When the Bills (12-5) take on the Chiefs (13-5) in Kansas City in Sunday’s AFC Divisional playoff game (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS and Paramount+), it will be a highly anticipated rematch of the last year. AFC Championship Game. As the Chiefs try to make it their third straight conference title, the Bills want their first since the 1993-94 season.
Buffalo comes in with a lot of confidence after defeating rival New England in the wild card round. Kansas City also smashed its opponent, Pittsburgh. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes are playing quarterback at a high level after some early-season bulges.
Here’s how Sporting News sees the epic battle unfold, with the winner having a good shot at winning it all in Super Bowl 56 two rounds later:
Bills vs. Odds Chiefs for the NFL playoff game
- Spread: Bosses for 1.5
- Below: 54.5
- money line: Bills +108, Bosses -126
The Bills are gaining steam in this matchup to make it an essential pick ’em with the Chiefs’ home court advantage not getting the usual number. The plus/minus is based on how well Allen and Mahomes are lighting up defenses lately.
(bet odds per FanDuel bookmaker)
Bills vs. All-Time Series chiefs
The Bills lead 27-23-1 in their 51-game series over the years in the AFC. They won 38-20 at Kansas City in Week 5. Before that, the Chiefs held their serve with a solid 38-24 victory in last year’s AFC championship game. The Chiefs have won five of the last seven overall. The Bills are trying to do two in a row for the first time since 2011 and 2012.
Three Trends to Know
—57 of the spreads are really feeling the Bills here with a small number given that they had great success pairing up with the Chiefs in the regular season
—63 percent of over/under bettors still don’t think the near-50 total is high enough when Allen and Mahomes are quarterbacks.
—The Bills are 6-3-1 against the spread and 7-3 straight in their last 10 games, with six of those games over. The Chiefs are 7-3 ATS while going 9-1 SU in their last 10 with seven passing.
three things to see
Mahomes outscored the Steelers with 404 passing yards and 5 TDs, his most prolific game since similarly igniting the Raiders in Week 10. He was clicking with all his weapons. He’s been very efficient since week 14, being patient and letting the big plays come naturally from short range. He’s locked in on key guys Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce again at the right time with the added boom of complementary skill players.
Allen red hot again
Allen also had 5 touchdowns against the Patriots through the air, with his 308 yards. He also added 6 runs for 66 more yards. That was his best passing game since Week 5 against the Chiefs. Before that, he was a bit shaky for six weeks straight. He should be ready to take on Mahomes at the highest level in his biggest matchup yet.
Devin Singletary has been excellent as the Bills’ dedicated feature for the past five weeks. He’s playing well with Allen’s deep pass and run threat. He’s been especially good at finishing drives in the red zone as another key option with wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis and tight end Dawson Knox. McKinnon came out of nowhere to spark a banged-up backfield for the Chiefs, also showing off his special receiving skills. The focus is on the QBs, but whoever gets the most dynamic help next to him will have the biggest night and win the night, too.
Statistics that matter
The Chiefs and Bills were the top two third-down converting teams in the NFL during the regular season, and those were their impressive percentages. Kansas City is in a better position to keep the chains moving and one or two results other than punts or field goals can make the slightest difference needed in a tough, tight matchup.
Bills Prediction vs. chiefs
This game can be dissected in many ways, but with stepped-up defenses and traditional running games being big factors, it comes down to which QB to trust more, Allen or Mahomes. Although Allen is known to dominate games with his big arms and legs, Mahomes also has a lot of magic on his resume. The Bills really wanted this game to be at home, but some midseason hiccups cost them that key lead. Arrowhead and the more experienced young quarterback with Super Bowl acumen to boot allows the Chiefs to survive a wild afternoon.