The Chiefs head back to the AFC Championship Game for the third time in three seasons. Here is how they can defeat the Buffalo Bills.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills will square off at Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday for the AFC Championship game and the right to go to Super Bowl 55. For the Chiefs, this is yet again a chance to play for the Lamar Hunt trophy, and defend their crown as the best in the NFL. The Bills head in riding an incredible hot streak including the most playoff success they have seen in almost 30 years.
That being said, this is the game the Chiefs have been waiting all season long for this and likely fire it up all the way as they look to defend Arrowhead one final time this season. Here are the three keys to a Chiefs victory.
1. Start Fast
In their divisional-round win over the Cleveland Browns, the Chiefs scored points on every possession they had in the first half, which played a huge part in the team ending up winning after Patrick Mahomes left the game. This week will be more of the same, not only to find ways to exploit the Bills defense early but also to put pressure on the Bills offense to connect.
This week the quick start will be even more crucial for the Chiefs to win. The Bills have played their best football of the season when they can get an early lead in the game but have faltered when finding themselves trailing. In a game that could come down to a shootout, it is important for Andy Reid’s crew to get the lead early.
2. Pressure Josh Allen
The Chiefs didn’t just get back to the AFC Championship game to stop doing what they have done all season long defensively, which is get after quarterbacks with blitzing as well as pressure from the defensive line.
While the popular way to play Allen in the past has been to try to contain him to the pocket I believe Steve Spagnuolo and his crew will try to create pressure by any means necessary. This could also be a game where Chris Jones could take over.
With the emergence of Tershawn Wharton as an inside pass rusher, this could be a big advantage for the Chiefs inside, but if the Chiefs can build a steady lead the Bills will almost certainly throw the ball on every play.
Keep the pressure on Allen all game and don’t let him get comfortable, and this week when they do rush they have to make sure they let Allen know who he is dealing with.
3. Protect Patrick Mahomes and play physical on offense
This week protecting Patrick Mahomes will be even more crucial given that he is coming off of concussion protocol, as well as dealing with a foo issue that visibly hampered him last week. This will fall on Andy Reid to put him in good situations, as well as the big men upfront.
While the headlines this week point to a pass-happy shootout and a big time throw fest, this is still football, it’s a physical game, and the more physical team usually wins football games.
The more the Chiefs can beat up a soft Bills front seven the more it is going to allow Patrick Mahomes time to operate and in turn allow Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill time to operate down field. The Bills front has played better in the past few weeks but how much longer can they keep it up?
It’s one thing to stop a one dimensional Baltimore Ravens team, and an Indianapolis Colts lineup that requires running to open up its offense, but another thing entirely to be outplayed physically and have to deal with the Chiefs passing attack. The Chiefs can also be physical themselves after the pass and catch.
Finish the job
This team is on the verge of something special that this franchise and city has never seen before. I expect the Chiefs to come out and punch the Bills in the mouth, because after weeks of chatter from the media, and weeks of having to listen to how mighty the Bills are, I would assume the Chiefs are starting to get irritated.
Buffalo has had a good season, and they deserve to be in this game, that however is where the comparisons stop. This is a good Bills team, but this Chiefs team has a chance to be one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Andy Reid will have them ready to play, and it’s time to let the football world know just how special this team is going to end up being.