Chiefs vs. Browns preview: AFC Divisional rematch on tap Sunday

Posted at 9:00 AM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-12 15:25:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The last time the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs met Patrick Mahomes got knocked out, but Chad Henne delivered the knockout blow during an AFC Divisional showdown at Arrowhead Stadium.

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Henne’s fourth-and-1 conversion to Tyreek Hill on the heels of a touchdown-saving forced fumble at the goal line from Dan Sorenson propelled Kansas City into a third straight AFC Championship Game — and ultimately on to a second consecutive Super Bowl — that day.

Now, the Chiefs’ home field has a new name, GEHA Field, and expects a crowd four times as big as the Browns hit town again for the 2021 season opener, which kicks off at 3:25 p.m. on CBS.

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Hoping to beef up its pass rush even more, the Browns signed defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to pair opposite Myles Garrett, and also added Malik Jackson via free agency on the interior.

Clowney missed practice with an illness this week, but the Browns promise to provide a stern challenge for Kansas City’s remade offensive line, which features five new starters — including three first-year players in center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith and right tackle Lucas Niang.

Cleveland also had a banged-up secondary, according to the Week 1 injury report, which could play to the Chiefs’ strength with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his favorite targets — wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, who combined for 192 catches, 2,692 yards and 26 touchdowns last season.

Still, Denzel Ward gives the Browns a shutdown option outside, in addition to its pass rush as counters to Kansas City’s aerial assault.

The Chiefs have injury concerns of their own.

All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week, casting doubt on his availability against the Browns.

He’s stayed connected with the team thanks to technology, but still needs two negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart before he could be reinstated.

Kansas City will definitely be without starting linebacker Willie Gay Jr., who will miss at least the first three weeks of the season after being placed on injured reserve.

Still, it’s September and, for Mahomes, that generally means one thing: dominance. He’s 10-0 with 32 touchdowns and no interceptions during his career in the opening month of the season.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who sprained an ankle during the preseason, is healthy and eager to build off his rookie campaign.

Here’s what you need to know:

<h2>Tale of the tape: Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs</h2>

Passing yards/game303.4 (1)221.2 (24)
Completion %66.7 (110)62.9 (27)
QB rating107.3 (4)96.6 (12)
TD-Interception ratio40-7 (6)27-8 (14)
Rushing yards/game112.4 (16)148.4 (3)
Rushing yards/carry4.5 (11)4.8 (7)
Rushing TD13 (22)21 (5)
Scoring avg.29.6 (6)25.5 (14)
Third-down %49.0 (3)44.9 (7)
Red-zone %61.0 (14)73.6 (3)
Turnover ratio+6 (8)+5 (9)
Points/drive2.74 (4)2.38 (11)
Passing yards/game236.2 (14)247.6 (22)
Completion %62.7 (5)63.4 (9)
QB rating89.4 (10)94.8 (19)
TD-Interception ratio29-16 (22)31-11 (25)
Rushing yards/game122.1 (21)110.8 (9)
Rushing yards/carry4.5 (17)4.3 (13)
Rushing TD14 (10)16 (15)
Scoring avg.22.6 (11)26.2 (21)
Third-down %41.0 (18)43.9 (23)
Red-zone %76.6 (32)60.7 (14)
Points/drive2.10 (13)2.45 (23)

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If you are attending the game, fans are reminded that masks are required in indoor spaces at Arrowhead, per the Kansas City, Missouri, emergency order. They are not required in outdoor areas but are encouraged for unvaccinated individuals.

The Kansas City Symphony will perform the national anthem with colors presented by the Missouri National Guard and a B-2 flyover from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base.

Former coach Marty Schottenheimer, who died in February, will be remembered during a halftime ceremony.

Schottenheimer’s widow, Pat, and former Chiefs running back Christian Okoye will serve as the Drum Honorees for the opener.

Parking lots open at 11 a.m. for the game and all parking must be purchased in advance through the team’s online portal. The Ford Tailgate District opens at 11:30 a.m. in Lot M.

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As a reminder, the stadium is cashless for all concession stand and merchandise purchases and the NFL’s clear bag policy will be in effect as it is for all games at Arrowhead.

The CommunityAmerica Club Level opens at 1 p.m., while all other stadium gates will open at 1:30 p.m.

Team warmups begin at 2:25 p.m. with the Browns set to be introduced at 3:14 p.m. followed by the Chiefs at 3:15 p.m. prior to the national anthem at 3:19 p.m.

For fans not in attendance, Tony Romo and Jim Nantz will call the game for CBS and fans also can listen on WDAF-AM 106.5 The Wolf, while a Spanish-language broadcast will be available via Tico Sports on KPRS-FM 103.3 Hot 103 Jamz and KSSA-FM 105.9 La Ke Buena.