This is the third time these teams will meet in the playoffs in four years, but the first time the matchup comes in Buffalo. The Bills have been winning games, but they have not been dominant, and the same thing could be said about the Chiefs. The Chiefs defense has led them to this point, while a resurgent run game and Josh Allen have gotten the Bills to this game. Can Patrick Mahomes get it done on the road in the Playoffs? We are about to find out!
Buffalo’s injury report leaves much to be desired on Friday, as CB Christian Benford (knee) was officially ruled out, while CB Taron Johnson (concussion; questionable) and LB Terrel Bernard (ankle; questionable) remain uncertain as of Saturday morning.
Buffalo made significant defensive improvements during the second half, and Bernard was an integral component of that improvement as he replaced Matt Milano’s production following his early season injury. It is anticipated that Rasul Douglas (knee; questionable) may return soon to their secondary, although injuries don’t restrict themselves exclusively to defensive players.
Gabe Davis (knee) has been ruled out, while Stefon Diggs is still dealing with an unknown foot condition despite showing up with limited blocking ability in Monday’s win on several plays, and was only considered “limited at best” during Friday practice.
Diggs and Davis are two of the Bills’ primary wideouts, so without them, their explosiveness will be severely limited. That will place more stress on Joe Brady as offensive coordinator to utilize more run plays than before.
Buffalo may be 7-1 since replacing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator, but that does not indicate its offense has improved dramatically since. Buffalo’s primary advancement has come on defense.
Kansas City had issues in the red zone this season, but they were absent in the Wild Card win over the Dolphins.
Travis Kelce looked healthier and more spry after a week off, and now he gets an extra day for this game as well. Rashee Rice has emerged as a relatively reliable offensive piece. The Chiefs will also have Isiah Pacheco, who didn’t play in the last meeting between these teams.
Don’t look now, but that’s two consecutive high-success rate games for Kansas City’s offence. The Chiefs moved the ball at will against Cincinnati in Week 17, and last week, they ran 75 plays and averaged 5.5 yards per play in terrible offensive conditions against the Steelers.
Kansas City now faces a relatively depleted defense for the second straight week. It seems crazy to say this, given their well-documented offensive woes, but the Chiefs’ pass offense looks considerably healthier and more reliable right now than Buffalo’s.
Josh Allen will be out to prove himself in this one, and if the Bills are to win, Allen will have to have a big game. Look for the Bills running game to lighten some of the load off Allen’s shoulders. This should be a close, hard, hard-fought game. Pick Bills 23 Chiefs 17.
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