Analysis

Chiefs biggest X-factors heading into the AFC Championship

Bills head coach Sean McDermott will face his mentor Andy Reid for a spot in Super Bowl LV. What a beautiful story! The Bills will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game this Sunday.

One of the biggest uncertainties on the Chiefs side is their star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Every neighborhood and every corner of Kansas City held their breathe last Sunday against the Cleveland Browns when they saw Mahomes dizzy after a weird tackle to his head and neck area.

The reigning Super Bowl MVP didn’t return and is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol, even if the Chiefs never clearly mentioned the word “concussion”. While head coach Andy Reid said Mahomes was “doing great” after the game, his status for Sunday is still up in the air. Is it a strategy to muddy the waters?

Additionally, Mahomes is dealing with a toe issue. However, coach Andy Reid said Monday that he doesn’t think that injury will be a problem.

If Mahomes can’t play, Chad Henne will have to gear up and face the Bills himself. Of course, the Chiefs’ backup quarterback is not Mahomes, but the will of the whole team to win for Patrick could help him a lot.

Bills coach Sean McDermott acknowledged Monday that his team will have to “prepare for both quarterbacks.”

“We’ve got work to do to prepare,” McDermott said. “Certainly have a lot of respect for Patrick and how he plays the game and what he adds to their offense. But as you saw with the weapons that they have and the system that Andy runs — I thought Henne came in and did a really good job and won the game for them there. So we’ve got a lot of work to do as a team, and also in this case on our defense, to get ready.”

The Chiefs’ injury report also includes wide receiver Sammy Watkins, cornerback Beshaun Breeland, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and linebacker Willie Gay, all key players.

Having them all back would undoubtedly help in the AFC Championship. The Chiefs could use as many offensive threats as possible and Gay has proved to be quite a great defensive player in the regular-season games.  

During week 6 against the Bills, the Chiefs pulled a win with a decisive running game. They won 26-17. Will Andy Reid insist again on his running backs to upset the Buffalo Bills and go to the Super Bowl?

At the time, they piled up 245 yards. With the uncertainty of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrell Williams and Le’Veon Bell will be both up to the task. The running locker room is quite competitive and very motivated to show up in any circumstances. We will have to see what strategy Reid will choose against Josh Allen and Co.

Surely, Josh Allen has improved quite a lot since week 6, and the defense will have to step up. However, the Bills will have to play well on both sides of the ball to have a chance going to the Superbowl and avoid a repeat for Kansas City.

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