Last weekend’s Wild Card matchups brought exactly zero surprises in the AFC, with all three home teams winning – and, in the cases of Kansas City and Buffalo, winning handily.
Can Patrick Mahomes keep Kansas City in the hunt for a third straight Super Bowl appearance, or will Josh Allen and the Bills keep their redemption tour rolling and steal away the spotlight?
Let’s dig in.
*All betting figures current as of publication.
BUFFALO BILLS (4) AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (2)
Kickoff: Sunday, Jan. 23 @ 6:30 p.m. ET
Betting lines: Chiefs favoured by 2 | O/U: 54
Bills’ redemption tour keeps on rolling
Last weekend’s beatdown of the New England Patriots looked cathartic for all of Buffalo – the release of 20 years' worth of frustrations, a freezing cold exorcism of those Brady- and Belichick-ian demons that long haunted the Bills and kept them in the AFC East's basement.
The dominant victory saw the Bills at their absolute best, leaving no doubt that the Bills are, in fact, the new team to beat in the division.
Buffalo’s road to redemption now heads to Kansas City, home of last year’s heartbreak in the AFC Championship. If these Bills are truly to move forward and step into the bright lights of their future in this era of Allen, it's this next matchup that will tell us even more about what this club is made of.
One year after last January’s AFC championship between the Chiefs and Bills saw Kansas City earn a trip to its second straight Super Bowl, the Bills are back and looking even stronger. And while this matchup isn’t actually being played with the keys to the entire conference on the line, it sort of feels like it may as well… right?
Matchup to watch: Bills’ secondary vs. Chiefs secondary receivers
About 24 hours after Allen’s pretty-much-perfect outing against New England – five touchdown passes, seven straight touchdown drives, no interceptions – Patrick Mahomes went and effectively matched it, tallying a handful of TDs of his own against the Steelers.
As these two creative, dynamic, pass-first offences now prepare to hit the field, the only stars busier than Mahomes and Allen will be the guys trying to stump them. Of particular interest will be how the Bills’ deep secondary deals with the multitude of receiving threats on the Chiefs.
(Also… can Micah Hyde one-up himself after that absolutely stunning interception against the Patriots?)
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill need no introduction – we know they can both break a game wide open all on their own, and the Bills will be busy trying to make sure neither of them sees much space. But with so much focus on those two, that leaves the door open for the Chiefs’ other threats: Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman. Pringle, in particular, is one to watch -- he was targeted five times against Pittsburgh (same as Hill) and tallied two touchdowns.
Here's hoping for four quarters of trading touchdowns and some overtime.
Oh, and take the over.