This is now his third time that Mahomes has made the NFL’s divisional round of the playoffs as a starter in the past three seasons. He’s taking things up a notch knowing that it’s win or go home time for him and his teammates. Travis Kelce even revealed that Mahomes got a head start on preparation for the Cleveland Browns during the course of the Chiefs’ bye week.
“You can tell that he’s been doing his homework for the past week and a half,” Kelce said of Mahomes on Wednesday. “Just talking to him, him understanding what every single team that we could possibly face is doing defensively. Sure enough, as soon as we found out on Sunday who we were playing, he was right there and had a whole notebook ready for the Cleveland Browns. I think right now we’re in the process of figuring out the gameplan and I think like I said, what Pat does best is communicating exactly what he’s seeing and how he feels we need to attack the defense. All those conversations are extremely relevant toward the game.”
So how did Mahomes create a whole notebook worth of notes and begin preparing for the Browns prior to knowing they’d be the divisional round opponent for Kansas City? It was all part of his bye week process.
“Yeah, I mean, right when the bye week started and we knew who seeds were for the 7, 6, 5, 4 — all those seeds that we could possibly play — I took a day where I watched about four or five games of each team,” Mahomes explained. “Just trying to get a general feel of what the defense is presenting and what offenses are doing to try and attack them, from different teams and different offenses. So I had a days worth of film on the Browns, so whenever we found that out I was able to look back at that and look at my notes and try to see how it presents to us.”
Many expected the Chiefs to place greater emphasis during the bye week on the three teams they hadn’t yet played this season. One of those teams, of course, was Cleveland. However, the Browns and Chiefs did share four common opponents this season — The Ravens, Raiders, Texans and Jets. Mahomes revealed that some of those opponents were part of his film study. He also revealed the types of things that he was looking for in the film.
“They definitely were,” Mahomes said. “You see those different offenses and they do a lot of similar things that we do. Then I try to look at offenses like the Texans and stuff like that, that do a lot of similar types of stuff that we do as well as Philly and all these other teams. If you try to take away from the formations that they’re in that are similar to ours, even though we do different things out of those formations, you can kind of see where their defense is at and how they’re combatting that. Then you know they’re going to make adjustments and we’re going to have to be able to make adjustments during the game.”
While Mahomes did get a bit of a head start on his preparation, this is really nothing new or different from what he’s been doing all season long. He claims the only thing that changes this week for the team in terms of their preparation is their intensity.
“I think you just take your intensity up a level,” Mahomes said. “I mean it’s still the same preparation, you just maybe try to dive deeper into the film study, dive deeper into the breakdowns and the different ways you can go out there and have success against a defense. But just to take it to another level is the biggest thing.”
During the ensuing week of practice, they’ll put that raised intensity level to the test as they continue to work on ways to attack the Browns’ defense.