Chiefs-Bills: The most important game of the season

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Be honest: After a five-game losing streak, could you ever have imagined the Kansas City Chiefs would be playing for a chance to control their playoff destiny just five weeks later? As improbable as it may seem, that’s exactly what’s going to happen when the Buffalo Bills pay a visit to Arrowhead Stadium this weekend.

The Chiefs are currently the sixth-seeded team in the AFC playoff picture. If their win streak continues over Rex Ryan and company, the Chiefs will be in the driver’s seat for the final wildcard spot in the conference.

There are only six weeks left of the NFL regular season and Sunday’s game is arguably the most important. The Bills currently occupy the seventh seed in the AFC. A win over them would give the Chiefs a head-to-head advantage over Buffalo (the top item on the league’s wildcard tie-breaker schedule).

They already own one over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In fact, a win in Week 12 would give the Chiefs a leg up on every second-place team in the conference. The Oakland Raiders are in striking distance at 4-6, but Kansas City will have two cracks at them by season’s end.

Sunday’s game will be the eighth matchup between these two teams since 2008. The stakes are considerably higher this time though. The winner of this game becomes one of the front-running teams for a wildcard berth. The last two meetings between the teams resulted in close games (both won by the Chiefs). I expect the Thanksgiving weekend game to be no different.

It’s still early in the week, but here’s what I’ll have my eye on this Sunday:

The Bills’ ground game vs. The Chiefs’ run defense

Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo entered Week 11 as the second-best rushing attack in the NFL (142.3 yards per game). The Chiefs finished Week 11 as the league’s fourth-best run defense (surrendering just 92.6 yards per game). Whichever team controls the line of scrimmage is likely to win this particular battle. LeSean McCoy was hampered by a hamstring injury in early October, but appears to be healthy again after posting two 112-yard rushing days in Weeks 9-10.

Next: Stopping the Bills