BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On January 23, 1994 the Buffalo Bills defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 30-13 in the AFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl. What will today's outcome be? The WKBW sports staff gives their predictions.
Welcome to the AFC Championship game. You’ve waited a long time for this and no matter what happens at Arrowhead Stadium, this will have been an exceptional season for the Bills. But the question now becomes — do the Bills have what it takes to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs?
Of course they do, but they’ll need a strong game on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they’ll need Josh Allen to play like the MVP caliber candidate we’ve seen so many times this season. If he lets the game come to him and trusts his instincts, I like his chances.
We know Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, even though he’s not 100-percent, will give the Bills defense all they can handle. Center Mitch Morse has played with both Allen and Mahomes and says while they have their differences, there are plenty of similarities.
“I think two things stick out. The first one is both are just good people. And usually in my experience, being a good person correlates with being a good football player. Guys rally around you and you bring the best out of them. Secondly is competitive poise and what I mean by that is that they can come into a huddle and have a demeanor that permeates throughout the offense and the huddle and that's what you need and a guy's always gotta do that."
We’ve seen Mahomes win the big game. This is Allen’s first opportunity to punch a ticket for the Bills to the Super Bowl, and his coach believes he’s ready.
"This is the next step for Josh,” Sean McDermott said. “This is what you want, this is what you work for, and what he's worked for. So he'll be ready and we're all extremely confident in him."
Look for Allen to air it out early and often as the Chiefs are more susceptible to allowing chunk plays in the air than on the ground.
Defensively, the Bills need to do a better job stopping the run. When these two teams met in Week 6, Kansas City rushed for nearly 250 yards. After the game players told us they were more comfortable forcing the Chiefs to run it against them but this time around, things will be a lot different.
“The first time we played them we wanted to limit the explosiveness, so we played two wide the whole game with two deep safeties the whole time and invited them to run the ball,” safety Jordan Poyer said. “So I think we'll be a little more aggressive, show up more in the run game, but then also get back in their deep passing game."
As you’d expect at this point in the season, this is the Bills toughest test yet. Kansas City is a great team and they have the best quarterback in the NFL. But when you look at the rosters from top to bottom, the Bills can compete with just about anybody.
Bills 28, Chiefs 27
Season Record: 15-3
It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to watch the Bills play for an AFC Championship and it still feels surreal. I woke up thinking, is this real life? It is, and it feels great.
The Bills are a vastly different team than they were the last time they played the Chiefs... and they were still in it all game.
Josh Allen needs to have himself a day. They can’t make mistakes. The defense has to make this Chiefs team one-dimensional. And they have to play football the same way they’ve been playing the last few weeks.
I think the Bills have a legit shot in this one and because of that, there’s no way I’m picking against them.
Bills: 33, Chiefs: 30
Season Record: 14-4
Against the Rams, Buffalo proved me wrong. Against Seattle, the Bills proved me wrong. And that was before their win streak that's the longest active streak in the NFL.
Week 6 was frankly among the worst games that Buffalo played all season. Since then, the lows of the passing game have gotten more consistent. So have both the run defense and the pass defense. Jordan Poyer even said that the Bills would be more aggressive this week.
There's just something about this team. All year long, ask anyone to sing the praises of a teammate, and they can't hold back a big smile even if they try. It sounds cliche, but at this point, playing for one another matters. Culture matters. And the Bills have that on their side no doubt.
Buffalo has to limit explosive plays for Kansas City. They did a good job of that back in October, but the running game, chunk plays, and an offense that stalled all hindered the Bills. Buffalo needs December-level football to win this one, and they need a game where Josh Allen blows the doors off. And I think they get just that.
Bills 33, Chiefs 31
Season Record: 12-6