- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
One step away from advancing to their first Super Bowl since their streak of four straight, the Bills have a big task ahead. In potentially advancing to the final game played in the NFL this season, Buffalo (13-3) will have to beat the team that won that exact game just a year ago.
But the Chiefs (14-2) have a distinct difference about them as opposed to Buffalo’s first two opponents in the postseason. The Bills already played the Chiefs just this season,
Still, a lot has changed for both since then, so let’s do an early-week deep dive on the Bills’ upcoming opponent now. Here’s everything to know about Kansas City ahead of the AFC Championship Game:
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
As things go with the NFL's concussion protocol, things are pretty much a day-by-day update. Because of this, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who suffered a concussion in the Divisional round vs. the Browns, will have his status updated daily. As of now, the latest reports say that Mahomes has a chance to practice on Wednesday. Bills Wire will update that throughout the week. Stay locked in here.
Draft Day trades
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
While Mahomes has never played for the Bills, he will always be connected to them. Buffalo's current QB in Josh Allen has certainly turned a corner in 2020, but he's still not quite up to Mahomes' status. The reason for the connection is the 2017 NFL Draft day trade. The Bills moved back in a deal with the Chiefs, allowed Kansas City to draft him at No. 10 overall. A couple years later, Mahomes is a Super Bowl champion, MVP and All-Pro. But Allen and Mahomes are connected personally, in a way, because of that deal as well. There were several trades that helped the Bills move up at the 2018 Draft to eventually land Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, including deals with the Bengals and Bucs, but the extra 2018 first-round pick the Bills got in that Mahomes deal certainly helped. Furthermore, the Bills got cornerback Tre'Davious White, directly, from that trade. Kind of a win and win/ win/ win scenario for the Chiefs/ Bills, respectively.
Last time around
Bills free safety Jordan Poyer. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
As referenced, these two teams faced off earlier this season. That occurred in Week 6. The Bills lost 26-17, and like their game last week against the Ravens via Lamar Jackson, the Bills lost a prior matchup... but held the quarterback at bay. In Week 6, Mahomes only had 225 passing yards on 21-for-26 passing. He did have two touchdown passes but this is Mahomes we're talking. Not his best stuff in Week 6. Instead, it was rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire who led the way. He had 161 rushing yards and as a team the Chiefs had 245 against the Bills defense. ... and speaking of "last time" ... these two teams have met in the AFC title game before as well and that's the most-recent time they've met in the postseason. That was back in January 1994. The Bills won 30-13. Neither Mahomes nor Allen had been born yet.
In town thanks to Chad
Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
So if Mahomes didn't finish out last weekend, who did under center? Chad Henne is your answer. The journeyman backup did his job, though. He was 6-for-8 passing for 66 passing yards with an interception. He also had 12 yards rushing to extend a late drive. Plus, he set history, kind of. Per Pro Football Reference: https://twitter.com/pfref/status/1350946014304366593?s=19
Note on lone loss
Raiders wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Let's keep this simple because most people would call the Chiefs the favorite because of one thing: Their record. At 14-2, the Chiefs were the AFC's best team in 2020. Their lone loss (with starters) was an interesting one to note. It came against the Raiders. The Raiders are in their division, meaning they played them twice in 2020 and split the games. The final score was 40-32 and it was at Arrowhead Stadium. So the Chiefs lost one of their two games against the Raiders this season in a shootout at home, you say? Hmmm...
Teacher vs. student, of sorts
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, right, greets Bills head coach Sean McDermott. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
It seems only like yesterday but Andy Reid actually has been in Kansas City for awhile now... eight total seasons. Prior to that he was with the Eagles and you probably know this, but he hired Bills head coach Sean McDermott back in the day... he also fired him as his defensive coordinator. But on the more-recent Chiefs version of Reid, he did set some franchise records just last week. His 11 playoff games as their head coach and six wins in those are both club records, post-Browns. Again looking at his entire career track record... Reid is 2-5 all-time in conference championship games.
Banged up/ former first-rounder(s)
Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Sammy Watkins? Yup, still plays for the Chiefs. But will he play vs. the Bills? Who knows. He did not practice at all last week and missed the Browns game due to a calf issue and was ruled out on Friday. He also did not play in Week 6 vs. the Bills. In another first-round pick related note, Edwards-Helairewas was questionable last week heading into Sunday. He ended up not playing due to an ankle injury. Along with Mahomes, these are two hugely important injuries to keep note of.
Record-setting tight end
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Travis Kelce is potentially the toughest thing for the Bills defense to worry about this week. He has the records to prove it. This season his 1,416 receiving yards made him the first-ever tight end in NFL history to record five-straight 1,000-yard seasons. That number was also the No. 2 overall receiving yards number for anyone in the NFL. Behind only Bills wideout Stefon Diggs (1,535), of course. In addition to Kelce, we had to mention Tyreek Hill as well. He had 1,399 total yards from scrimmage. Combined, the Chiefs were only one of two teams in the NFL (Vikings) to have two players appear in the top-12 in terms of all-purpose yards in the NFL this year.
Red-zone edge for Bills
Bills' John Brown. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
The Bills had one distinct thing they must exploit vs. the Chiefs. Their red zone defense was the worst in the NFL in 2020. They allowed a touchdown 77.5 percent of the time. On offense, the Chiefs were much better. Here's the full breakdown red zone breakdown for both teams in the red zone:
Chiefs: 59.38% (15th)
Bills: 62.5% (12th)
Chiefs: 77.5% (32nd)
Bills: 60.6% (14th)
Third-down equation continues
Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)
In the same comparison manner, third downs for these two teams are... very similar. Here's how those breakdown because as we know, staying on the field on offense and getting off of it on defense always makes a difference:
Chiefs: 50.5% (1st)
Bills: 47.4% (4th)
Chiefs: 41.3% (17th)
Bills: 40.9% (15th)
Similar penalty, turnover numbers
A football and penalty flags, Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Different team, same week. Last week's Divisional round featured two teams in the Bills and Ravens that took a lot of penalties and had similar numbers in terms of turnovers. The Chiefs are oddly similar to the Bills and Ravens in these areas. The Chiefs took 105 total penalties this season, third-most in the NFL. The Bills were at 102. Look at turnovers, the Chiefs had a plus-six number in regard to turnover differential (22 takeaways, 16 giveaways) and the Bills are at plus-four (26, 22).
Stealing their trophy?
American Football League owners meet. Left to right, front: Harry Wismer, New York Titans; Joe Foss, of the AFC; Lamar Hunt, Dallas and Bud Adams, Houston. Rear from left are: Bill Sullivan, Boston; Chet Soda, Oakland; Ralph Wilson, Buffalo and Bill Howsam, Denver. The AFL launched in 1960. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)
Lamar Hunt and Ralph Wilson Jr., original owners of the Chiefs and Bills, respectively, are two of the AFL founders from way back in the day. Little note: If the Bills win and advance to the Super Bowl, they will get a trophy for doing that. It's called the Lamar Hunt Trophy... Fun fact: The Chiefs were originally the Dallas Texans, moving to Kansas City in 1963.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, left, greets Bills quarterback Josh Allen. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Ready you ready for some offese? 2020 final offense rankings in terms of yards per game:
Chiefs: 415.8 (1st)
Bills: 396.4 (2nd)
The Bills did have the scoring edge in the end at 31.3 points per game (2nd) to the Chiefs' 29.6 (5th).
Individual records for their team this year
Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs . (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
In hosting the Bills on Sunday, the Chiefs will make some history in the AFC. No team has ever hosted the AFC title game three years in a row until now. In addition, they've also won five-straight AFC West titles. That's tied for the longest-streak ever in their division. The AFC West has never had a team like the Patriots in it.
Eric Bieniemy. Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Teams like winners, and like Brian Daboll, the Chiefs have an offensive coordinator that's doing the interview rounds for head coaching vacancies this offseason. Eric Bieniemy is that guy. However, like Daboll, he has still yet to be "hired" yet (teams can't hire either until their current teams loses). On the flip side, Daboll has reportedly said he's done interviewing and won't be leaving. Bieniemy is currently still keeping his options open, having had interviews with the Eagles and Texans.
Defense is status quo
Bills wide receiver Andre Roberts. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
The Chiefs are certainly more known for their offense. But what's up with their defense as of late? Well, as compared to their Super Bowl winning unit last season... they're about status quo and haven't moved much in the rankings as compared to a year ago.
Points per game: 19.3 (7th)
Total per game: 349.6 (17th)
Pass defense 221.4 (8th)
Run defense: 128.2 (26th)
Points per game: 22.6 (T-11th)
Total per game: 358.3 (T-16th)
Pass defense: 236.2 (14th)
Run defense: 122.1 (21st)
Been hosting fans for awhile
Arrowhead Stadium. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills have only had fans in their stands for their past two playoff games at home. The Chiefs haven't bought into the COVID-19 safety protocols as much, by comparison, at least. The Chiefs will host near 17,000 fans on Sunday, a ton more than 6,700 like that Bills had. Plus, a bit looser general safety protocol, including no COVID-19 test requirement to enter.