hurry; executing a shootout is the least of their worries. The challenge for them will be a Chiefs defense that ranks 8th in DVOA, something that not even the best Reid-Mahomes teams have featured in years past.
When we look at Miami’s recent form against playoff-caliber teams, and the weather conditions that this South Florida squad will be enduring, it’s hard to invest in them. However, this year’s Chiefs offense has been a total failure to launch at times, and while they’re a bit more used to the cold, it’s not like they want to be throwing downfield in gale force winds. We should get a slower pace than you might usually expect from these squads, so with the spread now beyond the key number of 3, let’s invest in the under, which gives us access to some very common totals.
Dolphins vs Chiefs Prediction: Under 44.5
Dolphins vs Chiefs Best Odds
The Chiefs are favored by four points at home in this Wild Card matchup, and to the tune of -210 on the moneyline. The Dolphins are +176 to pull off what would be an impressive upset, while the total is set at 44.5 points with the under slightly favored.
Dolphins vs Chiefs Key Injuries
The Dolphins are one of the most-injured teams in the NFL with plenty of key contributors banged up, but most recently, key edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel went down with an injury and will miss the entire postseason. The Chiefs are mostly intact, but tackle Wanya Morris is in concussion protocol.
Dolphins vs Chiefs Key Matchups
On a cold, windy night, the Dolphins will look to establish their dominant run game, while the Chiefs will likely still need Patrick Mahomes to throw the ball effectively in order to defend their home field.
Dolphins Rushing Offense vs. Chiefs Ground Defense
While the Dolphins have often grabbed highlights for their flashy downfield passing game led by stars Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill, their rushing offense is also third in the league in DVOA. On a day where throwing deep is going to be challenging due to the weather, this could be a huge defining factor for Miami. Their offensive line is pretty banged up, but there’s a chance that the star running back duo of Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane could be back together as the former works towards a return.
It also just might not be that tough to run on the Chiefs defense, who finished 27th in DVOA against the run and 28th according to EPA. This defensive unit has rightfully been praised for its major year-over-year improvement, but that has more to do with its ability to stop the pass. Key linebacker Nick Bolton’s health will be a big concern for Kansas City, while star lineman Chris Jones will need to step up after a disappointing season in run defense.
Chiefs Passing Offense vs. Dolphins Air Defense
The Kansas City passing offense, as always, comes down to Mahomes. His traditional metrics are way down from his MVP campaign a year ago, but the KC air offense is still eighth in DVOA due almost entirely to his strong play. Rashee Rice has emerged as a nice wideout, but with Kelce slowing down, this skill unit doesn’t have a whole lot going for it, while the o-line has been awesome with the second-best adjusted sack rate in the NFL.
Meanwhile, some late-season injuries to key Miami pass rushers and cornerback Xavien Howard forced the team’s DVOA against the pass to crash all the way down to 22nd in the league. Slowing down Mahomes is always a tall task, and the weather will be on their side, but it’s hard to believe in this unit on Saturday.