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Game Predictions | Bills vs. Chiefs | NFL Playoffs


The Buffalo Bills (12-6) are 2.5-point favorites heading into Sunday's Divisional round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs (12-6) at Highmark Stadium. The game will air on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on CBS.

For the latest point spreads, check FanDuel.

Since 2020, this is the third postseason meeting between the Bills and Chiefs. The Chiefs have won the previous two meetings in Kansas City. This will be the first postseason meeting in Buffalo.

Buffalo beat Kansas City in Week 14 of this season 20-17 in Kansas City.

Here's a list of additional postseason notes

  • The Bills have won six consecutive games since Week 14
  • The Bills are 8-1 including playoffs at home in 2023
  • The Bills are 24-5 in December/January games since 2020 including playoffs
  • The Chiefs are 5-0 in the divisional round since drafting Patrick Mahomes
  • Andy Reid is coaching in his first road playoff game since the 2015 divisional round
  • Patrick Mahomes is 12-3 in 15 career playoff starts
  • Chiefs are 0-4 when allowing 21 points or more in 2023
  • Chiefs were 6-2 on the road in 2023

What to watch for: For the first time in this rivalry between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, the Chiefs are coming to Orchard Park for the postseason. The quarterbacks have met six times, with the Bills winning three of the four regular-season meetings, and the Chiefs taking both postseason games (2020 and 2021). The difference for the Bills in the regular and postseason matchups is the defensive success. In the regular season, the Bills have held the Chiefs to 20.8 points per game and produced nine takeaways, but in the playoffs, Kansas City has averaged 40 points per game and had only one turnover. There will be a big test ahead for a Bills defense dealing with a variety of injuries. -- Alaina Getzenberg

Bold prediction: Mahomes and Allen will combine for at least six TD passes. These two always put on a show when they play, particularly in the postseason. Mahomes and Allen combined for five scoring passes in the AFC Championship Game after the 2020 season and seven in the divisional round the next season. The conditions will be less than ideal, but that hasn't stopped them before. -- Adam Teicher

Stat to know: One area that might differentiate the Bills from the Chiefs could be winning the turnover battle. The Bills forced 30 turnovers this season, the second most in the NFL (the Ravens and Giants forced 31 each). The Chiefs forced 17 turnovers this season, the 27th most in the NFL.

Matchup X factor: The Bills' cornerback health. Taron Johnson (concussion), Rasul Douglas (knee) and Christian Benford (knee) are all banged up. While Buffalo looks like the better team on paper, a depleted secondary against Mahomes seems like a dangerous combination. -- Walder

Game-plan key: In the Week 14 matchup between these teams, Bills running back James Cook had 83 receiving yards. Look for the Bills to get Cook involved in the passing game again with backfield releases and screens. And look for Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton to be key in limiting those plays. -- Bowen

Officiating note: Shawn Hochuli is one of the NFL's more active referees. During the regular season, he threw an NFL-high 14 flags for roughing the passer, five more than the next-closest referee. Since becoming a referee in 2018, he has led the league with 61 such flags. That could prove interesting, as Allen has grown adept at drawing roughing the passer fouls. He drew six in 2023, the most in the league. Mahomes drew only one. -- Seifert

Betting nugget: Mahomes is 10-5 ATS in his playoff career, including 7-2 ATS when he is not at least a seven-point favorite. Allen is 3-6 ATS in his playoff career.

Moody's pick: Bills 31, Chiefs 27

Walder's pick: Chiefs 32, Bills 31

FPI prediction: BUF, 56.6% (by an average of 2.3 points)

This is the game of the week between two teams that have met in recent years, but this game is a Bills home game. That means Patrick Mahomes will be playing the first road playoff game in his career. It sure doesn't come in an easy place to play. The Bills have rolled into the playoffs, needing to win every game down the stretch, but they have some major defensive injuries. The Chiefs offense showed well last week against Miami, so that could be a problem. Josh Allen has to limit his mistakes, which he did in the victory over the Steelers. I think he does here as the Bills beat the Chiefs to advance to the AFC championship game.

Pick: Bills 28, Chiefs 23

It's the latest postseason meeting in the closest thing the NFL currently has to Brady vs. Manning. The Bills have been a great story, but plenty of great stories fall short of ultimately glory. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is in playoff mode. He's playing like he won't be denied.

Florio: Chiefs, 30-27.

Simms: Bills, 28-24.

There's little doubt what the game of the weekend is. And the argument for the Chiefs winning is pretty easy. The Bills are on a short week and took on some more injuries Monday. Kansas City has the best defense of the Patrick Mahomes era. And they have Mahomes. It has been difficult for the Chiefs at times this season, though they looked pretty good last weekend against Miami.

I'm still not moving off the Bills.

Late in the season, I said the Bills would either miss the playoffs or make the Super Bowl. We'll see if I follow through and pick Buffalo next week, but I am not giving up on them yet. This was a flawed Chiefs team throughout the season. They're still very good, they have the best coach/quarterback combination in the NFL, and they're in a good spot. They're probably better equipped for bad weather — we're in for another scary forecast in western New York — than the team from Buffalo. It wouldn't surprise anyone if they won Sunday night.

But this seems like the Bills' time. The crowd will be great. Josh Allen has been awesome this season if he's not turning it over. Buffalo has more options on offense than the past few seasons. The Chiefs' dynasty isn't close to being finished, but Buffalo is ready to take a big step this postseason.

Pick: Bills -3 over Chiefs

The Bills' injury report is alarmingly long. Coach Sean McDermott on Tuesday gave a lengthy list of players who were day-to-day going into the week, including safety Taylor Rapp (calf), wide receiver Gabe Davis (knee), cornerback Rasul Douglas (knee), linebacker Tyrel Dodson (shoulder), cornerback Christian Benford (knee), linebacker Terrel Bernard (ankle), cornerback Taron Johnson (concussion protocol), linebacker Baylon Spector (back) and punter Sam Martin (hamstring). Rapp, Davis, Douglas and Dodson missed Monday's win over the Steelers.

At full strength, the Bills have the league's 12th-best defense, per Schatz's defense-adjusted value over average metric, but these injuries will only make it harder to defend against the Chiefs, who rolled up 409 yards and 26 points in the bitter cold against the Dolphins.

Pick: Chiefs money line at +120 odds or better

Mahomes will make his first road start in the postseason. Buffalo beat Kansas City 20-17 in Week 14. Who remembers that offensive offsides call on Kadarius Toney? It was a tight game, and while the attention is on Mahomes and Allen this might end up being a defensive struggle. Neither team could generate a strong running game in that first matchup – and the Bills dominated time of possession. It's best to keep Mahomes off the field as possible. The Bills were 7-1 S/U and 7-1 ATS as a home favorite this season. Kansas City is 7-0-1 ATS and 6-2 S/U as a road underdog since Mahomes took over as the starter in 2018. and If Allen avoids field-changing interceptions, then Buffalo should be able to feed off the home crowd in the elements. Allen has played well in the last two playoff losses against the Chiefs. This time, the Bills' defense ends Kansas City's hopes for a repeat by forcing a late turnover. 

Pick: Bills 28, Chiefs 24

The Chiefs' defense made a statement in the first game at home but the offense wasn't clean enough in a 20-17 loss in Week 14. Patrick Mahomes faces his first true playoff road challenge and will be helped plenty by the power running game and other side of the ball.

Mahomes won't mess around and stay efficient by making the Bills stop both Rashee Rice and Travis Kelce, while the hard-pounding Isiah Pacheco will wear down the pass rush with good volume. The Bills need to stick more with the run to James Cook, but they will once again get too confident with Josh Allen in a tough matchup where he's bound to be pressured into the key giveaways Mahomes won't make.

Pick: Chiefs win 24-20.

The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs have squared off six times since 2020, with both teams winning three games during that span. Buffalo has won three of the last four, but Kansas City has won both playoff matchups.

These teams are very familiar with each other. Often, the quarterback with the ball last has won.

Buffalo's current six-game winning streak started with a Week 14 victory over the Chiefs in Kansas City. Bills RB James Cook had a big game in that matchup, with 58 rushing yards and 83 through the air. Buffalo is among the most pass-centric teams in the league, while Kansas City allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards this season.

Patrick Mahomes' offense has been uncharacteristically uneven, but the unit took care of business against Miami last week. Despite the offenses's regular-season struggles, Mahomes is the scariest opponent any defense can face in an elimination game.

Buffalo's secondary and linebacker group are riddled with injuries. If anyone can exploit that type of situation, it's Mahomes.

Score Prediction: Bills 23, Chiefs 20

Why Gennaro is taking the Chiefs: Fewer games means fewer narratives, inherently promising one subplot will be repeated so frequently this week that your eyes might just roll out of their sockets. So be careful out there, but … DID YOU HEAR THAT THIS IS PATRICK MAHOMES' FIRST TRUE ROAD PLAYOFF GAME?!?! It's true. I checked. (By stepping outside and cupping a hand to my downwind ear.) Yes, the Bills have home-field advantage. But the Chiefs have the better defense, the healthier roster and two extra days of rest. Not to mention, Kansas City's much-maligned offense just enjoyed its most prolific, balanced effort since October. Oh, and I'm thinking that maniacal competitor in the No. 15 jersey is slightly motivated by the underdog label and still a bit aggrieved over the ending to last month's home loss to Buffalo.


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