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Game Preview: Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs



Death, taxes, and Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs. The battle for early season AFC supremacy is on the line this weekend. Let’s dive into the latest nationally televised game featuring Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen or, as many media outlets have been referring to them this week, the modern day Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning.

The Last Five

Chiefs 42 Bills 36 OT (2022 AFC Divisional)
Bills 38 Chiefs 20 (2021)
Chiefs 38 Bills 24 (2021 AFC Championship)
Chiefs 26 Bills 17 (2020)
Bills 16 Chiefs 10 (2017)

The Bills and Chiefs will play for the fifth time in the last 727 days on Sunday. Kansas City is practically a division rival at this point; a second game this postseason is something that people are already writing in. For your early planning purposes, the Bills will be traveling to Arrowhead next season, too.

What To Watch For: Buffalo Bills

Eyes on Elam – Rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam has been nothing short of impressive this year. He is coming off of his worst game of his young career, however. Kenny Pickett in his first career start went after Elam early and often last week. A few of the catches Elam gave up last week were spectacular catches that, had they fallen incomplete, might have changed the narrative a bit. But Pittsburgh had the right idea targeting him. Elam later intercepted a pass, which made his day look a little better. However, that was more of a case of Elam lucking into a gift rather than creating a turnover. You can bet that Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid will test Elam again this week.

Time for DL to Shine – The Kansas City Chiefs are the measuring stick. Two years ago, the Bills couldn’t keep pace with the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. They spent the next few months ramping up their offense for what was supposed to be a dethroning of the Chiefs last year. It nearly worked. One of the takeaways from last year’s AFC Divisional Round was the Bills’ inability to pressure Patrick Mahomes with the front four. Brandon Beane went to work last offseason, retooling his defensive line for games like this. Although the two teams will likely play again in a few months, this game will be the measuring stick. It is time for the revamped D-Line to do what they were brought in to do.

Sean McDermott – If there is anyone feeling added pressure going back into Arrowhead Stadium this weekend it is the man who shouldered all of the blame for “13 seconds”. Regardless of the special teams miscues, McDermott knows the result of that game fell on him. If this game doesn’t go Buffalo’s way, or if there is a questionable call that can be attributed to McDermott, I wonder if you’ll start to hear some fans express concern that the Chiefs are too mighty for the Bills head coach. McDermott was ultra-aggressive in the playoff game last year. I am interested to see if the burn from the loss will change his approach as he heads back to the stadium where it all went wrong 9 months ago.

What To Watch For: Kansas City Chiefs

Serious DB Trouble – Every team is dealing with injuries at this point of the season, but the Chiefs might win the award for most untimely. Kansas City will start two rookies on their back end against the NFL’s passing yards leader: fourth round pick Joshua Williams and seventh round pick Jaylen Watson. They will be tasked with slowing down Josh Allen this Sunday afternoon. Rookie CBs have stepped up for Buffalo all season, so it is possible we see it for the opposition. But, if the Chiefs fall short this Sunday, I’d bet one of the main reasons will be the inexperienced secondary.

Travis Kelce – The dude is a monster. What else can be said? He is coming off of a 7 reception, 25 yard, and 4 TD night against the Raiders. The 33 year old future Hall-of-Famer has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Kelce has been a big reason why the Bills have fallen short against the Chiefs in recent years. The their last four games, including 2 playoff games, Kelce has had 32 catches, 336 yards, and 6 TDs. It seems inevitable that Kelce will get his touchdowns, so it is all about limiting the damage for Buffalo. For Kansas City, finding a way to line Kelce up across from Elam and Christian Benford would be a great way to attack.

Best Chance at 1 Seed? – As we saw last year with these two teams, an October matchup doesn’t necessarily mean that one team will end up with the higher seed come January. Given their schedules the rest of the way, this game seems like more of a “must win” for Kansas City than Buffalo. Take a look at what this week means for the conference, according to Football Outsiders’ season simulations:

With or without this game, the Buffalo Bills have a great shot at the 1-seed. If the Chiefs lose this game, simulations put them at just a 6% chance to finish as the 1-seed. It is a long season, but Sunday may be the Chiefs’ best shot at ensuring the AFC goes through Arrowhead once again.


Bills 34 Chiefs 24 I have to remind myself that, as scary as I find the Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills had them beat last year. Josh Allen had them beat and it took a literal miracle, and the randomness of a coin toss, for Kansas City to defeat Buffalo. I think the Bills win this game comfortably. Allen and the Bills are playing like a team on a mission. I believe they understand the importance of the 1-seed to get to where they want to go. The Chiefs are a Championship-level team in their own right, but I think the secodary injuries are too much for them to overcome with Allen playing like he is. Regardless what happens Sunday night, I look forward to the inevitable rematch in January.

Featured Image: Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports