The Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills will be facing off for the third time in the last four postseasons this weekend as the Chiefs travel to Orchard Park to take on Josh Allen and the Bills in what will be Patrick Mahomes' first true playoff game.
Both of these teams are no strangers to each other as they've faced off a total of six times in the last four seasons including the playoffs. While the Bills have more regular season wins in that span, Kansas City has come out on top in the playoffs each time in the Patrick Mahomes era—most recently in the 2021 Divisional round when Kansas City pulled off a miracle overtime win after being down 3 with just 13 seconds left in regulation.
There's no question that Kansas City has had more playoff success than Buffalo since the rivalry has formed. Kansas City has hosted five straight AFC Championship games and has two Super Bowl titles to show for it. Buffalo, on the other hand, has yet to truly break through in the postseason. Kansas City is defending its title. Buffalo is still searching for their first in franchise history. The question is, who is under more pressure to win this game?
Are the Buffalo Bills under more pressure than KC Chiefs?
It feels as if the easy answer is Buffalo since they've seemingly been all-in the past few years with the way they've gone about free agency and their offseason. Adding pass rushers Von Miller and Leonard Floyd over the past couple of seasons was a clear indicator of that. Despite the effort, the Bills have come up just short of advancing in the postseason multiple times in the last few years making this weekend's Divisional Round matchup a big one for potentially determining the future of the franchise.
If the Bills defeat the Chiefs, a sense of relief will hit with the fans and organization. It will feel like a boogeyman of sorts has been conquered as Josh Allen and company have struggled to win the big one. Even if the Bills don't win the Super Bowl, if they can take down Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. it will probably give Buffalo confidence that they're heading in the right direction.
If Buffalo loses, it will probably feel like they hit a wall and something has to change. It is crazy to think how much hinges on the result of this game, but Buffalo would be 0-3 versus Kansas City in the playoffs in the Josh Allen era at that point. Eventually, you have to shake things up if it's not working. What could those changes be? Who knows? But it feels like almost anything is on the table if you're a divisional round exit yet again after being all-in.
As for Kansas City, there's always pressure when it comes to defending your title. Not only that, but they're still trying to make their case for being considered a dynasty. The word dynasty was starting to be thrown around following Kansas City's Super Bowl victory last season, but many people feel like Kansas City needs to do a little bit more to be considered a dynasty. Beating the Bills would put Kansas City one step closer to being a dynasty.
Some expectations have been set in Kansas City that if you don't win the Super Bowl, your season will be a failure. Despite the lows this year, that's still true. You're in the postseason. If you don't win the championship then fans are going to consider the season a failure. There's a lot of pressure just in the expectations that fans have for the franchise.
The Chiefs aren't necessarily all-in, though, searching for that first title like the Bills, but there does seem to be a little bit of a desire to grab one more with this core for Kansas City. We have no idea what is going to happen with Chris Jones or L'Jarius Sneed this offseason. Travis Kelce seems to be slowing down a little sooner than everyone thought. So, while the window will always be open with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid heading the snake, there's an opportunity to maximize here with this current iteration of the Chiefs.
Ultimately, there's always going to be some level of pressure when you are playing in a big playoff game for a chance at the Super Bowl, but it does feel like more pressure is on the Bills to get it done this time around because they're desperate for that first title.
The other thing to consider with Kansas City is a lot of people came to accept the fact the Chiefs just might not have it this year to win a Super Bowl when the team hit a low after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Day. At this point, it feels like the Chiefs are playing with house money just a little bit.
The AFC is wide open so you still have to respect Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs but It's been a down year for the offense and Kansas City has looked more vulnerable than they ever have. If Buffalo is ever going to beat Kansas City, this needs to be the year. Because this is probably the worst you're going to see the Chiefs for a while.