The AFC Championship game this season is slated to be one of the best NFL games played all season long. The Kansas City Chiefs are set to play host to the Buffalo Bills for a shot at going to the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs are the early favorites to win the game and attempt to try and win their second consecutive Super Bowl. I think that likelihood probably holds up and I have Kansas City winning 32-17.
The Bills, however, aren’t going to go down easy. They are known for having one of the best defenses in the entire NFL and they proved it by shutting down Lamar Jackson last week and holding the Baltimore Ravens to just three points.
As long as Josh Allen is able to continue playing at an MVP caliber level, the Bills have a good shot at winning this game. There will be many factors that will contribute to the outcome of this game, but here are four of the biggest factors.
4. Patrick Mahomes’ Health
The entire NFL was shocked when Patrick Mahomes went down after being tackled by Mack Wilson on Sunday and Chad Henne was thrust into action. Luckily for the Chiefs, they still won the game and were able to advance to the AFC Championship, but it raises questions regarding the health of Mahomes for this game.
Mahomes is currently going through the NFL’s concussion protocol and his status for Sunday’s game will be out of the Chiefs’ control. Mahomes has to clear the concussion protocol and be healthy enough to practice if he wants to play.
Kansas City will obviously be eager to get Mahomes back, but not if there’s any doubt his health is in jeopardy. If Mahomes is unable to play, the ball will flip to Henne’s hands and that could make a huge difference in the outcome of this game.
This AFC Championship will feature two very strong head coaches who have had a lot of success in their coaching careers thus far. The Chiefs will be led by Andy Reid, who has mentored and staffed some of the greatest coaches in the NFL. The Bills will be lead by Sean McDermott, who has been at the helm since 2017 and also fell under the Andy Reid coaching tree.
These two coaches are very good friends and will look to duke it out in what is expected to be one of the best games of the entire season. The coaching will go a long way in this game as far as the final result goes as their play calling decisions go a long way in determining the outcome.
The more aggressive coach will likely win this game as both offenses are very talented. The team who is more prepared and well coached could very well see themselves in the Super Bowl.
Limiting and creating turnovers will be crucial to success in the AFC Championship game on Sunday. Both teams have a great defense, and both teams have a great offense. This game will come down to who can create extra possessions, which is something both teams excel at.
The Bills, at times, have a tendency to struggle with turnovers, but it’s nothing that can’t be corrected. Josh Allen has been playing at an MVP level all season and could look to do so against a solid Kansas City defense as well. The Chiefs, however, will be matching up against one of the best defenses in the NFL who pride themselves on forcing turnovers.
If the Chiefs want to beat the Bills, they will need to avoid turning the ball over and creating extra possessions for Josh Allen to utilize.
1. Running The Ball
Neither the Chiefs nor the Bills are the best when it comes to running the football, but that’s a good reason as to why they should do it. The Bills finished as the 20th best rushing team in the NFL this past season, while the Chiefs had a slight advantage at number 16.
The Chiefs are coming fresh off a game where they gave up 112 rushing yards to the Cleveland Browns, so the Bills could try to exploit the Chiefs in that regard. The Bills gave up 150 rushing yards, but all the Ravens did all day was run the ball and try to spring Lamar Jackson into the open field as often as possible.
Both of these teams need to prioritize running the football if they hope to succeed, because both defenses are outstanding in pass coverage. The team that runs the football better could very well end up winning the game.