We know this isn’t technically the AFC Championship Game, but it sure feels like it (ICYMI: it was last year’s )
The Bills (+2.5) head into Arrowhead territory to take on the Chiefs in the Sunday nightcap of the divisional round.
These two franchises look like the league’s cream of the crop after absolutely manhandling their respective opponents in the Super Wild Card Round.
Here are five reasons why this is our AFC Super Bowl, and a matchup we’re going to love or love to hate for years to come:
1. A budding iconic QB rivalry. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen put up more than 40 points in the previous round, and with an over/under set at 54.5 you already know it’s going to be an absolute shootout. Mahomes and Allen have tremendous arms with off-the-charts speed to match. These young gunslingers remind us of a famous QB rivalry we once loved: Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady.
The duo matched each other with five tuddies in the Wild Card Round.
2. These teams meet. A lot. This marks the fourth matchup between these two over the last sixteen months. KC holds the lead with two victories in the last three games – including last year’s AFC Championship – but the Bills snagged the most recent. That was Week 5 of the regular season, and through injuries and Covid-19 cases, both these teams look quite a bit different.
3. Weapons, weapons, weapons. On the Chiefs side: TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill. Hill is a dual-threat in the run and pass game with top-ten numbers in catches (third, 111), receiving yards (seventh, 1,239) and touchdowns (ninth, 9) in the regular season. Kelce is one of the greatest TE’s in NFL history with seven 100-yard games in postseason matchups (second-most in league history).
On the Bills side: WR Stefon Diggs and RB Devin Singletary. Since Week 13 of the regular season, Singletary sits fourth in the league with 456 rushing yards (4.75 per carry) and a league-high seven rushing touchdowns. Diggs capped the regular season with 103 catches for 1,225 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns. His 230 receptions as a Bill are the most ever by a player in their first two seasons with a team in league history.
4. Don’t forget about defense. Kansas City closed the regular season on a high note, allowing a league-low 16.1 points per game in seven of its last 10 contests. In the first round, the Chiefs allowed the second-fewest total yards (257.0), third-fewest passing yards (201.0), and a league-fewest rushing yards (56.0).
Buffalo allows the league’s third-fewest points per game (28.4). Without top corner Tre’Davious White, the Bills have All-Pro safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, and nickelback Taron Johnson who stepped up BIG TIME. Without White, Buffalo allowed the lowest completion (52.5%) and third-down conversion percentage (26.3%), and the fewest passing yards per game (134.5) in the NFL over the final six weeks of the season.
5. Keeping it in the family. Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott coached under Kansas City head coach Andy Reid in Philly when our favorite tropical shirt-wearing man was head coach of the Eagles from 2001 to 2010. Reid has a long, storied career in the NFL, boasting the fourth-most playoff wins in league history 18 playoff wins. Not a bad teacher.
We’re betting that this is not the last time we’ll see these two teams – or QBs – duke it out in a battle of epic proportions. These are two of the hottest franchises in the AFC, and the book seems to think so with KC at +175 (bet $100 → $175) and Buffalo at +225 (bet $100 → $225) to win the conference. Whoever you are taking in this contest might be worth considering to win the AFC crown.