After picking up another narrow win, the Chiefs are looking to clinch a first round bye against the Falcons this week. Here’s what our writers predict.
Last week, the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the New Orleans Saints and came away with yet another close victory. The Chiefs won by three points, making it their sixth consecutive game that they have won by less than a touchdown. The Chiefs are making close games a habit that they hope to break this week as they prepare for the Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints got their quarterback Drew Brees back from injury after he missed several games due a rib injury. At first, Brees started out with some rust and the Chiefs secured a two touchdown lead. But, similar to what has happened to the Chiefs in the past several weeks, the Saints mounted a comeback.
In a back and forth game, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 26/47 passes for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns while also rushing 7 times for 37 yards. Tight end Travis Kelce continued to prove why he’s the best tight end in football by corralling 8 passes for 68 yards and 1 touchdown. The Chiefs won the game 32-29.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they lost their rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire late in the game to a high ankle sprain and will look towards the Falcons without him.
Speaking of the Falcons, last week they blew yet another lead as they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At this point, it’s almost expected that the Falcons will lose any game that they take an early lead in. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a solid game, completing 34/49 passes for 356 yards and 3 touchdowns, but the team’s defense gave up 31 points and over 400 yards to the Buccaneers to suffer a 31-27 loss.
Though the Chiefs will be without running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, he is not the only player ruled out as both teams face significant injuries. For the Chiefs, along with Edwards-Helaire, linebacker Damien Wilson will be out for the game. In addition, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and defensive end Frank Clark are both listed as questionable, though Hill is expected to play.
For the Falcons, they will be without four players for the matchup with three others questionable. Star wide receiver Julio Jones, defensive back Darqueze Dennard, center Alex Mack, and offensive guard James Carpenter have all been ruled out for the Falcons. Safety Ricardo Allen, defensive tackle Marlon Davidson, and wide receiver Brandon Powell are all questionable for the game.
With both teams facing injuries, our writers predict the Chiefs to win and clinch the #1 seed in the AFC and the conference’s only first round bye. Here’s a look at our full writer predictions:
Drew Brooks: Chiefs 35, Falcons 24
The Chiefs have had a lot of close games these past few weeks, and I think this is finally one they win by more than a touchdown. The Chiefs offense will continue to cook and the Falcons won’t have the firepower to keep up in a shootout.
Kevin Burd: Chiefs 31, Falcons 21
This has the opportunity to be a letdown game for the Chiefs, but I think that they will come away with the win. While Atlanta does have some firepower, they won’t be able to make it a whole 60 minutes with Kansas City. A semi-close game, but yet another win.
Matt Conner: Chiefs 30, Falcons 10
There’s no reason to bet against the Chiefs at this point, even against a good team. They’re well-coached enough in all facets to never lose focus of what matters most, and a team like the Falcons aren’t going to play spoiler at this stage.
Bransen Gibson: Chiefs 34, Falcons 10
Each of Kansas City’s last six games have been decided by less than a score, but that won’t be the case this weekend. The Chiefs can clinch the AFC’s number one seed with a win and I expect them to do it in style, running out comfortable winners over the Atlanta Falcons.
Lyle Graversen: Chiefs 27, Falcons 20
I think this will be one of those games where KC jumps out to a big lead and then shuts things down a little too soon and the Falcons get a couple 2nd half scores that make the final look closer than it was. Look for Mahomes and the passing game to put up big numbers in the first half and then a heavy dose of Le’veon Bell in the second half.
Byron Smith: Chiefs 38, Falcons 35
Its a meme at this point that Atlanta blows leads like it’s no ones business, although with the way the Chiefs have been handling business early in games recently, I wouldn’t be surprised if they never get the chance to do so. This is probably the last full game for most of the Chiefs until the divisional round, so I would like to see them flying around making plays and putting on one more show in front of the Arrowhead crowd. With a win, they guarantee they don’t have to leave KC until February, which is ideal for running it back.
Farzin Vousoughian: Chiefs 34, Falcons 6
The Falcons are still inconsistent and can’t play a full game. It’s hard to imagine the Chiefs letting the Falcons cut their big lead.