The Kansas City Chiefs are one win away from their fourth straight AFC Championship appearance but before they can reach that milestone they must first get past the Buffalo Bills. Until the game starts here are some insane stats about the Chiefs, the Bills, and the divisional round games of the past…
Head coach Andy Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs are in the AFC divisional round for the fourth straight season, marking the sixth divisional round appearance for #ChiefsKingdom since Reid arrived nine years ago.
While that is already an amazing streak it is only one of the endless postseason accomplishments that Reid has brought to Kansas City since arriving in 2013. And since this is the Chiefs’ seventh-consecutive postseason appearance (longest active streak in the NFL*) the playoffs seem to be just another notch on the belt for the whole team on their way to a third straight Super Bowl appearance.
*Note: the next longest active streak of consecutive playoff appearances in three straight (Green Bay, Buffalo, Tennessee)
But this game against the Buffalo Bills is different. This divisional-round opponent is tougher than any of the four previous divisional opponents for Kansas City, and the stats back it up.
The Bills defense is ranked first overall in the league and it’s because they are the top of the class in almost every major defensive category. That includes yards allowed per game (274.6), points allowed per game (17.0), third-down conversions allowed per game (4.1), and passing yards allowed per game (165.9).
Not to mention the Bills have held opposing quarterbacks to an average passer rating of 66.0 which is ten points better than the second-lowest which is held by Dallas (76.2).
Compare those stats to the Browns last year whose defense ranked 21st overall, or Houston the year before (19th) when they put up 24 points on Mahomes before eventually losing 51-31. Before that, it was Indianapolis and their 10th ranked defense that allowed the Chiefs to score four rushing touchdowns in their divisional matchup.
So former MVP and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes has his work cut out for him, right?
Mahomes has his own records to focus on
Mahomes is only in his fourth season as a starting quarterback and somehow in those four seasons, he has been hosted the AFC Championship game three times (2-1) and been to two straight Super Bowls (1-1).
He’s obviously got quite a bit to prove this season after being embarrassed in Super Bowl 55 but while he’s meticulously and efficiently moving through the playoffs he’s also breaking records left and right.
In the first Wild Card game of Mahomes’ career last week against the Steelers he threw for 404 yards and five touchdowns. This marked the fourth time he has thrown for 400+ yards and 5+ TDs in his career which set the record and propelled him over Peyton Manning (3) and Dan Marino (3).
He was also only the second QB to ever throw for 400+ yards and five or more touchdowns in a playoff game with the first being the quarterback on the other side of the field as Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger back in a loss to Jacksonville in 2014.
Mahomes’ seven playoff wins are the most of any quarterback in Chiefs history already and on top of that franchise record, he also owns the franchise record for most yards per postseason game (303.1) and highest quarterback rating (QBR) at 105.1.
Now Mahomes moves onto the Bills matchup which will mark just his tenth career postseason game. In those nine games he has thrown for 22 touchdowns meaning with only two more touchdowns in the divisional game he will surpass future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and current Hall of Famer Kurt Warner for most TD passes in a quarterback’s first ten postseason games (23).
He’s also at home for the eighth time as a starting quarterback in the postseason which is a major advantage considering he plays in the loudest outdoor stadium in the world (142.2 decibels). In his previous seven games at home in the playoffs, he’s 6-1 with that one loss coming from Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2018 when former Chiefs defensive end Dee Ford’s offsides call in overtime cost Mahomes his first trip to the Super Bowl.
So Mahomes is undefeated at home in the postseason in regulation and without Ford’s costly mistake, but this is not a game of “if’s and but’s”. His 7-2 record (.777) in the postseason is third-best among QBs who have started nine or more playoff games, trailing the Hall of Famer Bart Starr (9-1) and Raiders legend Jim Plunkett (8-2).
Now for the bad news…
Not everything is roses and ponies for the Chiefs, especially when the stakes are so high.
Both teams had some stellar performances last week when they both scored six or more touchdowns in their respective beatdowns over their respective opponents.
The bad news…?
Since the playoffs expanded in 1990 there have been fifteen teams that have scored 40+ points in Wild Card victories, those teams are a measly 3-12 in the next round. That means no matter who wins or who loses the record will move to 4-13 but it predicates that teams who put the foot on the gas pedal heavily in the Wild Card seem to lose some of the drive or the production in the Divisional round.
And as far as the Bills’ $258 million dollar quarterback, Josh Allen, it’s not going to be as easy beating Mahomes as it was to beat Patriots’ rookie QB, Mac Jones.
Allen and the Bills laying waste to Bill Belichick last week meant they were forced to play Reid and the Chiefs. This is just the seventh team that an NFL team will have to face both historic head coaches in the same postseason…none have been able to come away with victories over both.
If Allen and the Bills break that record they would likely be the favorites to come out of the AFC but first, they must put down the second-highest graded quarterback in the playoffs since 2006 (according to PFF).
Allen will also have to beat Mahomes and the Chiefs at home for the second time this season (week five), something that has never happened under Andy Reid and has not happened at Arrowhead ever.
Anybody could argue that the negatives outweigh the positives for either side but in the end, it will all come down to the plays executed by both superstar quarterbacks. Both have the capability to put the game in their hands and both have proven they can go off in a number of ways that all eventually lead to victories.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comment section below or through Twitter (@SportsGuyShawnO) and be sure to check out more of Shawn’s Staturdays every week on Arrowhead Live!