Bills vs. Chiefs: AFC Championship Game odds, preview, and pick
The Buffalo Bills are back in the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the 1993 season, after a 17-3 defeat of the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday.
The Bills will face the Chiefs, who snuck by the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Kansas City has advanced to the AFC Championship Game in three consecutive years.
Here is our preview of Bills vs. Chiefs.
Sun, January 24 2021, 11:40 PM
Allen entering rarefied air
Buffalo is 100% behind its franchise quarterback for the first time since the days of Jim Kelly. Josh Allen is the only Buffalo quarterback to lead his team to the AFC Championship Game, other than Kelly.
In his two playoff games this season, Allen has completed 68% of his passes, for 530 yards and three touchdowns, with no turnovers. He also had 57 yards rushing and a score on the ground.
However, Allen struggled against the Chiefs in Week 6 this year. He only managed 122 passing yards and 42 rushing yards, with two touchdowns and an interception, in a 26-17 loss.
Since that loss, Allen has 30 total touchdowns and only eight turnovers, along with an average of 280.3 passing yards per game. The Bills franchise has 4-1 record in AFC Championship Games and Allen will look to add to that incredible record for Buffalo.
Will Mahomes be ready?
The storyline of the Divisional Round was the status of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He left the game against the Cleveland Browns after a rough hit in the third quarter. In the postgame press conference, Kansas City head coach Andy Reid said Mahomes “passed all the deals” and expects to have Mahomes available for the AFC Championship Game.
It is vital for the Chiefs to have Mahomes on the field. Chad Henne started in Week 17, as many of Kansas City's starters rested, and the Chiefs fell to the Los Angeles Chargers, 38-21. Henne entered the game Sunday against the Browns with a 22-10 lead, but he threw a bad interception in the end zone and the Chiefs had to hold off a late rally by the Browns.
The Chiefs have won 24 of their last 25 games with Mahomes as the starter. In his Week 6 victory over the Bills, he threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, to go along with 36 rushing yards and no turnovers.
Who will win the Sunday Night AFC Championship matchup?
Experience will win out
I love what Allen and the Bills have done this season and what the future holds for them. However, Mahomes and the Chiefs have been here and done that.
The Bills have only four offensive starters and four defensive starters who have ever played in a conference championship game, while Chiefs have only one offensive starter and two defensive starters who have not played in a conference championship game.
Assuming Mahomes is healthy, I cannot see how the Chiefs lose. This will be an excellent rivalry for years to come, but right now, it is still the Chiefs' time.