The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are set to meet in the AFC Championship game this Sunday in a heavyweight matchup between the conference’s two top teams.
It is gearing up to be a colossal showdown, with the Chiefs hoping to win the Lamar Hunt Trophy for a second year in a row while Buffalo are looking to make their first Super Bowl since the 1993 season.
The Bills overcame the Baltimore Ravens 17-3 in the divisional round to reach the AFC title game, while the Chiefs will come into the match up as underdogs according to DVOA, after a memorable 22-17 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Ahead of their showdown, let’s take a look at their meeting earlier in the season.
The two sides met back in Week 6 of the regular season, and while it was quite a while ago, the significance of the match up shouldn’t be totally downplayed or the outcome disregarded. To put it simply, the Chiefs had a huge game against the Bills.
Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had his biggest game of the year that night, rushing for a season-high 161 yards on 26 attempts, averaging 6.2 yards per attempt. Buffalo allowed 245 yards on the ground in total, the most they gave up in a game all season.
Patrick Mahomes went 21-26 passing for 225 yard with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He completed over 80% of his passes, his highest completion rate in a game this season. Three of his incompletions against Buffalo were drops.
Travis Kelce caught five passes for 65 yards with two touchdowns, Demarcus Robinson had 69 yards on five receptions and Tyreek Hill had 20 yards on three catches.Overall, the Chiefs had 466 total yards on offense. K.C.’s offense had more yards on the ground (245) and more yards in the air (221) than the Bills had on offense combined (206).
Part of the reason for K.C.’s success moving the ball likely came down to Buffalo’s defensive gameplan. The Bills constantly committed players to coverage, not calling a blitz once during the entire game.
On the flip side, Buffalo struggled offensively. The Bills were held to just 206 total yards on offence, the fewest in a game all season. Josh Allen was 14-27 passing on the day with two touchdowns and one interception. His 122 passing yards and completion rate of 52% were both season lows.
The Bills had 84 total yards on the ground, with just 42 of those yards coming from running backs Devin Singletary (32 yards) and Zack Moss (10 yards).Buffalo’s two leading receivers for the season Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley were held to 46 and 45 yards respectively, while no other wideout had more than one catch or 10 yards receiving.
The Bills only scored on three of their nine drives, an equal low for the season, and their 17 points was the second fewest they scored all year (they scored 16 points vs the Titans in Week 5 and 17 points again vs the Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs).
It really was a comprehensive win for Kansas City in Week 6, but a lot has changed since then.
After their loss to the Chiefs, the Bills would go on to win nine of their next 10 games—winning each of their last seven games by double digits—to finish the regular season as the hottest team in the league.
The Chiefs however only won two of their last 10 regular season games by double digits (Week 6 vs the Broncos and Week 7 vs the Jets). Buffalo has also averaged slightly more points (32) than the Chiefs (29) since Week 6.
Those numbers are not the biggest concern for Kansas City however, with the Chiefs still having a number of big injury questions to answer ahead of Sunday.
Mahomes has returned to practice this week but his status for the championship game is still unconfirmed. So too is the status of Edwards-Helaire, as well as wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who played a crucial role in Kansas City’s Super Bowl run last season, and linebacker Willie Gay.
Kansas City will be hoping to have most if not all of those players back this weekend, as they look to claim back-to-back Lamar Hunt Trophies and return to the Super Bowl. And if they can replicate their performance against the Bills in Week 6, they’ll get there.