5 AI-Powered Predictions for Chiefs vs. Dolphins: Wild Card Round

Five AI-powered predictions for Chiefs vs. Dolphins during the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs.

Getty Patrick Mahomes (left) and the Kansas City Chiefs will host Tyreek Hill (right) and the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs.

This weekend marks the first of the 2024 NFL Playoffs, and the league couldn’t have asked for a better matchup as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) play host to Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins (11-6).

As things stand on Wednesday, January 10, Heavy Sports’ projections powered by Quarter 4 give the Chiefs a narrow 52%-win probability at home. AccuWeather currently forecasts a RealFeel temperature of -20°F on the evening of January 13, with NNW 9-mph wind and wind gust of up to 22 mph. The weather description reads: “Partly to mostly cloudy and bitterly cold; dress warm; potentially the coldest home playoff game in Kansas City history.”

To help you prepare for this do-or-die Super Wild Card Weekend matchup, here are five predictions generated by Heavy Sports’ AI-powered projections model, powered by our partners at Quarter 4:

1. Dolphins Will Keep Score Closer Than Vegas Anticipates

As of January 10, the spread ranges from Chiefs -3.5 to Chiefs -4.5 on all seven of the major sportsbooks. SugarHouse is the only site offering -3.5 at the moment, while the other six are split evenly between -4.0 (MGM, FanDuel and Bet365) and -4.5 (ESPN Bet, DraftKings and PointsBet).

However, our Quarter 4 model projects a razor-thin line of Chiefs -1.0, which is dangerously close to a pick’em in the NFL world.

Obviously, three points is a massive number in football. A game-winning field goal can cover if the spread is -2.5 or below, while -3.5 or -4.0 puts a bettor at a tougher position to win.

The weather and injuries appear to have skewed the market toward Kansas City early on, being that the Dolphins profile as a warm weather team that has been suffering through a long list of ailments. Miami was also defeated by KC 21-14 in Week 9 (played in Germany).

2. Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill Is Expected to Reach 100 Receiving Yards

There has been a clear trend for the Dolphins this year. In each of the six games they’ve lost, superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill has not reached 100 scrimmage yards.

On the flip side, he’s reached that mark in every win he’s played in but two — and he had 99 scrimmage yards during the Dallas Cowboys victory. The one true outlier was Week 2 versus the New England Patriots.

That trend bodes well for Miami when you look at Quarter 4’s projections for Hill. Our model estimates a 100-yard receiving performance from “the Cheetah” — 6.8 receptions for 100.6 receiving yards to be exact.

It also predicts that Hill will score a touchdown against his former team.

Generally speaking, when Hill has put together outings like this, the Dolphins have won the game. Kansas City will look to stifle the playmaker and defy those projections this weekend.

3. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa Will Outduel Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes

Being that the Quarter 4 model likes Hill in this game, it’s not surprising that it also likes his quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins signal-caller is narrowly outdueling Patrick Mahomes in the current projections, which can be seen below:

  • Tagovailoa: 268.3 passing yards, 1.5 touchdowns, 0.5 interceptions, 72.4% completions, 3.3 sacks.
  • Mahomes: 266.9 passing yards, 1.5 touchdowns, 0.5 interceptions, 67.3% completions, 2.9 sacks.

The one area Mahomes has Tagovailoa beat is sacks, but don’t let that discourage you Chiefs fans. These statistics are so similar that the outcome could go either way, which agrees with the estimated line of Chiefs -1.0.

Top targets for each quarterback are expected to be the aforementioned Hill, Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle (5.5 receptions for 78.9 yards), Chiefs WR Rashee Rice (6.1 receptions for 71.6 yards) and Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (4.6 receptions for 52.8 yards).

4. Chiefs Beat Dolphins at Own Game: Isiah Pacheco & Clyde Edwards-Helaire Outproduce De’Von Achane & Raheem Mostert

Considering the weather, both teams rushing attacks will be key in this game. At times, the Chiefs have relied heavily on second-year running back Isiah Pacheco and company, while they’ve stuck to the pass in other situations.

This week, Quarter 4 projects an emphasis on the run for KC, with Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire outproducing Dolphins RBs De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert.

Once again, it’s a narrow edge, but Pacheco and “CEH” are expected to combine for 85.8 rushing yards and one touchdown (with 64.5 yards coming from the former) while Achane and Mostert are only combining for 78.0 rushing yards and 0.8 touchdowns according to Quarter 4.

If you include receiving projections, Pacheco and Edwards-Helaire stretch that gap even further, with an estimated 41.5 yards through the air compared to just 28.8 from Miami’s backfield.

5. Chiefs & Dolphins Will Score More Points Than Vegas Anticipates

Circling back to the seven major sportsbooks, Quarter 4 is also predicting a higher total for over/under bets.

While MGM, DraftKings and PointsBet currently have the total at 44.0, SugarHouse has settled at an even lower score with an over/under of 43.5. Finally, FanDuel, Bet365 and ESPN Bet are currently giving users a total of 44.5.

Despite that, our model estimates a total of 47.0 — which is 2.5 points more than the nearest sportsbook and at least 3.0 points greater than the majority.

During the 2023 regular season, Miami achieved a total of 47 points or higher in 11 out of 17 games, but their opponent kept scorelines lower. In 17 outings this year, Kansas City only produced a point total of 47 or higher four times.

For reference, the Chiefs and Dolphins’ first matchup produced a total of 35.