Oddsmakers love Chiefs against Cleveland Browns, but why?

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 4: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 4: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Equalizer: Patrick Lavon Mahomes, Jr.

Patrick Mahomes, of course, is the player that people are calling the player of the century, at least until April when Trevor Lawrence will be the next player of the century. Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield is the guy who was kind of out of a job when Mahomes showed up at Texas Tech, and coach Kliff Kingsbury fell head over heels in love with him.

So this rivalry goes back several years. Coincidentally both Mahomes and Mayfield were drafted by the same person, John Dorsey. Both picks were ridiculed since everyone knows that good quarterbacks never come from the Big 12 systems.

The Chiefs have master strategist Andy Reid with an extra week to formulate a game plan to destroy the Browns defense, and perhaps that’s as good a reason as any for oddsmakers to project a blowout.

The Chiefs Big Three on offense is Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill. Bottom line, the NFL world believes that Mahomes can flip on a switch and throw guided missiles that will destroy the Browns. It doesn’t matter if they have missing offensive linemen or if the Browns have good players to cover the Chiefs receivers.

Mahomes is the $50 million per year quarterback. Earlier in this article, the theory was presented that Kelce may be the brother of Thor. Well, Mahomes may actually be Thor himself. He doesn’t throw footballs, he hurls lightning bolts, or so the story goes.

However, before going completely nuts, it’s fair to point out that the unofficial NFL combine record holder for ball velocity is not Patrick Mahomes. It’s Josh Allen. Do you know who the number two guy is? It’s Baker Mayfield. Some writers said Mayfield lacks arm strength, and they are entitled to write whatever they want.

However, in this writer’s opinion, you guys don’t know what you are talking about. This narrative is out of whack. How hard do you actually have to throw the ball to be an NFL quarterback? Truthfully, in reviewing the game film versus the Steelers, Mayfield gets only a B+. The reason he does not get an A is he threw a few balls too hard, notably to Rashard Higgins.

I don’t know who actually throws a faster ball between Mahomes and Mayfield, but I do know that they don’t put points on the scoreboard for miles per hour, it’s about touchdowns. For that matter, it doesn’t matter whether you do it by passing the ball or handing the ball off.

Still, Mahomes has the Super Bowl ring, and there is zero doubt he will perform for the Chiefs. Less clear is whether he is a quantum difference-maker to the extent that the rest of the team can basically be ignored in breaking down the game. Probably Mahomes deserves his ranking as the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL, and yet Mayfield has played at a top-10 level the second half of the season.

How many points is that worth? Usually, if a top quarterback is replaced by a backup, the impact is about six or seven points. Is Mahomes that much better than Mayfield? Or is it the rest of the team? In other words, to justify a -10 point spread, we pretty much have to believe that the rest of the Chiefs team is superior to the Browns, not just the quarterback.

The Browns do not have a Big Three in the same sense that the Chiefs do. Cleveland has Pro Bowl-caliber players in Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Jarvis  Landry, Kareem Hunt, Joel Bitonio, J.C. Tretter, Wyatt Teller, and Jack Conklin, though Conklin may not be his normal self with a pulled hamstring. Tretter and Teller have not been to a Pro Bowl, but their scores from Pro Football Focus suggest they probably belong.

This year, this writer has been having a friendly feud with Colin Cowherd all season long. I am a great fan of The Herd, not because I agree with everything he says, but on the contrary, I love talking sports and I listen to controversial but intelligent commentators. Anyway, Cowherd began the year criticizing Mayfield and the Browns, unfairly at times in this writer’s opinion, but eventually came away impressed.

For Sunday’s game, Cowherd warned that “upsets happen a lot more often in the Divisional Round than anyone wants to admit…This is the one to keep your eye on. I’m fascinated by it. I just cannot figure out the line…I ain’t betting it!”

The handicapping process confuses this writer also. Still, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas and Atlantic City live in comfortable mansions because they are smarter than I am, so I suppose we should listen to their insight. On the other hand, they play the games for a reason, too.

Next. 3 Predictions for Baker Mayfield in Divisional Round. dark

Upsets are possible. We will find out on Sunday. Okay Chiefs, prove to us you can just flip that switch.