CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 11, 2021.
With a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line, the Cleveland Browns will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
What follows are three keys for the Browns to beat the defending Super Bowl champions and advance to their first conference championship game appearance since the 1989 season.
It goes without saying, but the longer the Browns can hold onto the ball on Sunday, the less time Patrick Mahomes will have to make plays.
The reigning Super Bowl MVP, Mahomes has already established himself as one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in NFL history. Kansas City's offense is only made all the more dangerous by the presence of wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, who ranked as two of the top pass-catchers in the NFL this past season.
As a result, it would behoove the Browns to sustain long, clock-eating drives that preferably end with Cleveland points. Fortunately for the Browns, the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is plenty capable of helping Cleveland accomplish just that.
Establish the run
Another reason why it would behoove the Browns to force-feed Chubb and Hunt: the Chiefs are really bad at defending the run. According to Football Outsiders' DVOA, Kansas City ranked 31st in the NFL at defending the run, while Cleveland's rushing offense ranked seventh.
For all the attention the Chiefs offense gets -- and deservedly so -- there are clearly areas of their defense that can be exploited. Factor in the Browns' efficient passing game, and it might not be a surprise to see Sunday's matchup resemble the type of shootout that occurred when Baker Mayfield's Oklahoma and Mahomes' Texas Tech faced each other in 2016.
While Mahomes is undeniably a special player, he has shown vulnerabilities this season. In particular, the 2018 NFL MVP has thrown four interceptions in his last three games, including three in the Chiefs' 33-27 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 13.
Although Mayfield struggled with interceptions early in the 2020 season, he's only been picked off once since Cleveland's Oct. 25 win vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. While it's unlikely the Browns defense will intercept Mahomes four times as it did to Ben Roethlisberger in the wild card round, winning the turnover margin would go a long way toward ensuring Cleveland can keep Kansas City within striking distance.