Chiefs vs. Browns picks: Writers predict Kansas City to advance in NFL Playoffs

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 27: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs leads players onto the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 27: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs leads players onto the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

It’s now the second week of the NFL playoffs, and the AFC Divisional games are here. On Saturday, the Buffalo Bills advanced to the conference championship. On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Cleveland Browns to try to advance to face Buffalo and move one step closer to running it back. Here’s a look at our writer predictions.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will be coming off a bye to face the Browns this week, as the Chiefs were able to clinch the top seed in the AFC after finishing the regular season with a 14-2 record. Reid is 5-2 when coming off a first-round bye in the playoffs, including last year’s season where he led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win.

NFL experts are currently picking the Chiefs as heavy favorites over the Browns. However, last week many expected the Pittsburgh Steelers to beat the Browns, but the Browns commanded the game from start to finish.

Last week, the Browns jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 21/34 passes for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Nick Chubb rushed 18 times for 76 yards, and running back Kareem Hunt rushed 8 times for 48 yards and 2 touchdowns. Along with their offense, the Browns defense helped propel them to victory.

They had four interceptions off of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well as a fumble recovery which they returned for a touchdown on the Steelers opening play. The Browns have been one of the hottest teams coming into the playoffs, and could give the Chiefs a run for their money.

In the Chiefs’ week off, they had some time to get rested and recover, but they are still dealing with several injured players. They have already ruled out linebacker Willie Gay with an ankle injury as well as wide receiver Sammy Watkins who has a calf injury. Meanwhile running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, tight end Deon Yelder, and cornerback Rashad Fenton are all listed as questionable.

For the Browns, no one has been ruled out but they have four players listed as questionable. Offensive tackle Jack Conklin, tight end David Njoku, tight end Stephen Carlson, and linebacker B.J. Goodson are all listed as questionable for the Browns.

Our writers believe that this week’s game won’t go as well for the Browns as it did last week. They all predict the Chiefs to secure a big win and head to the AFC Championship.

Drew Brooks: Chiefs 38, Browns 31

I think this will a game that the Chiefs jump out to an early lead in, but slowly let the Browns back in. I think there will be a couple garbage time scores by the Browns that make the game look closer than it was, but ultimately I expect the Chiefs to come away with a big win.

Kevin Burd: Chiefs 38, Browns 21

The Browns put up 48 points against the Steelers last weekend, but they were handed five turnovers on a platter. That will not happen against Kansas City. The Chiefs are trying to make another Super Bowl run and will silence their doubters this Sunday

Matt Conner: Chiefs 37, Browns 21

I think it’s going to be a hot start and a motivated team effort on Sunday to silence any doubters and clarify any confusion about the AFC’s only elite team.

Sterling Holmes: Chiefs 30, Browns 26

Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill should be the game changers in this one as they dominate even great secondaries, and the Browns… well, they don’t have a great one. I’m looking forward to Chris Jones getting 2+ sacks against this top-ranked Browns offensive line and wreaking havoc throughout this game. Mayfield has been playing great and if he doesn’t make mistakes then this will be a close game, but the Chiefs defense will hold on in this high-scoring affair.

Ellen Mathis: Chiefs 38, Browns 27

While the Chiefs aren’t coming in 100% healthy, they are certainly rested. The Browns are coming off their version of a Super Bowl win. Despite all the bulletin board material that has been traded between the two teams, it comes down to the fact that the Chiefs are just a better team. Ultimately, because it is the playoffs, I don’t think it is a blowout, but the Chiefs’ offense is better, and despite what we hear, the Chiefs defense is pretty good. If the defense can get pressure on Baker, this could turn into a blowout (again, I don’t think it will). I do, however, see the Chiefs hosting another AFC Championship game.

Byron Smith: Chiefs 42, Browns 21

Cleveland could make this interesting if they blitz early and run often. But a rested KC with something worth playing for is not a team you can stop.

Kelly Thompson: Chiefs 45, Browns 21

The Kansas City Chiefs are well-rested, focused and more talented than the Cleveland Browns. No, it will not matter that the Cleveland Browns won their first playoff game in a quarter century. And no, it will not matter that they’re a streaking team with a seemingly prolific offense. And finally no, it does not matter that Kareem Hunt apparently believes it’s personal. The Chiefs will remind everyone why they’re the defending champs.

Farzin Vousoughian: Chiefs 41, Browns 35

It will be a high-scoring game. The Browns are capable of competing with the best. But the Chiefs offensive firepower will be too much for the Browns to handle.

Thomas Welte: Chiefs 38, Browns 20

The Browns have been talking a lot this week, and people will pick the Browns because they want them to win. Get familiar with this feeling, Mahomes and the Chiefs are quickly becoming a team everyone roots against because they’re sick or seeing them win. While the Browns have some talented players, their defense doesn’t match up well against the Chiefs passing game and Baker Mayfield can be rattled.