What the Chiefs must do to beat the Bills in the Divisional Round

What must the Kansas City Chiefs do in order to beat the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round?

Jan 13, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) reacts
Jan 13, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) reacts / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Exploit the middle of Buffalo's defense

One of the under-the-radar storylines for this game is how beaten up the Buffalo defense is. Cornerback Tre'Davious White, linebacker Matt Milano, and defensive tackle have all been out for a while and will miss the remainder of the season. In addition, linebacker Baylon Spector and Christian Benford were injured against the Steelers and are out for this game. Linebacker Terrel Bernard was also injured against Pittsburgh and has been listed as questionable for this matchup. Safety Taylor Rapp didn't play last week and will also miss this game.

There's a realistic scenario in which the Bills are down three of their top four linebackers from the beginning of the season, which would be a huge problem for them.

It's not a coincidence that once the Bills lost multiple key players at linebacker, the Steelers were able to start moving the ball on the Buffalo defense. Where the Bills were most vulnerable was the middle. According to Pro Football Focus ($), Mason Rudolph went 13-of-16 for 132, 2 touchdowns, and a 140.6 passer rating on pass attempts between the numbers and past the line of scrimmage. That's where the Chiefs need to attack.

The Chiefs have two weapons that are amazing at stressing out the middle of defenses: Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice. Neither guy is known for winning outside of the number and both feast on targets that are between the numbers and between 0 and 19 yards past the line of scrimmage. If Kansas City is going to produce offensively in this game, they will need both Kelce and Rice to have strong performances in the passing game, exposing a now significant weakness on Buffalo.