Sunday afternoon will feature a rematch of last year’s AFC divisional-round playoff matchup as the Cleveland Browns take on the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs will host this one at Arrowhead Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 4:25 pm ET.
Both teams are hoping to return to the playoffs this season and make a run at a Super Bowl title. For the Browns, they were one of three teams from the AFC North to make the postseason after having an 11-5 record during the regular season. After upsetting the Steelers 48-37 in the wild card round, they lost to the Chiefs 22-17 in the second round.
For the Chiefs, they dominated the AFC West, winning by six games with a 14-2 record. In the postseason, they made it to the Super Bowl, but they could not take down Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, losing 31-9.
The Chiefs are the favorites playing at home. They are -250 to win Sunday’s game while the Browns’ moneyline sits at +205. The spread has the Browns +5.5 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 54.5.
Cleveland is tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the best odds of winning the AFC North at +130. They are also tied for the fifth-best odds for winning the Super Bowl at +1500. The Chiefs are the favorites all the way around. Kansas City is the favorite to win their division (-290), the conference (+250), and the Super Bowl (+500).
By The Numbers
Cleveland is 12-5 in their last 17 games, but they are just 1-5 in their last six matchups with the Chiefs. In terms of early-season games, they are just 5-12-1 in their previous 18 games played in September. Kansas City is 12-2 in their last 14 games, they are just 1-9-1 against the spread in their last 11. In their last five Week 1 games, the total has hit the over in every single one.
Browns Hope To Make Statement Against Super Bowl Favorites
After an 11-5 season, head coach Kevin Stefanski and the Browns want to prove they are the real deal and a legitimate Super Bowl contender. There would be no better way to do that early on than beating the current favorites to win it all.
Leading the way under center for the Browns is Baker Mayfield. Last season, Mayfield threw for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions.
On the ground, the Browns return the two-headed monster of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Last year, Chubb rushed for 1,067 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Hunt had 841 yards rushing, 304 yards receiving, and a combined 11 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Browns look to improve on a defense that ranked 22nd in scoring defense, allowing 26.6 points per game. The defensive unit is led by Myles Garret, who had 48 tackles, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 12 sacks last season.
Chiefs Hope To Reclaim Super Bowl Title
Even though they were unsuccessful in their bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions last season, Andy Reid and the Chiefs will look to make it three straight appearances in the Super Bowl this season. Patrick Mahomes returns under center to lead a dynamic offense that ranked first in passing yards per game last year (301.9).
For Mahomes, he threw for 4,740 yards, 38 touchdowns, and just six interceptions over 15 games. He also rushed 62 times for 308 yards and another two scores. His best targets are once again Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Last season, Hill had 1,276 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns, while Kelce had 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Take Kansas City To Win; Cover -5.5-point Spread
As evidenced by last season’s playoff matchup, this could be a very entertaining game. Kansas City currently holds the prestige of being one of the best teams in the NFL, and the Browns are certainly on their way up.
Two things give the Chiefs the edge. First, they are playing at Arrowhead Stadium, where they were 6-2 last season. The other is how much Cleveland has struggled in openers, given that since 2004 they have only won one season opener.
Week 1 will be filled with NFL betting action. This should be a fun game all the way around. Take the Chiefs -5.5 to open the season, but make no mistake, this will be an outstanding Browns team.