The Kansas City Chiefs have back-to-back Super Bowl appearances and the anointed best quarterback in the game. The Chiefs have two Super Bowl wins in their history, the first in 1970 and the more recent victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
The Cleveland Browns are one of four National Football League teams that has never advanced to the Super Bowl. The other three are the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans. Four years ago, Cleveland didn’t win a game, 0-16, which completed a three year run with four wins and forty-four losses.
From recent history, this opening day matchup might appear weighted in the Chiefs favor, particularly when you factor in the game being played at Arrowhead Stadium. That is how the guys that set the lines see it, installing the Chiefs as a favorite by nearly a touchdown.
Thing is, recent history is not going to decide Sunday’s game in Kansas City. Sunday is going to be an accurate reflection of where these two teams are right now. Recent history indicates we could well have this Browns team on a straight up trajectory and a Chiefs squad coming down from their apex.
Are the Chiefs the kind of dynasty that can endure the perils of success and continue to dominate opponents after winning the Super Bowl? Or, will Andy Reid’s team settle into the more common pattern for a team that peaks with a Super Bowl win and then fades back to the pack.
If the Chiefs fade here, they are in big trouble.
This is a Cleveland Browns team fortified through the draft by virtue of all those years of miserable results. At every position on the field the Browns have talent on a par or better than any competitor … Chiefs included.
Perhaps the final piece in the Browns championship puzzle was last year’s addition of head coach Kevin Stefanski. In his first season with the Browns, he guided them to their first playoff appearance since 2002 and their first playoff win in more than 30 years.
The Browns will open their 2021 campaign on the same field that their 2020 season ended, Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium. Following their Wild Card win last February over the Pittsburgh Steelers, their first postseason win since the 1989 season, they came up short against the defending Super Bowl Champions on their home field, 22-17. In that game, last January, the Browns got eight points on the spread and didn’t need them all to win the wager. This week, they get five or six points on the spread, and I don’t think they are going to need any of them.
Kansas City has to defend the AFC title with an untested offensive line against one of the best defensive fronts in the game. From a physical standpoint, I don’t think the Chiefs are the better team at Arrowhead on Sunday. When you add in motivational and point spread factors, the edge swings dramatically to the visitors on Sunday in Kansas City.
I think it is a solid moneyline play on the underdog, and while fully expecting an outright Cleveland victory, having the cushion of points on the spread multiplies the viability of this position.
Qoxhi Picks: Cleveland Browns (+5½) over Kansas City Chiefs