Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns’ take on the Kansas City Chiefs. To help preview a few topics from Kansas City’s perspective, we reached out to Tom Childs from Arrowhead Pride and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: “No one should complain about wins, but nonetheless, when I look at the Chiefs’ games since November 8th (but not including the finale), although they went 7-0, their margin of victory in those 7 games was a combined 27 points — less than 4 points per game. They did not put an opponent away by more than 6 points during that stretch. Was there anything you noticed different about the Chiefs compared to the first half of the season?”
Tom: “Yes, the Chiefs have played some close games of late but in most of those games they have been dominant at times - enough to prove to me that if the team were to play a complete game, then they should beat everyone. Some people have argued that the Chiefs are bored, which seems crazy to me - however, I would certainly say that they’ve been complacent. Whatever the reason is for the tight finishes, I don’t think it’s something that will show up on film. I would also argue that the rest of the NFL should be more concerned that teams haven’t been able to topple the Chiefs, despite KC’s apparent issues with closing. If teams are giving it all and they still can’t beat the Chiefs when they’re ‘playing bad’ then that makes this team even scarier.”
Chris: “What is the Chiefs’ biggest weakness on defense?”
Tom: “You’ll be pleased to learn that is 100% stopping the run. The linebackers have been better this year but are still not anything to write home about (literally in this case). At times they’ve struggled with assignments and finishing plays. For many teams this would be a death sentence, but not the Chiefs. Week after week, the Chiefs offense puts their defense in favorable situations, in which stopping the run isn’t important. For the Browns backs to matter on Sunday, they’ll need to finish drives and then hope the Browns secondary can hold up.”
Chris: “I bet Chiefs fans did not expect to be facing the Browns in the Divisional Round of the playoffs when the postseason first started (don’t worry, neither did we!). With that said, you’re looking at a Cleveland team that looked very strong offensively last week, in spite of all the COVID-19 and injury circumstances that had hit the team. While Cleveland’s defense can be sliced through easily by Patrick Mahomes, is it a little nerve-racking to think that Kansas City could be involved in a shootout on Sunday? Basically, I’m curious what the perspective of a Chiefs fan is heading into this game.”
Tom: “First up, we’ll really happy for you guys. We’ve been where you are and also know how good it is to be on the other side. But for now, you’re our enemies. Watching last Sunday has convinced me that there will be a lot of points scored this Sunday. Chiefs fans aren’t under any illusions about the potential damage that the Browns can do on Sunday. That being said, we are always going to back our guy in a shootout. Not only that, the Chiefs probably have a couple more playmakers on defense capable of stealing a possession or two. Yes I know you guys had a gizzilion picks last week, but Big Ben and his noodle arm isn’t Patrick Mahomes.”
Chris: “The Chiefs’ offensive line always seems solid to me, but if there is a weakness on that group who the Browns can exploit, where would it be?”
Tom: “I’m going to pick on the interior offensive line. All year the o-line has struggled with protecting the NFL’s most prized asset. Outsiders don’t talk about it because Mahomes continues to make plays, but the fact of the matter is Patrick has been making the spectacular plays because he had to. The Chiefs Kingdom is openly hoping this is addressed in the offseason.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player on offense and one player on defense who Browns fans might not be familiar with, but who could make a nice contribution for this week’s game.”
Tom: “In light of Sammy Watkins being out, I am going to go with Byron Pringle. Currently he is behind Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman in the wide receiver depth chart but he is probably due to see more snaps. He’s fast, big-bodied and definitely more reliable than the aforementioned guys. Against the Chargers in week 17 he continued to show why he is deserving of more play time – it will be interesting to see if Andy grants it in such a big spot.
On the other side of the ball, I’m going to say rookie corner L’Jarius Sneed. He started the season off so brightly but then sadly got injured. He would have been forgiven if he had struggled after his return, yet the opposite happened. His return plus his move to slot corner has been a breath of fresh air to the defense. He’s certainly one to watch on Sunday and beyond.
Before I sign off, I just want to throw a prediction in here. In my opinion the Chiefs simply cannot start as slowly as they did last year. I also think they are sick to death of hearing others talk. So I believe that the poor Browns defense is going to be victimized by Patrick Mahomes and company. Chiefs 51 Browns 31.
If the Browns do win the game, then I’ll be cheering you guys on against the Ravens or Bills.”
Thanks again to Tom for taking the time to answer my questions.