And Then There Were Two – Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs AFC Championship Preview

The best two teams in the AFC are left staring at each other as the Buffalo Bills head to the midwest to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. The battle of two of the most exciting teams in the NFL will culminate with an AFC Championship for one of these worthy teams. But which one will it be?

 

Keys To The Game

Buffalo

Beating the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium will be no easy task. The Bills don’t run the ball well nor do they use dominate the time of possession during the game on average, so that means they must make the Chiefs work for everything on offense.

If Patrick Mahomes does not clear concussion protocol for this game, then that task becomes a little bit easier. If he does, then the Bills will have to keep everything in front of them and make the Chiefs work for their points, limiting the big plays. The more plays the Chiefs have to run to score, the more probability they’ll make a mistake. Buffalo can capitalize on that with their outstanding passing offense.

Kansas City

Not knowing whether Mahomes will be able to play or not, the Chiefs have to be creative getting the ball to their playmakers, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Picking up Le’Veon Bell could be the biggest signing of this year due to the fact that the Chiefs might have to lean on Bell this Sunday.

The Chiefs face an offense that is magical in the passing game. You would think shutting down his favorite passing target would be the key to the game but the key here is quarterback Josh Allen and containing him.

Time-and-time again, Allen has escaped the pass rush to his right and hurt teams all season long. In this game, the Chiefs need to force him to his left, limiting the options and the comfortability of him throwing the football while under duress. The more the Chiefs can do that, the more the Chiefs can limit his effectiveness provided they can get pressure on him.

 

Key Players

Buffalo – Tremaine Edmunds; Linebacker: There aren’t many names people outside of Buffalo know when it comes to the Bills’ defense but Edmunds should be one of them. The third-year linebacker from Virginia Tech started off slow this season but has come on as the season has continued and is playing especially well in the playoffs, with 18 totals tackles in two games.

It isn’t just about the tackles when it comes to Edmunds. He is the tone-setter at middle linebacker for this team and if he is playing well and flying around the field, the defense usually follows his lead.

Kansas City – Frank Clark; Defensive End: The veteran defensive end hasn’t quite had the season he wanted to this year. In fact, the Chiefs were probably hoping for more than six sacks in the regular season and zero in the playoffs from a guy they paid a ton of money for.

However, in this game, all he has to do is contain and sack Josh Allen. Hopefully for Clark, the left side of the defense pushes Allen towards him, making his job a little bit easier, especially since the Bills don’t have a running game that scares anyone.

 

Prediction

The Bills just cannot run the football effectively and the empty possessions plays right into the hands of the Chiefs offense and presumably Mahomes (if he is cleared to play from his concussion next Sunday). If Henne plays instead of Mahomes, it may take longer but the results will still be the same, Kansas City 33, Buffalo 23.

 

Mike Patton

Nashville, Tennessee

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