The Cleveland Browns are set to square off against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday after shocking the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field this past Sunday night. The Browns came out the gate on fire as they forced four interceptions on Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The Chiefs had a bye week during the first round of the playoffs and used it to heal their guys up and get them prepared for another Super Bowl journey. They are the favorites to win the game as they suffered just two losses during the regular season.
Kansas City is loaded in every aspect of their roster and will certainly use that to their advantage against the Browns. The Chiefs have an NFL MVP at quarterback and several key pieces surrounding him to help mold what could be a Super Bowl caliber team.
On the other side, the Browns have a ton of heart, and one of the most gritty units in the NFL. The Browns are never out of a football game, regardless of the score, and the fact that they’ve had years of playoff drought could inspire them to squeak out a victory against the defending champions.
Here are four major factors that could decide the outcome of this week’s Browns vs. Chiefs matchup.
Number One: Getting Players Back Healthy
This key to victory mostly relates to the Browns, but it can also pertain the the Chiefs as well. Getting players back healthy and ready to play will be one of the most difficult things to do with this virus spreading though the NFL, but if they can get their guys back, they could be far more competitive.
The Browns beat the Steelers without their head coach Kevin Stefanski, Joel Bitonio, Kha’Darel Hodge, coach Bill Callahan, coach Scott Peters, coach Drew Petzing, coach Jeff Howard, Denzel Ward, and Kevin Johnson. They beat the at one point undefeated Steelers with a large portion of their team and coaching staff sitting at home.
It’s safe to say that if the Browns hope to get past the defending champion Chiefs, they will have to hope their players are good to go and their coaches are good to come back. If not, they may not see the same results as they did against the Steelers.
Number Two: Pace of Play
For these two teams, controlling the pace of play will be pivotal in deciding who the winner will be. The Chiefs have the ability to burn defenses deep on literally every play, but if the Browns can avoid any big plays going against them, they could be in serious contention to win this game.
The biggest asset for the Browns will be controlling what they can control. The Browns don’t need to be super invested in what the Chiefs are going to do because they will succeed either way. The Browns will be better off if they come out the gate and control the pace of play and come out with a sense of urgency.
When Kansas City gets uncomfortable, they love to run a hurry up offense to try to throw the defense off guard, if the Browns can pick up on these tendencies and make the Chiefs uncomfortable, they can come out victorious.
Number Three: Consistency
The Browns will be facing off against one of the most consistent teams in the NFL and they will need to match that if they hope to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
Cleveland’s biggest dock on them is their consistent ability to be inconsistent. If they want to knock off a team like Kansas City, they can’t afford to be inconsistent. The Browns will need to prioritize long, productive drives to get into the end zone if they hope to beat the Chiefs.
The Browns need to do their best to not only score touchdowns on Sunday, but also sustain long drives. The less time they give the Chiefs to build momentum and find the end zone, the better. If the Browns can do those things, they could play spoilers on Sunday.
Number Four: Avoid Extra Possessions
It will be extremely important for both of these teams to avoid giving the other team extra possessions. We saw how quickly the Browns and Steelers game got out of hand and the Chiefs will want to avoid allowing the same thing to happen.
Patrick Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when it comes to taking care of the football and he will need to use that to his advantage on Sunday afternoon. Baker Mayfield has been better as of late, but he will need to have a flawless outing in hopes of knocking off the champs.
Avoiding extra possessions and emphasizing on the opportunities you do get will be important to getting a win on Sunday. If the Browns or Chiefs can come out with a sense of urgency, play consistently, and avoid extra possessions for the opposing team, we could be in store for a great game.