Analysis

How the Chiefs can contain Josh Allen

The Chiefs must utilize their talent on both sides of the ball to limit the MVP candidate.

When these teams matched up in Week 6, the Chiefs defense limited quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense to one of their worst performances of their impressive season.

Led by First-Team All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, they limited the Bills to 17 points, their second-lowest points scored (Tennessee gave up 16 to Buffalo in Week 5).

To keep up that trend will be no easy task for the Chiefs. Allen is having an MVP caliber season, scoring 45 total touchdowns. Combine that with All-Pro wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, and it could be a long night for any team.

Here are four things the Chiefs can do to limit this talented offensive line:

Have someone spy Allen

One thing that makes their offense special is how Allen can extend plays with his legs. The Chiefs are going to need to account for this in their game plan to be successful.

For players to spy and check Allen, I could see two linebackers and even a safety play this role. My first option would be rookie linebacker Willie Gay Jr.

Gay is quick and fast for his size and has shown an ability to make tackles in his limited opportunities. But he didn’t practice on Wednesday and Thursday, so his role may not be available.

The other two players are both more experienced Chiefs pieces: linebacker Anthony Hitchens and safety Daniel Sorensen.

For Hitchens, this is his third season for the Chiefs, and seventh total season in the league. If I were the Chiefs, I would be comfortable using the veteran linebacker to rotate and spy Allen throughout the game.

Sorensen has always made big plays, especially come playoff time. He always seems to come in and step up, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him lining up near the line of scrimmage to spy, as well.

Keep Diggs and Beasley in check

Easier said than done, but cornerbacks L’Jarius Sneed and Charvarius Ward limited the receving duo in Week 6.

The two combined for 91 receiving yards with two touchdowns against the Chiefs. Even with the two scores, those two not even combining for 100 yards is a win for that defense.

For matchups, Ward out wide across from Diggs would be the ideal matchup for the Chiefs. Ward has shown to be a corner they can trust since late into the 2018 regular season.

Since Beasley plays more in the slot, putting Sneed on him would make the most sense. Especially since Sneed has shown an effective ability to blitz, recording two sacks in just six starts, according to Pro Football Reference.

Though limiting Allen’s scrambling and running will be key, stopping his two favorite targets is the best option to taking their offense out of the game.

Pressure and stop run game

Defensive linemen Chris Jones and Frank Clark need to be disruptive against Allen. He can’t sit back there all day to sling it to either Diggs or Beasley.

Now is the time for these highly-paid pieces to produce on the biggest stage. Even if they aren’t getting sacks, getting Allen uncomfortable may suffice in a game of this magnitude, especially since this is their first AFC title game since their 1994 victory over the Chiefs.

Another element the Chiefs need to stop is their running attack. Running back Devin Singletary will need to be controlled, especially since he can pass catch as well.

But with only two touchdowns over the whole season, the Chiefs can easily take him out of the game. If the Chiefs’ offense can consistently score, they could keep the pressure on Allen to keep passing rather than run.

Offense controls and keeps lead

For quarterback Patrick Mahomes, this is a normal place. Over his three seasons of starting, he has made it to the AFC championship every year.

If Mahomes can play, look for the offense to utilize their First-Team All-Pros in Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, along with others.

As long as the offense keeps a comfortable lead, I could see Allen forcing a throw and having a costly turnover to turn the game into the Chiefs’ favor.

The Chiefs are going to have their hands full on the defensive end. But using a spy, favorable matchups on Diggs and Beasley, and utilize a talented pass-rush, could make all the difference in hoisting back-to-back Lamar Hunt trophies.

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