This week, the Kansas City Chiefs(9-5) in Week 16 of the NFL regular season. Our position-by-position evaluation and game prediction are below.(3-11) take on the
|The Browns are without starting guards Joel Bitonio and John Greco the rest of the way. We've seen Austin Pasztor be relatively stable on the left side, while Cameron Erving has had too many big gaffes from his side. I know head coach Mike Pettine wants to credit Erving for other plays he makes, but that can't be an excuse -- I'd rather have a lineman who is just stable than one who is great at times but then has three drive-killing plays each game. The drive-killing plays out-weigh everything.
The Chiefs' offensive line consists of LT Eric Fisher, LG Jeff Allen, C Mitch Morse, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and RT Jah Reid. The Browns had a pre-draft visit with Duvernay-Tardif lined up in 2014. He was the CFL's No. 1 offensive tackle prospect, but then something fell through with the planned visit. Allen has been the standout of the unit, while Reid is a liability. The interior run blocking has been solid, while the pass protection is suspect and forces Smith to take a lot of sacks.
|The Chiefs feature a 3-4 defense with Mike DeVito and Allen Bailey as the defensive ends and Jaye Howard and Dontari Poe in the middle. Howard has been a complete player in 2015, with this being his breakout season. He and Poe could be very disruptive to the Browns' new guards. DeVito and Bailey are stout against the run, but not a threat to beat the Browns' tackles on pass rushes.
Danny Shelton proudly carried around a championship belt this week after a pretty good game against the Seahawks last week. Hopefully he can bring some of that same intensity this week to disrupt even more plays in the backfield. The rest of Cleveland's linemen could have some pass-rushing opportunities; overall, they've patched things up to be a so-so unit, but that won't cut it when the secondary is being shredded left and right.
|The Chiefs' starting cornerbacks are Marcus Peters and Sean Smith, while their safeties are Ron Parker and Eric Berry. Peters, the team's first-round pick, has 7 interceptions and has had a rookie-of-the-year type of season, which makes Browns fans think a lot about Justin Gilbert's current status. Smith is a very good player, but sometimes susceptible to the big play. Berry mans his position well, while Parker is the weakness of the secondary.
With Justin Gilbert out of the concussion protocol for a week, will he reclaim his starting role? I hope so, just to get a shred more evidence of what he's capable of on the field. Tramon Williams got a three-year deal from the club this past offseason, but his play has regressed significantly as the season has gone on.
We should see a near-identical game as the one against the Seahawks last week. If the Chiefs are missing both of their pass rushers, Cleveland will put together a quality drive in the first half to make things close. By the second half, Kansas City should start pulling away -- they don't turn the ball over, and Cleveland's secondary hasn't been capable of winning any battles.
Kansas City Chiefs 24, Cleveland Browns 17
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