After a crazy finish over the Cleveland Browns last week, the Kansas City Chiefs have advanced to their third straight AFC Championship where they will face the Buffalo Bills. Our writers predict that they will punch their ticket to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.
Last week, the Chiefs hosted the Browns in the AFC Divisional and played their first game since Week 17. They were able to escape with a narrow victory. The Chiefs opened up with an opening drive touchdown, but missed the extra point to make it a 6-0 lead. The Browns kicked a field goal, but then it was all Chiefs until halftime. The Chiefs held a 19-3 lead going into halftime after another touchdown and two made field goals.
The Chiefs picked up in the second half right where they left off with safety Tyrann Mathieu intercepting a pass from Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Chiefs couldn’t get a first down, and then kicker Harrison Butker missed his second kick of the game with a 33-yard field goal hitting the left upright.
After the Browns scored a touchdown, the Chiefs got the ball back and were looking to increase their lead. Then, halfway through the third quarter every Chiefs fans’ nightmare came true with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes going down with a head injury.
The Browns came back and had an opportunity to take a go ahead score, but ended up punting to the Chiefs who were having trouble scoring with Henne under center. Henne then had a miraculous scramble on third and long followed by a gusty fourth down call that led to the conversion and sealed the game.
Now the Chiefs are getting ready to take on the Buffalo Bills who just won an ugly game last week against the Baltimore Ravens. The game was a low scoring event, with each team entering halftime tied 3-3. The Bills scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and that was the only scoring of the second half. The Ravens had several missed opportunities to score and lost quarterback Lamar Jackson to a concussion. The Bills ultimately won 17-3, but it was not their best win whatsoever.
With the two teams getting ready to play each other, the Chiefs are dealing with numerous injuries, while the Bills are mostly good to go. The biggest news for the Chiefs is that Patrick Mahomes has cleared concussion protocol and will be good to go against the Bills.
The Chiefs will be without linebacker Willie Gay who has an ankle injury. They also have five other players listed as questionable, with running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, and cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Rashad Fenton all dealign with injuries.
For the Bills, only defensive tackle Vernon Butler and wide receiver Gabriel Davis are listed as questionable. Despite the fact that the Chiefs are dealing with injuries, with Patrick Mahomes healthy our writers have no doubt that the Chiefs will secure a win and make it to the Super Bowl once again.
Here’s a look at our full writer predictions.
Drew Brooks: Chiefs 28, Bills 24
The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes back which will be huge. However, they haven’t won a game by more than a touchdown since Week 8 when they played the Jets. I think this one will be a good back and forth game with the Chiefs escaping with another narrow win.
Kevin Burd: Chiefs 34, Bills 24
The Chiefs have been widely disrespected, which will be a driving force for them to come out against the Bills with something to prove. Buffalo’s offense hasn’t been as explosive in the playoffs and the KC defense has been well as of late. I look for the Chiefs to make another statement win and take their spot in the Super Bowl.
Matt Conner: Chiefs 33, Bills 20
The Chiefs thoroughly pummeled the Bills last time out and haven’t lost a meaningful game since. They’re the defending Super Bowl champs, and have been the favorites all season. There’s simply no reason to believe the Bills can win here until they’ve proven otherwise.
Stephen Dudas: Chiefs 24, Bills 20
I believe this will be a bizarre game. Many people expect a shootout with massive bombs to athletic wideouts. But I see two defenses who entirely emphasize avoiding those plays. It will come down to who makes less small mistakes—and my bet is on the Chiefs (Mahomes and Reid specifically) to execute better.
Bransen Gibson: Chiefs 27, Bills 17
Ooooo boy, this is a big one. With injury clouds still over a number of Chiefs players, its hard to predict what will happen. Assuming that Mahomes, Watkins and even Edwards-Helaire all take the field, I’m backing the Chiefs to win. I have said all year that the Chiefs are the best team in football, and they should beat any team they face. I haven’t tipped against them all year and I won’t start now. The Chiefs will claim back-to-back Lamar Hunt Trophies.
Lyle Graversen: Chiefs 30, Bills 27
I’m assuming as I write this that Patrick Mahomes will be good to go. That being the case, I believe he’ll make more plays down the stretch than Josh Allen will for the Bills. Buffalo is a really good team, but the Chiefs are just a little better and ultimately that will get K.C. to their second straight Super Bowl.
Sterling Holmes: Chiefs 27, Bills 26
These are the two best teams in the AFC and in my opinion, they have been the whole season. Scoring seems to take a dip in the postseason as teams become more conservative but I expect Andy Reid to have a lot of confidence in his guys and that means big games for Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. It will come down to a Harrison Butker field goal and I expect him to nail it.
Scott Loring: Chiefs 34, Bills 24
Not only will Patrick Mahomes play, but he will play well; in fact, he will top 350 yards passing in this one. The Bills will not be able to keep up with the Chiefs offense and Kansas City will win their second consecutive AFC Championship on their own field. Josh Allen will play a decent game and try to make things interesting at the end, but the Chiefs will hold them off and secure a comfortable win.
Byron Smith: Chiefs 28, Bills 7
The Bills have not been nearly as good as the media will have you believe, and if it were not for the fact that they capitalized against a geriatric QB in Philip Rivers or a dysfunctional rush-first offense without it’s starting running back in the Ravens, they wouldn’t even be in this position. The Chiefs made the Browns’ defense look foolish in the early quarters with Mahomes, and even in the final drive with Henne, and that offense is not gonna suddenly forget how to play football this weekend. The Chiefs’ defense is even a little hot right now, making the Chiefs the most dangerous team left in the playoffs.
Kelly Thompson: Chiefs 37, Bills 24
The Bills have been a nice story and it’s cute that their fan base is celebrating playoff victories like they’re championships. The Chiefs are now 5+ years removed from getting over that threshold, and are firmly entrenched within the next great NFL dynasty. Mahomes, Reid and Co. prove yet again that they turn it on high when their opponents warrant such exertion.
Farzin Vousoughian: Chiefs 27, Bills 23
Thomas Welte: Chiefs 35, Bills 24
The AFC Championship should be a showdown between two of the best teams this year, and two of the best fan bases in the NFL. Seriously, Bills fans are pretty great. This game should be more competitive than their earlier match up, but the Chiefs are more experienced and look to have their championship swagger back after coming together to win against the Browns.