Baker Mayfield vs. Tyrann Mathieu
By all appearances, Baker Mayfield appears to have come into his own this season as a quarterback in the NFL. He’s made better decisions, and he’s made them faster, than in his previous two seasons in the league.
But the numbers may not be all that they seem. Mayfield has struggled against good defenses this season including the Ravens, Colts, and even the Raiders. He only managed to excel against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the tail end of their downward spiral to end of the season. When Pittsburgh was full strength in their first meeting, Mayfield completed 55% of his passes, had two interceptions and finished the game with a 54.9 passer rating.
What this indicates is that Mayfield is still struggling against secondaries that are good at throwing in different looks and disguising coverages. While in general, the Chiefs aren’t necessarily one of those teams, what Kansas City does have is safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Mathieu is one of the top safeties in the league and one of its most versatile defenders as well. Mathieu is excellent at baiting quarterbacks into poor decisions, and tends to feast on passers with a penchant for throwing the ball into ill-advised situations.
While the Landlord hasn’t played as well in 2020 as he did a season ago, he has still put together an excellent season which has included a team-leading six interceptions, good enough for the third most in the NFL.
The Chiefs need Mathieu to make big plays in their Divisional Round matchup against Baker Mayfield and the Browns. If he’s able to do so, Kansas City should be able to make plenty of stops to simply outscore Cleveland.