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Here's How Baker Mayfield Can Dominate the Chiefs Defense

Jason Schandl
This is the key to Baker Mayfield being able to dominate the Kansas City Chiefs defense in their NFL Playoff Divisional Round matchup.
This is the key to Baker Mayfield being able to dominate the Kansas City Chiefs defense in their NFL Playoff Divisional Round matchup. / Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It's no secret that the Cleveland Browns want to run the ball, and both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt could be in for a big day against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that struggles against the ground game.

Running the ball may not be enough, however. Keeping up with the insane output of Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense means that Baker Mayfield will need to get the job done through the air as well.

Luckily for Browns fans, there's a perfect area of weakness for Baker and company to exploit.

Baker Mayfield vs Chiefs Matchup

Ranking a solid enough 16th against the pass by Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA metric, KC's defense has done more than enough to keep their opponents in check while the offense racks up enough points that they can't be caught.

Their defensive lineup isn't solid across the board, however. Instead, it features some good-to-great players (Tyrann Mathieu, Bashaud Breeland, L'Jarius Sneed, Chris Jones) as well as some truly underwhelming players.

These weaknesses tend to come in the same area, as well. Their top three linebackers all struggle mightily in coverage. ProFootballFocus' coverage grades for the unit include a 57.1 for passing-down LB Ben Niemann, and then just a 46.1 for Anthony Hitchens and 42.0 for Damien Wilson.

Safeties Daniel Sorensen (58.5) and Juan Thornhill (55.5) don't fare much better.

With solid corners both those weaknesses over the middle, it's not going to be Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins that prove to be the key to the Cleveland passing attack.

Instead, Mayfield will need to turn his focus to Austin Hooper at the tight end spot and Kareem Hunt out of the backfield.

Combining their usually elite rushing attack with a smart offensive gameplan that positions Mayfield to exploit the Chiefs' weaknesses will give the Browns the best chance at scoring an upset win over the Chiefs, who FanDuel Sportsbook has as a 10-point favorite.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.