By: Courtney Burrow (Twitter: @luvtractor3)
The Buffalo Bills march into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday to face defending Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Showdown.
The Bills are coming off a 17-3 win over the Ravens, and the Chiefs were 22-17 over the Browns where Mahomes was injured and is in concussion protocol.
Mahomes will play Sunday barring setbacks, but the Bills are healthy and ready to advance, and here’s how they can do it.
The Chiefs’ Hill and Kelce are threats that cannot be completely neutralized but can be lessened if the secondary and defense step up.
In Week 6, the Bills were missing key players in the matchup versus the Chiefs. Matt Milano, the Bills star linebacker was out, but he is back and held Ravens TE Andrews last week to 28 yards on 11 targets. Milano and fellow linebacker Tremaine Edmunds must be aggressive and hold Kelce to that same number or less.
Kelce is Mahomes’s safety blanket, and if Mahomes is a little shaky from his injury, he will look to Kelce in the short passing plays for relief. Defensive coordinator Frazier and his unit must blitz and pressure Mahomes and trust that their cornerbacks will be stride for stride with star wideout Tyrek Hill.
Bills’ CB Tre’Davious White shadowed Raven’s “Hollywood” Brown in the divisional round game holding him to only 30 yards, and this must be repeated to ensure that Hill is not a deep option because he is incredibly fast and can and will beat his defenders if given the space.
In the Chiefs Week 6 win, the Bills defense held Mahomes and company to 221 yards in the air, but the running game exploded with 245 rushing yards. So, the defense must be prepared to contain CEH, Bell, or Williams in the running game and most importantly shut down Mahomes in the air and create turnovers.
Since mid-December, Mahomes has had three fumbles and four interceptions, and being banged up means that blitzing the line is key! The Bills defense has consistently gotten better in the second half of the season and is healthy, and they will be the secret to the Bills rolling to a Super Bowl appearance.
Rookie Zack Moss had a season-ending ankle injury in the Wild Card game vs the Colts, which left Devin Singletary to carry the load, and the Bills don’t even rely on him for goal-line carries. In last week’s win over the Ravens, Singletary carried for 25 yards and additional 12 yards on three receptions, but that will not cut it against the Chiefs.
Singletary must be more involved and confident between the tackles, which means that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll must get him involved early so that some of the pressure is taken off Allen. Singletary doesn’t need a 100 plus yard game, he just must be utilized more.
Josh Allen has had an incredible season throwing for 4, 544 yards relying on Diggs most of the way, but he must spread the wealth and look for Beasley (even though he isn’t 100%), Brown, and Knox as I expect the Chiefs secondary to be shadowing Diggs heavily.
Diggs is a yardage machine racking up 106 yards and a touchdown in the divisional game vs the Ravens, and I expect Allen to continue to look Diggs’s way and will find the open field, but Allen cannot rely solely on him.
Allen went 23 of 37 and 206-yards vs the Ravens, and that was a decent outing but considering how he averaged 300 yards the last three games of the season and is completing 69.2 % of his passes, I truly don’t think that Allen has shown us his top potential like he will this weekend against a good but beatable Chiefs defense.
This season, the Bills have had 68 red zone attempts to the Chiefs 59, so Allen must get the ball into the endzone early and not settle for Bass’s leg and field goals. The goal is to keep the Chief’s offense off the field.
The Bills are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games, and they haven’t lost since Week 10 vs Arizona when Hopkins caught that Hail Mary. Needless to say, they are hot right now, and I am going with the hot hand and Josh Allen’s determination to bring the Bills to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994.
Prediction Bills 31-27