How to watch Bills vs. Chiefs: Time, live stream, TV, key matchups, predictions for AFC divisional-round game

The final matchup of the divisional-round weekend is all too familiar: For the third time in four seasons, the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs will meet in the playoffs.

However, this is the first time the game will be in Buffalo, as the Chiefs are hitting the road for postseason competition for the first time in the Patrick Mahomes era. The Bills traveled to Kansas City and defeated the Chiefs earlier this season, the first win in a six-game winning streak.

Now these rivals meet again, with a trip to the conference championship at stake. So, which of these teams will advance to the AFC title game? We will find out soon. Before we get into the details of the matchup, here’s how you can watch the game.

how to see

date: Sunday, January 21 Time: 6:30 pm ET
Place: Highmark Stadium (Orchard Park, New York)
TV: CBS | Streaming: paramount+
to follow: CBS Sports App
odds: Bills -2.5, O/U 45.5 (via SportsLine Consensus Odds)

When the Chiefs have the ball

The Chiefs finally had a good offensive game last week against the Dolphins. He passed for 409 yards at Miami, his most since Week 7. They scored on six of their nine non-clock-kill drives, and gained more than 60 yards on four of them. So even though they managed only 2 out of 6 runs in the red zone, they still won the game very easily. And this was against a Miami defense that was playing really well toward the end of the season.

Similarly, the Bills’ defense has played quite well in the second half of the year after experiencing a lull around mid-season, when it was beset by injuries.

The main difference between the Miami defense, on which Kansas City moved the ball with relative ease last week, and the Buffalo defense it will face this week, is that the Dolphins are without their top three edge rushers (Jalen Phillips, Bradley Chubb and Were without each of them. Andrew Van Ginkel) due to injuries, and thus were unable to put any pressure on Patrick Mahomes. According to True Media, Mahomes faced the sixth-lowest pressure rate of the season and was able to hold the ball an average of 3.13 seconds before snapping it. That’s about three-tenths of a second more than the league average, which doesn’t seem like much, but considering the small difference between a sack and a completed pass, it’s a big difference.

How well this Kansas City offensive line holds up against Greg Rousseau, Leonard Floyd, Von Miller and the rest of the pass-rushing group up front will probably be the most important factor in determining the outcome of this game. Buffalo finished the season ranked 10th in pressure rate, and because its pass-catchers were so unreliable this season, Mahomes had the worst pressure numbers of his career: He threw for 1,132 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions. Could score only 91 runs out of 185. His 6.1 yards per attempt were a career low, his touchdown and interception rates were a career worst, his explosive-play rate was a career worst and he took sacks under pressure at the second-highest rate of his career .

If Mahomes has time to throw, the Chiefs have some advantages in the middle of the field, where Rashee Rice and Travis Kelce do most of their work. The Bills are incredibly explosive in the middle of their defense and especially at linebacker. They play a lot of zone coverage, so those players and their safety often cover the middle of the field. The Bills were very good against the pass over the middle during the regular season (second in FTN’s DVOA), but linebacker Terrell Bernard and slot corner Terron Johnson were both questionable (and the former did not practice all week), and safeties Taylor Rapp and Outside corner Christian Benford, both out, things are about to change in the middle of the defense.

Buffalo’s run defense was only average this season, ranking 17th in DVOA and 31st in yards after contact allowed per attempt, 23rd in explosive run rate and 26th in share of carries, making them Allowed to gain 5 or more yards. Having Daquan Jones back in the middle of the defense helps on those fronts – especially against a team like Kansas City, whose strength lies in the middle along the offensive line. Isiah Pacheco averaged more than 3 yards per carry after contact this season, but he did not play in KC’s loss against the Bills, when Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon combined for just 58 yards on 15 carries. Distance covered.

when bill has the ball

This side of the matchup is much different than in the past. Not only are the Bills very different offenses (more run heavy, less target focused), but the Chiefs now have one of the best defenses in the NFL, rather than the type of unit they typically brought to the expected shootout against Buffalo. Are.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that the Bills’ degree of success has depended almost entirely on Josh Allen’s ability to perform his Superman routine while avoiding back-breaking interceptions.

Kansas City’s pass coverage has been tough all season, with the Chiefs ranking fifth in FTN pass defense DVOA. According to True Media, opponents averaged the fifth-lowest EPA/dropback, as well as the league’s lowest explosive pass rate. Meanwhile, Kansas City got pressure on 39.2% of dropbacks (ninth in the NFL) and picked up a sack on 9.3% (first).

The Chiefs sent blitzes more often than the other four teams, and they played man coverage at the NFL’s fifth-highest rate. Both of these things can work either for or against Allen. If Stefon Diggs, Khalil Shakir and Dalton Kincaid can get on their routes quickly, Allen has the arm strength needed to fit the ball into any window, and be the last to get rid of the ball before doing so. There is size and hardness to wait until the potential seconds. so. If they are able to make the catch while moving, there should be ample opportunity for yards after the catch. And if Allen is able to escape the rush, as we’ve seen him do many times before, there should also be room for him to make plays with his legs as a runner or on scramble-drill passes.

However, if L’Jarius Sneed, Trent McDuffie and Kansas City’s linebackers can stick to those receivers, and if the pass rush is able to maintain rush-lane integrity and keep Allen in the pocket until It will clearly be difficult for him to not fall on him and cause significant problems for Buffalo’s offense. (It will also be interesting to see if Sneed shadows Diggs, or if the Chiefs are okay with lining up a defensive back.) Just like on the other side of the ball, a big factor here will be how good the offensive line is – Especially on the interior, against Chris Jones – can Allen stick, and is he able to throw in rhythm or will he have to constantly freelance all night long.

As mentioned earlier, there is a bit more pressure on the bills this year than ever before. James Cook is an explosive threat out of the backfield, and obviously Allen is one of the most unique threats to play the quarterback position. The Bills have been more willing to utilize Allen as a runner in the past in the playoffs, and especially against the Chiefs, and this game provides them with another excellent opportunity to do so – especially in short yardage. The Bills must make every effort to create gains, and Allen’s ability to convert tough yards and create chunk gains with his legs is one of the biggest levers he has.

Prediction

Buffalo defeated Kansas City earlier this season, and got to play this game at home. Those are advantages, but the state of the team’s defense weakened by injuries leads me to believe the Chiefs will be able to move the ball with more success than last time, and in a close playoff game, I’ll always tip it to Andy Reid. And Patrick Mahomes until someone beats him. Select: Major 23, Bill 21

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