There has been sufficient drama surrounding Sunday's AFC title game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
Patrick Mahomes, who was knocked out of last week's game against the Cleveland Browns when he ran with the ball, has passed through all the concussion protocols and has been declared good to go as his team meets up with the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.
The kickoff is slated for 6:40 PM ET.
BUFFALO BILLS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, 6:40 PM ET (CBS)
BetOnline AFC Championship Odds:
Chiefs -3 (-105), Total 54.5
Should we discuss the previous meeting between these teams first? In that one, the Chiefs pounded out a 26-17 victory. And when we say "pounded out," we really mean it. They took the ground route, carving 245 rushing yards through the Buffalo defense. That is something the Bills have to deal with.
The reason we say THAT is because it's our feeling that they will do what worked last time until the Bills demonstrate they can stop it. And maybe they'll kill the clock a little.
Some people are more concerned with Mahomes' toe, which got hurt against the Browns, than they are with any concussion issues. Will the leverage he gets when he throws be altered? We've seen that before. How will his mobility be affected?
We don't know. But consider that the conditions won't be all that much different than they were in the first meeting. It will be WET. In the words of the meteorologist at Fox4 in Kansas City, "rainy, drizzly, mist is going to be falling from the sky." They added that in the second half, winds would be expected to increase to about 15 miles an hour.
A couple of other things to mention - the defense is not what either team is known for, but they both have their good points. The Bills are seventh best in the league in preventing explosive plays. And they allowed just 17.1 ppg in their last eight games, compared to 26.5 in their first ten. That's called improvement. Can they hold Tyreek Hill to 20 yards on three receptions again? Probably not. But they'll be okay.
Kansas City's defense has surrendered the second fewest yards in the NFL to wide receivers. Wow, you weren't expecting to hear that, were you? But it's true. If Buffalo had a dynamic tight end like Travis Kelce, or a star pass-catcher out of the backfield, that would be one thing. But they don't. In conditions that will be similar today, Josh Allen threw for just 122 yards in Week 6, and 24% of his passes were determined by the metrics folks to be "uncatchable."
Maybe the Bills are lucky that the Chiefs have made things very close down the stretch, with their last eight wins by an average of four points, and it is not because they have been so generous on defense. They have scored better than 30 points in only one of their last seven games. And this is very much an "under" team at home; the Chiefs have gone under the total 59.4% of the time at Arrowhead since Andy Reid has been the head coach. This might be a tighter defensive and ground battle than most people expect. Yes, UNDER.
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