NFL Divisional Round: Chiefs-Browns preview, live stream, playoff schedule

Arun Srinivasan
·Writer
·5 min read

Note: NFL playoff games on DAZN are available to stream only in Canada.

The NFL's decision to expand its playoff format for the 2020 season is already paying dividends for the league. Super Wild Card Weekend provided fans with six competitive games, a few upsets, and eight teams now remain with hopes of lifting the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay.

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The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will begin their title defense against the Cleveland Browns, while MVP favourite Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers play host to Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams. After winning their first playoff game since 1995, the Buffalo Bills host the Baltimore Ravens, while Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints square off against Tom Brady and the red-hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cap off the divisional round. Although the COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat to disrupt the playoffs, each of the eight remaining teams survived the wild card weekend, with the Super Bowl now in clear view.

Division Round Preview: Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 06: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to pass during the second quarter of a game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs' biggest enemy this year has been complacency. Will the Cleveland Browns capitalize against the defending Super Bowl champions? (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Date: Sunday January 17 at 3:05 p.m. ET
How to watch: Live on DAZN Canada

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have been in a different tier this season. Their greatest challenge hasn’t been presented by an opponent, as their own complacency appears to be the only thing standing in the way of a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. It appeared that Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill got bored during the final month-and-a-half of the season, eking out one-score victories over opponents while taking their foot off the gas. All of that amounted to a 14-2 season and though Mahomes won’t win MVP, he still threw for 38 touchdowns against six interceptions and continued to solidify his trajectory as one of the all-time greats.

Kelce caught 105 passes for 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns in what’s arguably the greatest season by a tight end in NFL history, while Hill recorded 87 catches for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns. Kelce and Hill are clear-cut superstars but Mecole Hardman may be the fastest non-Hill player in the NFL, Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins are overqualified No. 4 options and Mahomes can almost pick and choose who he’s targeting on any given night. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s status is uncertain for the game after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 15 and though the first-round pick has served as the lead back, the Chiefs’ running game will have a negligible impact on the outcome.

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Now, let’s talk about the Browns. Cleveland won its first playoff game since 2002, running its arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers off the field in a 48-37 victory. When Odell Beckham Jr. went down for the season with a torn ACL in Week 7, Baker Mayfield elevated his game to play the best football of his career, throwing 11 touchdowns against one interception during the last nine games of the season. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are both supremely versatile running backs, equally dangerous as rushers and receivers. Chubb powered the running game against the Steelers, adding a receiving touchdown while Hunt punched in two scores on the ground. Cleveland’s young offensive weapons are playing the best ball of their careers at the right time.

Kansas City likely won’t shadow any of Cleveland’s playmakers, as its star interior lineman Chris Jones will be tasked with shutting down Hunt and Chubb, while edge rusher Frank Clark will try to get Mayfield to revert to bad habits under pressure. Cleveland, meanwhile, will send star edge rusher Myles Garrett after Mahomes, but the reigning Super Bowl MVP is one of the few players in the league who has the advantage every time, irrespective of opponent. It will be an uphill battle for the Browns, but it would also be foolish to sleep on them.

Chiefs vs. Browns: Tale of the Tape

Category

KC

CLE

Record

14-2

11-5

Head-to-Head

N/A

N/A

Points For (per game)

29.6

25.5

Points Against (per game)

22.6

26.2

Chiefs will win because

Kansas City is the most dangerous returning champion since the 2014 Seattle Seahawks, who ended up losing in the Super Bowl. Mahomes has often played in a different tier than everyone else but Aaron Rodgers, while Kelce and Hill remain arguably the best players in the league at their respective positions. This is the portrait of a juggernaut, with a superstar quarterback, head coach, offensive coordinator, tight end, and wide receiver at the peak of their powers.

Browns will win because

Mayfield finally looks the part of a franchise quarterback while Chubb and Hunt provide enough firepower to keep the ball out of Mahomes’ hands and eat up the clock. Garrett is one of the rare defensive players capable of taking over a game by himself and the Chiefs have built a bad habit of playing down to their opponent. Complacency has killed so many pre-anointed Super Bowl champions. Will the Chiefs fall victim to their own pronounced success?

NFL Divisional Round Previews

What’s the NFL Playoffs schedule in 2021?

  • Wild Card games: January 9-10

  • Divisional games: January 16-17

  • Conference championships: January 24

  • Super Bowl: February 7

NFL Divisional Round Schedule

Saturday January 16

Time (ET)

Matchup

Stream in Canada

4:35 p.m.

Rams at Packers

DAZN

8:05 p.m.

Ravens at Bills

DAZN

NFL Divisional Round Schedule

Sunday January 17

Time (ET)

Matchup

Stream in Canada

3:05 p.m.

Browns at Chiefs

DAZN

6:40 p.m.

Bucs at Saints

DAZN

NFL AFC/NFC Conference Championship Schedule

Sunday January 24

Time

Matchup

Stream in Canada

TBD

TBD

DAZN

TBD

TBD

DAZN

NFL Super Bowl 55 Schedule

Sunday February 7

Time

Matchup

Stream in Canada

TBD

AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion

DAZN

More NFL Playoffs on Yahoo Sports