The Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) are coming off a thrilling home win on Monday Night Football and visit the Cleveland Browns (0-1) off a disappointing road loss. Almost 12 million viewers tuned in to watch the Chiefs hold off San Diego 21-14 in their regular-season opener, and the number will not even be close to that against a Browns team that could not finish off Tampa Bay last week.
Cleveland is a small home favorite ranging from -1 to -2.5 of the current NFL odds depending on where you shop following a 17-14 loss to the Bucs. New Browns starting quarterback Jake Delhomme threw two interceptions while backup running back Peyton Hillis also fumbled in a critical spot after they had led 14-10 going into the fourth quarter. Starting running back Jerome Harrison totaled 52 yards on nine carries and will look for some more magic against Kansas City after last year’s meeting.
Harrison exploded for 286 yards rushing and three touchdowns in a 41-34 win over the Chiefs last December, which is the third-most in NFL history. Kick returner Josh Cribbs also scored two touchdowns in the victory, which was missing Kansas City defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey due to a knee injury. Dorsey recorded six tackles and half of a sack in the win against the Chargers.
The Chiefs turned in a stellar defensive effort last week against the reigning top scoring offense in the AFC, frustrating San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers despite the fact that he finished with 298 yards and two touchdowns. They sacked Rivers twice for 18 yards and pressured him all night long. The Chargers did win the battle for time of possession by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel did not make any mistakes but did not take any real chances either. Cassel ended up completing 10 of 22 passes for 68 yards with one touchdown and let his running backs do what they do best by simply moving the chains. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones combined for 131 rushing yards on 22 carries (11 each), including a 56-yard touchdown run by Charles toward the end of the first quarter that tied the game at 7-7.
Rookie kick returner Dexter McCluster showed his value to the Chiefs by setting a team record in the second quarter with a 94-yard punt return for a touchdown that gave them a commanding 21-7 lead before halftime. They also got solid contributions from rookie Javier Arenas on kick returns and safety Eric Berry in the defensive secondary.
The biggest issue for Kansas City in this game against the Browns will be how the team responds after such an important win to start the season. Cassel said the win over the Chargers “isn’t our Super Bowl” but the Chiefs will need to show they are still hungry and now beat a team they are supposed to beat, which is often easier said than done since they remain very young.
Maddux Sports will be releasing 5 NFL game picks for this Sunday’s card. Dont miss out on any of our pro football winners we release to clients and make week 2 a winning one.