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The Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills are set to square off in an AFC Championship game for the ages. Both teams are headlined by young star QBs and brilliant head coaches.
This AFC Championship is an even affair, and you can make cases for both teams in what is expected to be a fast-paced, high-scoring game.
So that’s exactly what I did.
Here are 3 cases for a Chiefs and Bills win.
Explosiveness from the start:
One thing the Chiefs are great at is scoring from the start. The Chiefs are near the top of every quarter in scoring and point differential, and scoring points from the start will be huge.
This is Josh Allen’s first AFC Championship Game, while it’s Patrick Mahomes third, third straight that is.
An electric start, as the Chiefs often have, will put the pressure right into Allen’s hands to keep the Bills alive and compete with the Chiefs.
The Chiefs defense has looked decent all year, but they certainly showed up big-time in their previous game against Baker Mayfield and the Browns.
Tyrann Mathieu put on a show, and even on snaps where he didn’t make the tackle, Mathieu’s movement forced many big plays and stops for the Chiefs.
Mathieu will need to put on another big showing to stop a Chiefs offense that is hot right now.
One thing to watch out for is how the Chiefs defense contains Josh Allen. Stopping Stefon Diggs seems to be many people's main focus, and for a good reason, but Allen is able to use his legs when needed. He’s a solid runner.
One thing Allen was struggling with during the Ravens game was the deep ball, he was often inaccurate when moving downfield.
It’ll be interesting to see what the scheme is to contain a very versatile Chiefs offense.
Admit it - Patrick Mahomes wins games. It’s plain and simple.
Mahomes suffered a concussion in the Chiefs divisional-round matchup against the Browns and is questionable for the Conference Championship.
No player in NFL history even comes close to what Mahomes is. He’s a piece of all the great QBs all into one puzzle, and he’s certainly a puzzle to figure out how to stop. Teams can’t seem to do it.
Mahomes’ presence will give a boost to players such as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and the team as a whole.
Chad Henne had his heroics, but Mahomes is the QB who will truly win the Chiefs a game.
Overall, Mahomes=wins. It’s like y=mx+b, everybody knows. Chiefs fans better hope Mahomes concussion is very mild and he can return by gametime, but only time shall tell.
(May I just write - as somebody who has experienced concussions, I advise Mahomes and the doctors to be very safe and cautious in his decision. Better be safe than sorry!)
I love Sean McDermott. He’s smart, he’s calm, he’s a winner. He truly turned this Buffalo team around, from great drafting to great schemes, McDermott is the mastermind behind the Bills success.
Andy Reid will put up a great coaching display, there is almost zero doubt about that. McDermott will need to put on an amazing coaching performance in order to beat the Chiefs, especially if Patrick Mahomes is on the field.
I have confidence in McDermott to do an incredible job, and it’s up to his players to execute.
Get the flow going, early
I mentioned the Chiefs scoring 1st quarter points, and I feel the same applies to the Bills. It’s huge for the Bills to establish a flow and what style they want to play early on in the game.
The Bills need to find what they want to do in the game, on both sides of the ball, and simply do it.
The Allen to Diggs connection is mentioned the most, but the Allen to Beasley connection cannot be underestimated. Both of those connections need to be utilized early on.
On the defensive side of the ball, it will be ideal to slow the Chiefs down. Watch out for screen passes. Matt Milano had a good game in the divisional round and he will have to carry that with him to the game against the Chiefs to somehow stop the seemingly endless options the Chiefs offense have.
Both sides of the ball need to set a rhythm that will shake up the Chiefs and put the Chiefs in the position where they have to catch on to the tide the Bills are going at.
CONNECTING THE BIG PLAYS
Time and time again in the NFL Playoffs this year, teams lose because they cannot connect the big plays. For reference, the Javon Wims dropped pass in the Saints vs Bears game.
Buffalo missed some pretty significant shots downfield last week, and Josh Allen will need to step up and improve on his touch in this game against the Chiefs.
If the Bills are going to take a long shot this week, they will have to connect them. No team is going to beat the reigning Super Bowl Champions off of overthrown balls.
However, a big play is just what the Bills need to set the record straight and put the Chiefs in their place. It’s a huge confidence booster for the offense when big plays connect and I am sure McDermott might call a few heavy shots here and there.
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All Editorials written by Chris Dailey