Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs – NFL, Week 1 (2021)

By Dan Vasta in NFL
| September 2, 2021 3:47 am PDT

The season openers have been entertaining over the years due to history being brought back to the forefront. Cleveland and Kansas City dazzled us in the Divisional Round of the postseason and the season came down to Chad Henne of all quarterbacks.

The Chiefs survived, and the drama made a potential dream rematch come to fruition to start the 2021 NFL season.

The confidence and swagger from both clubs will be at an all-time high. The expectations are lofty, but they both could be among the top clubs in the league. The winner could springboard this game towards the top seed in the AFC.

It is time to predict and pick this season-opening AFC showdown between Cleveland and Kansas City. If you’re looking to bet on this game, take a look at my Browns vs. Chiefs NFL prediction and pick for week one.

Browns vs. Chiefs Odds

Browns (+6)-105
Chiefs (-6)-115
Browns to Win+215
Chiefs to Win-255
Over 53-110
Under 53-110

Kansas City opens the year as the favorite at the top NFL betting sites. The Chiefs will be favorites per the experts in every game.

Still, this could be one of the games they could disappoint.

Kansas City has potential future Hall of Fame passer, Patrick Mahomes, and Cleveland’s, Baker Mayfield, holds the keys to success.

Both teams are loaded with offensive pieces that have opposite skills. Cleveland wants to play the game in a phone booth. Due to all the size and strength at the line of scrimmage, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt would benefit.

Kansas City wants to expose a Cleveland secondary by throwing it 40-plus times and make them tackle in space.

Something has to give, but this could be one of the best games of the entire year.

It is time to discuss the potential AFC Championship preview by dissecting and breaking down the keys to victory for both squads.

Why the Browns Win

Cleveland has their most talented team in perhaps franchise history in the Super Bowl era. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the most devastating rushing tandem to limit.

Even if you don’t realize how good they are together, it’s impossible to ignore they’re among the best running back tandems in the NFL.

When Stephen A. Smith can see how dominant someone like Chubb is, you know it’s pretty obvious.

Running behind the top offensive line in the NFL, Cleveland will bury the opposition at the line of scrimmage.

Baker Mayfield is at his best when he only throws it 20-25 times a game. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. are looking to stay healthy for the entire season, but the team proved last year that it doesn’t need a great passing attack to win games.

It can keep it simple and pound the rock and win games on defense as well. Myles Garrett is one of the finest defenders in the NFL. His ability to harass opposing quarterbacks is impressive.

When Cleveland pins its ears back and gets after it, not many can avoid their pressure.

They are a physical football team that brings the intensity from the opening kick. Cleveland is the top team in the league at the line of scrimmage, and the Browns should handle the expectations under Kevin Stefanski. Running the ball and owning the time of possession is the recipe needed to unseat the two-time defending AFC champions.

Why the Chiefs Win

The Chiefs can outscore any team with three of the better offensive players in the past decade-plus. Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce are unstoppable forces.

They retooled their offensive line to help protect Mahomes and dissect opposing defenses. Cleveland had issues defending opposing receivers last season, and that is the strength of the Chiefs.

If that isn’t enough persuasion, look at what Mahomes has done in his career in September.

  • Career Record: 10-0
  • 32 Pass TD / 0 INT 

Mahomes is impressive, and he could slice apart any secondary under Andy Reid.

The Chiefs have other pieces besides the big three that can do damage. Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, and Byron Pringle are capable pass catchers. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams can move the sticks well when needed.

The rushing attack could be underrated since many still do not account for the legs of Mahomes. The Chiefs have so many weapons, and life is fun watching them light up the scoreboard.

Browns vs. Chiefs Prediction

This clash could be an elite showdown, and it could decide home-field advantage for January football.

Kansas City has not lost a September game under Mahomes, and it isn’t going to change in 2021.

The team will suffer a loss someday, but it is unlikely to happen at Arrowhead.

Cleveland will prove they are a worthy contender, but this is a game that Kansas City will execute. They were embarrassed with their Super Bowl performance, and this will be the first game that counts.

This game could come down to the wire if the Chiefs struggle on defense. I foresee this one not coming down to the wire like last season in their playoff matchup, so the Chiefs win this one by about 10 points.

Kansas City is talking about going 20-0, so it sure would be embarrassing to lose immediately to the Browns.

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Browns vs. Chiefs Pick

The best chance for Cleveland to pull this off is to play keep away, and pray Mahomes throws the first interception of his career in September.

If not, Kansas City should be able to light up the scoreboard.

If the game turns into a track meet, the Chiefs will win and cover the point spread. The second half is where the Chiefs will speed up the Browns, and Mayfield will make a few mistakes.

Take Kansas City with the points at -6 (-115) and the money line, as well (-255). The point total is a bit of a toss-up at 53 points. I have more faith in Mahomes getting to 11-0 in September, and they should do it with an eight-plus point victory.

Pick
  • Kansas City (-6)
    -115

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