AFC wild-card preview: Dolphins and Chiefs prepare to meet in the cold

When the Miami Dolphins boarded their flight this week, the temperature was somewhere around the mid-70s. When they land in Kansas City, it was in the single digits and expected to get colder.

The extreme weather forecast for the Dolphins' game against the Kansas City Chiefs will be the biggest story heading into Saturday night. Dolphins-Chiefs could be one of the coldest games in NFL history. The National Weather Service has a forecast of partly cloudy with a low of -10 degrees, with a wind chill of -23 and -30. Winds will range from 14-18 mph to gusts as high as 29 mph. Maybe Taylor Swift will stay at home for this one.

The frigid conditions will affect both teams, especially the one from South Florida.

Dolphins (11-6) at Chiefs (11-6)

Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Peacock

Betting line: Chiefs -4.5, total of 43.5

Super Bowl odds: Dolphins +1600, Chiefs +900

Why we're watching

In theory, this is a matchup between two of the best offenses in the NFL.

The cold weather could limit both offenses. The Chiefs have been more inconsistent on offense this season than we're used to. But it could still end up being a fun matchup between Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes. It will also be fun to see Tyreek Hill back at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since a massive trade sent him to the Dolphins.

Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins is tackled by Trent McDuffie of the Kansas City Chiefs in a meeting earlier this season. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

The Dolphins were second in the NFL in points and first in yards. That offense has been slowed lately due to injuries. Receiver Jaylen Waddle (ankle) and Raheem Mostert (knee/ankle) have missed two games, though they did practice on a limited basis to start the week. Their returns are key for Miami, which still has the ability to explode for 40 points in any game.

The Chiefs took a step back on offense this season, particularly due to drops and general poor play from wide receivers. It's still an offense led by Mahomes at quarterback, and it's possible the Chiefs get hot in the playoffs. We've just waited a long time for that to happen.

What could put us to sleep

Perhaps you'll want a nap after trying to find the game. The NFL is putting the game on Peacock, NBC's streaming channel. You'll need a subscription to watch. It's going to create a lot of angry fans once they realize the game isn't on regular television (it will be on traditional over-the-air channels in the Kansas City and Miami markets).

Even Chiefs defensive lineman Charles Omenihu was shocked by the Peacock news. He couldn't believe the game would be streaming only and offered to give away 90 subscriptions.

It's a bold move by the NFL to have a playoff game on a streaming service, one that could have people giving up and going to bed early.

Wild card of this wild card

It sounds strange to say, but it might be Travis Kelce. It has been a long time since we've seen Kelce be dominant. It's hard to know what to expect from him on Saturday.

He had a 179-yard game on Oct. 22, and since then he has been good but not necessarily great. He does not have a 100-yard game since then. He has an unremarkable 45-459-1 line over his last nine games (he didn't play in the regular-season finale). That's 51 yards per game. The Chiefs weren't ready for Kelce, who is 34 years old, to take a step back. They need him to be the focal point of the offense and while it's hard to count out an all-time great like Kelce, he hasn't been at an elite level in months. If Kelce can rediscover that form and put up some 100-yard games in the postseason, it changes the Chiefs' trajectory.

Person we'll likely praise after the victory

When the Chiefs and Dolphins met in Germany back in Week 9, the Chiefs won 21-14 and cornerbacks L'Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie were big reasons. Hill had just 62 yards. Sneed didn't give up any catches to Hill on just one target, according to Pro Football Focus. McDuffie was responsible for six catches by Hill, according to PFF, but only 45 yards. McDuffie also forced a big fumble by Hill that was returned for a touchdown.

The Chiefs made it a point to be physical with Hill and it worked pretty well. Hill had a fantastic season — though he hasn't had a 100-yard game since suffering an ankle injury since Week 14 — and the Chiefs' ability to contain him will be a huge factor in Saturday night's game.

Person we'll likely second-guess after the loss

For some reason, many are slow to come around to Tua Tagovailoa being a top-tier quarterback. Critics will jump all over him and the Dolphins if they're one-and-done in the playoffs. You can't talk about the Dolphins for long before someone brings up their struggles against winning teams. Back-to-back losses to the Ravens and Bills to end the regular season didn't change that narrative. The focus generally shifts from the Dolphins' struggles against winning teams to Tagovailoa, who hasn't played great the last couple weeks. If the Dolphins don't win at Kansas City, prepare for another offseason of skepticism about Tagovailoa.