Regular season football has finally arrived! After 22 weeks of non-regular season actions, it’ll be exciting to watch all 32 teams duke it out through Thursday to Monday. One of the more exciting games on the docket is none other than the Chiefs versus the Browns. This will be the first home game of the year, and the first under Arrowhead’s new field name, GEHA Field.
Baker Mayfield and the Browns are looking to come to Kansas City, seeking revenge after their 22-17 loss in the divisional round just eight months ago. Both teams are revamped; additionally, both are eager to face off yet again. With that said, let’s predict the stats and the score of this gargantuan Week One matchup:
A Chiefs’ Air-Raid: Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes still has a vast majority of his past crew for the past few years, excluding the absence of Sammy Watkins, who signed with the Ravens earlier in the offseason. In their last game against each other, Mahomes threw or 255 yards and a touchdown. With an improved o-line and a solid receiving core, I feel as though Mahomes will have a slightly better performance than last time. The Browns secondary has a lot of talent, but Mahomes is just built different in terms of all QBs in the NFL.
Stat Prediction: 22/33, 281 yards, two TDS; three rushes, 20 yards
Leading Chiefs’ Rusher: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
This one is obvious. Helaire is expected to have way more usage than last year after the loss of Damien Williams. While the Chiefs still have solid backups in Darrel ‘Barrel’ Williams and Jerick McKinnon, Helaire will be the main guy in both the passing and receiving game in the backfield. He can run people over with ease, has good ability in the passing game in terms of hands and route running, and he has solid elusiveness to juke and spin away from defenders.
Helaire didn’t play in the Chiefs’ past meeting against the Browns; however, I feel as though he can have a good stat line to start 2021 with a bang.
Stat Prediction: 14 rushed, 81 yards, one TD; four catches, 28 yards
Leading Pass-Catcher: Travis Kelce
To end the 2020-21 NFL season, Kelce ended like a star, catching 10 passes for 133 yards, being SB 55’s leader in receiving yards. I believe Kelce will pick right back where he left off. Mahomes and Kelce have a connection unlike anyone else in the league, and it showed in 2020. Kelce set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end last season with 1,416 yards. On top of that, he also had 105 receptions.
The Browns had solid linebacker depth with Sione Takitaki and Mack Wilson, who has shown to be good in coverage, allowing a 57.1 completion percentage in 2020. However, I feel as though Kelce will dominate no matter who is covering him on Sunday.
Stat Prediction: Eight catches, 95 yards, one touchdown
Lead Defender: Chris Jones, LDE
This will be the first time Jones will be starting at defensive end since making the switch to defensive tackle in 2019. In his time as a defensive end, he was one of the most dominant in the league in 2018, achieving 15.5 sacks and 29 QB hits along with setting the record for getting a sack in consecutive games. He is a wrecking ball that is unmatched in the pass rush game:
He has shown to still be a dominant for at DE, both in training camp and the preseason. I can see him playing well against either Jedrick Wilks Jr. or Jack Conklin.
Stat Prediction: Seven tackles, two tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, forced fumble
Bold Prediction: Chiefs Score On A Pick-Six
I always like to do one of these per game, so here’s my bold prediction of the week; the Chiefs will score on a pick-six. Now, this will be challenging, considering that Mayfield had a 1.6% interception percentage per attempt; nevertheless, it can always be done. I feel as though L’Jarius Sneed gets the pick-six, and to make this even bolder, I’d say it happens in the third quarter.
Score Prediction: Chiefs: 31 – Browns: 27
It’s safe to say this could be one of the best games slated in the whole 2021-22 season. Both teams have very high hopes for the playoffs, and there’s a decent rivalry brewing between the two after their last game. This game will come down to the wire, and I believe it ends with Mahomes driving for a two-minute warning touchdown and the Chiefs’ defense holding the Browns’ offense off till the very end. The Chiefs secure their first win against a tough opponent.
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