The Cleveland Browns (3-4) face the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) this weekend at Arrowhead Stadium. Many analysts have the Chiefs winning this weekend. The Chiefs are favored in the spread by 7.5 points. The real question is if the Kansas City Chiefs can remain unbeaten, or will the Browns finally knock them off. Here are a few facts that show it may be closer than some think.
First, take a look at the opponents that the Chiefs have played so far. Of the seven teams they have beat, only one team is above .500 (Dallas). The combined record of those seven teams comes to 14-33. These wins come over teams such as Jacksonville (0-7), the New York Giants (1-6), Oakland (2-4), and Houston (2-5). The defenses of over half of these teams rank 27th, 28th, 31st, and 32nd in points scored against them. All of those offenses have struggled this season. The Browns opponents’ records are 23-23.
Second, the Browns rank 9th in rushing yards per game. Kansas City currently ranks 12th in rushing yards with Jamaal Charles making up a bulk of the yardage. The Browns have been great at stopping the run, especially guys like Reggie Bush, Ray Rice, Eddy Lacy, and Adrian Peterson. If the Browns can make the Chiefs throw the ball and turn them into a one-dimensional team, they could make it a closer game.
Third, the Browns need for their running backs to establish a run game. With Kansas City ranked at 22nd in rushing yards allowed, the Browns should be able to open up the Chiefs’ weaker area of their dynamic defense. Running back Willis McGahee is starting to understand the playbook better and is improving every week. The addition of Fozzy Whittaker can only improve the backfield allowing Ogbonnaya to play more full back and give McGahee some rest. If the Browns can establish the run game, they will allow Jason Campbell to run effective play action plays.
Next, the Browns need to score points, consistently. The Browns have led going into the half in 6 out of the 7 games this season and have lost them in the second half. This has plagued Cleveland in the past as well. Hopefully Jason Campbell can spark the offense and consistently drive the ball, keeping the Chiefs’ offense off of the field. Special teams also needs to step up and give Campbell good starting field positions.
Last, the Browns’ defense needs to wake back up this week. After an embarrassing loss last week, they are still ranked 9th overall in the league. The linebackers need to watch their pass coverage areas and keep the Chiefs’’ guessing what is coming next. Ray Horton will look to avenge what happened last week by throwing in some blitzes to confuse Alex Smith who is leading a 24th ranked pass offense.
If all goes by the plan, the Browns should be able to beat the last undefeated team in the league. Expect a tough matchup of defenses and a low scoring game. My prediction: Cle 21 KC 17.