The Bills Mafia have been waiting for this moment since the day Buffalo drafted Josh Allen because they expected him to win a shootout against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game and advance to the Super Bowl. Two of the most potent offenses in the NFL will square off in the AFC Championship where the team that has the ball last will most likely win the game.
The Buffalo Bills make their first appearance in the AFC title game since 1993. The Bills are one win away from a berth in Super Bowl 55, and only the defending Super Bowl champs stand in their way.
Kansas City hosts their third-straight AFC Championship game. That rare feat only happened once before in NFL history when the Andy Reid-led Philadelphia Eagles achieved it between 2002 and 2004.
|#2 Buffalo Bills (13-3) at #1 Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)|
- Kickoff: 3:40 pm PT
- Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
- Point Spread: KC -3
- Total: 54 o/u
- Moneyline: BUF +145 / KC -160
Kansas City hasn’t covered a game since they blew out the New York Jets. The Bills were the hottest team to end the regular season, and their run-good spilled over into the postseason.
You can back the Chiefs at +175 odds to win Super Bowl 55 and the Bills are +400 odds, according to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
KC Awesome Offense, Meh Defense
Patrick Mahomes left last week’s game against the Cleveland Browns with a concussion. He’s still under concussion protocol, but he’s expected to start on Sunday in a shootout.
Mahomes targets two of the best receivers in the game, including the Cheetah. Tyreek Hill caught eight passes for 110 yards against the Browns. This season, Hill caught 87 passes for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns. Mecole Hardman (41 receptions, four TDs) flies under the radar as Mahomes’ third option.
Travis Kelce, the top tight end in the league, led KC in receiving with 105 catches for 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns. Kelce tore up Cleveland last week with eight catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been out since Week 15 with a hip injury, but he could be a game-time decision. Aside from CEH, Kansas City doesn’t have an eye-popping running game. Still, you shouldn’t sleep on Darrel Williams; he rushed for 78 yards on only 13 carries with juicy 6.0 yards per carry. They also have Le’veon Bell as an under-utilized asset.
KC’s defense allows only 22.3 ppg, but is ranked #22 in defensive DVOA. Everyone knows that KC’s defense is vulnerable, but when you have Mahomes and a beastly offense, the Chiefs tend to outgun opponents. In the second half of the season, Kansas City knocked off everyone in their path (minus a Week 17 loss in which they rested all starters), but they didn’t exactly blow out teams or steamroll opponents.
Bills Mafia Air Raid
Buffalo’s offense generated 31.3 per game for the second-most points in the NFL. Josh Allen tossed 4,544 yards (ranked #5) and 37 touchdowns (ranked #5) with only 10 interceptions this season. His QBR rating of 81.6 was the third-best in the league.
Stefon Diggs loves his new home in Buffalo. He led the league with 127 receptions and 1,535 yards. He only scored eight touchdowns, but he caught two touchdowns in two playoff games thus far, with 14 receptions and 234 yards.
While Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley garner most of the attention from secondaries, rookie Gabriel Davis quietly caught 35 passes for 599 yards and seven touchdowns. Yes, one out of every five balls he caught in the regular season were touchdowns. Davis provides the Bills with a sleeper home run threat.
The Bills have a one-dimensional offense and a minimal running game in the postseason. Their running game boils down to Josh Allen scrambles (57 yards). The Bills rushed for 128 yards in two games with Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss combining for 17 rushes and 67 yards. During the regular season, Singletary led the Bills with 687 rushing yards, followed by Moss (481 yards) and Allen with a heady 420 rushing yards.
Buffalo’s defense allowed only 22.3 ppg and they were ranked #8 in defensive DVOA. They held opposing quarterbacks to a total QB rating of 86.9, which is ranked #5 in the NFL. The secondary, led by Tre’Davious White, swiped 15 interceptions. Linebacker Matt Milano will have his hands full slowing down Kelce.
How did the @BuffaloBills defense shut down the Ravens offense?
Let @BaldyNFL break it down for you in True View. #NFLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/ILuJbwo65e
— NFL (@NFL) January 21, 2021
Special Teams: Butker vs Bass
Who has a better kicker in the AFC Championship game? If there were two teams facing each other in a shootout, an old college friend named Chicago Bob liked to bet on the team with the better kicker.
Bills fans are haunted by Scott Norwood’s missed kick nearly 30 years ago. During the regular season, Buffalo rookie Tyler Bass scored 141 points and was tied for fourth in the league. He connected on 82.4% of his field goals (28-for-34) and 96.6% of his extra points (57-for-59). His longest was a 58 yarder and the deep threat connected on 4-for-6 from 50-plus.
Harrison Butker went 25-for-27 on field goals for Kansas City. He also nailed a 58 yarder and went a perfect 4-for-4 from 50-plus yards. He’s a tad shaky on extra points (48-for-54) with six misses and only an 88.9% clip. Against the Browns last week, Butker missed one XP, but went 3-for-4 on field goals.
AFC Championship Betting and Numbers
The Chiefs defeated the Bills 26-17 in Buffalo in Week 6. The Bills covered the 5.5-point spread and the game went well under the total of 55 over/under.
In the public’s eye, Mahomes and the Chiefs pummel opponents. In reality, they struggled to cover the spread and have a losing record with 7-10 ATS. After starting the season 6-2 ATS, Kansas City is 1-8 ATS in their last nine games.
Kansas City is 7-2 at home at Arrowhead Stadium this season, but struggle to cover at home with a 3-6 ATS record. Buffalo is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games. Overall, the Bills are 12-6 ATS, including in the postseason.
The Bills travel well, posting a road record this season that’s 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS. The over is 7-3-1 in the last 11 Buffalo games.
In AFC/NFC title games over the last 15 seasons, the home team is 28-12 straight up. The home team is also 17-7 against teams without a bye in the first week of the postseason.
Take a look at OG’s betting preview for the NFC Championship between Green Bay and Tampa Bay.