Bills vs. Chiefs AFC Championship Game Preview

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

The AFC concludes with the 1 and 2 seed facing off against each other in Arrowhead. The Bills come in having beaten the Colts and the Ravens, while the Chiefs won last week despite losing their QB for the final quarter of the game.

Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs

at Arrowhead Stadium

How do the Bills win?

The Bills have been described as “Chiefs lite” and it’s easy to see why, they’re very pass-heavy, move the ball quickly, and can put up scores in minutes if needed. Last week was the prime example as they went 20 mins or so before even attempting a run play against the Ravens. They come into this one as 3rd priced in Superbowl Odds.

Josh Allen has a huge arm, and the signing of Stefon Diggs in the off-season gave him arguably the best route runner in the league who also has the ability to get downfield and his arm enables him to do that. Accuracy was a frequent knock on Allen, but that’s much improved this season too up from 58.8% a year ago to nearly 70% this season. His mobility helps a lot as well, they roll him out a lot, and he’s been quite accurate on the run.

They’re not all Diggs on offense though, John Brown bounced back after doing nothing in the wildcard game, Gabriel Davis has mixed in well this season when required and Cole Beasley nearly hit 1,000 yards on the season as the possession receiver in the middle of the field.

With Zack Moss out for the season, the run game is pretty much non-existent although Devin Singletary is a good pass-catcher out of the backfield, and can pull off some good runs. He’s ran for 46 yards on 10 attempts in their 2 post-season games. Devonta Freeman should be available after joining the team, but the best threat on the ground is Josh Allen.

They’ve probably got a better defense than the Chiefs here, Tre’davious White is one of the best corners in the league, he and Tremaine Edmunds made the pro-bowl this year, and Edmunds was an important part of stopping the Ravens run game last week.

How do the Bills win? By being the Chiefs.

Will the Chiefs have Mahomes?

This is the big question for the week. Obviously right now we don’t know, but my thoughts are that he’ll be available. It was a strange incident as there wasn’t any head-to-head clash and he didn’t hit his head on the ground, however, he was grabbed around the neck and many think it was pressure on the carotid artery which caused a lack of blood to the brain and resulted in the light-headedness that Mahomes suffered. I think that’s better than a concussion and that he’ll be available for this weekend.

Mahomes is the best QB in the league, so obviously if he’s playing the Chiefs are the rightful favorites and probably by more than a field goal. If he doesn’t play then it will be Chad Henne who came in and finished the game off well enough last week despite one terrible interception thrown. IF he does have to play the whole game then I’d have the Bills are slight favorites.

Tyreek Hill finished the regular season with 17 TDs, good for second in the league and Travis Kelce at a tight end topped that position with 11. They’re the two main men in the passing game. White will likely try and cover Hill, while Kelce has a good matchup in the middle of the field where the Bills are weaker. Mecole Hardman was involved a lot last week, he’s Hill lite. Demarcus Robinson didn’t do much and Byron Pringle usually gets the odd catch.

They should welcome back Clyde Edwards-Helaire at running back which will help. Darrel Williams got most of the carries last week and did all right, and while Clyde isn’t great on the ground, he has put up yards in games and is a very good pass-catcher out of the backfield. Williams and LeVeon Bell will likely still get some usage.

They’ve been good enough to get the job done on defense, and Tyrann Mathieu was making plays all over the field last weekend including the interception on Baker while Chris Jones gets enough pressure up front to disrupt opposing QBs.

Who wins?

It all depends on Mr. Mahomes really. I personally think if he plays, they win the game, I think the Chiefs are the best team in the league and while this is going to be a test for them, especially after not covering the Bookmakers spread in their last 9 games, I think they’ll get the job done.

They really are very similar teams so it should be a high-scoring affair and even with the total priced high the sensible bet seems like it would be to take the overs, but I’m confident in Mahomes playing and them covering the spread.

 

NFL Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -2.5 at -114 with Draftkings.

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