Week 1: Chiefs vs. Browns Preview and Prediction
The Browns have a shot at revenge after the K.C. Chiefs defeated them in the playoffs last season with Chad Henne under center. Cleveland is traveling to Kansas City with the expectation of shocking the NFL by defeating the team that is perceived to be Super Bowl bound for the third straight year. Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney are hoping to dominate against a revamped offensive line in Kansas City. Baker Mayfield looks to hush critics and the Cleveland offense looks to take off this season.
Baker Mayfield vs. Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes will certainly have the advantage here. In Kansas City, the quarterback play has been at its highest in franchise history. While Mayfield will likely continue to improve, it seems unlikely that he will be anywhere near Mahomes this season or this week.
Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett vs. the new Chiefs offensive line
This area is definitely in the “unknown” category. Clowney has not played a ton of football in the last couple of years and the Chiefs only have had an offseason for their new linemen to gel. While Garrett is a top-tier EDGE player, Clowney’s ability is somewhat unknown at this point as is Orlando Brown’s evolution to being a primarily pass-blocking left tackle. At this moment in time, this will likely be the most intriguing matchup of the game.
Denzel Ward vs. Tyreek Hill
While Ward is a tremendous defender, Tyreek Hill is exceptionally difficult to stop. If Mahomes has time to throw, expect Hill to get open on deep routes. If Ward can mitigate Hill’s deep threat ability, it could slow the Chiefs down. That being said, I would expect the advantage to be pointing Hill’s way.
The media wants to believe in Cleveland. I mean, why not. It would make for a more interesting story than the Chiefs winning the AFC again. Good storylines and hopes will only get you as far as news coverage will take you. In the real world, I would expect the Chiefs to come out swinging as they have throughout the Reid and Mahomes era.
With a balanced approach, I expect the Chiefs to methodically defeat the Browns. That is not to say that the Browns can’t win this game, it just seems like a bit of a stretch when you give Andy Reid and company extra time to prepare.
Player of the game: Tyreek Hill
I will never put Patrick Mahomes here because that is just not fair. That being said, I would expect the Chiefs to rack up a lot of yards through the air. Hill could lead the league in receiving yards after Week 1.
Score: Chiefs: 34 Browns: 20