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Divisional NFL best bets: A play on every game

January 17, 2021 11:15 AM
USATSI_15416412

The 2020 NFL Playoffs have finally arrived.

As has been the case this whole season, be sure to check injury and weather reports as we get closer to kickoff. Our experts Drew Dinsick, Dave Tuley and Matt Youmans combine to give their opinions on every game.

All odds as of Friday morning, from VSiN's NFL odds page.

Sunday

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5, 57)

Dinsick: The Browns pulled off the most improbable upset of Wild-Card Weekend, punching their ticket on the back of a full team effort, in the absence of their head coach. It was impressive to see Cleveland take advantage of its early opportunities in the contest and the Browns remain one of the most dangerous teams in the scripted portion of their plays. The Chiefs will be rested in this one after taking Week 17 off and getting the bye, however a key player on their offensive line (Mitchell Schwartz) remains unavailable here and might provide the key to the Browns staying in this game. 

The Cleveland defense generates pressure with its front four only, blitzing at the third-lowest rate in the NFL (just under 25% of dropbacks). This strategy has worked well in containing Patrick Mahomes -- to the degree you can -- especially late this season, as Mahomes has seen his rate facing the blitz fall, along with his production and the Chiefs’ EPA per play (down from 0.224 before Week 12, to 0.107 since).  If the Browns defense can replicate this approach against Kansas City this week and keep them in the ballpark of 30 points, that opens the door for their offense, which is certainly capable of scoring at an elite level. 

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