We've made it to Week 6, which features a matchup we all had circled on our calendars. The Buffalo Bills are heading to Kansas City to face the team who knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
Here are 6 things to know for Sunday's game featuring two 4-1 teams.
1. Moving on from :13 seconds
We all know how last season ended. No need to get into it. While :13 seconds may not be at the top of the coaches' minds as they prepare for this week, it is something they learned a lot from.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott jokingly told local media he could talk for two hours about what the team learned from that heartbreaking loss.
"I think just overall, you learn a lot through your experience, whether it's positive or negative, and you can use it as you move forward as a person individually, as a team in this case," McDermott said. "I think when you're in those games, just being in those games to begin with is a great educator for us as coaches, players and our football team."
When it comes to watching film when preparing for a team you've played four times in the last two seasons, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he doesn't feel the need to go back to :13 seconds for game prep. And with so much film available to watch on such a familiar opponent, the coaches understand that familiarity can hurt you if you don't use it the right way.
"You try and find that sweet spot every week with the right game plan," McDermott said. "And our coaches have done a really good job with that this year of balancing volume with trying to hit the bullseye at the same time with the game plan. So, we'll work at that this week, and it's a very good opponent."
In each of the last two seasons, the Bills have seen the Chiefs once in the regular season and once in the playoffs. In those four games, the Bills are 1-3. Their one win came in Week 5, 2021 when the Bills beat the Chiefs 38-20. The Chiefs have outscored the Bills, 126-115 in those four games.
2. Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes
We get to witness two of the NFL's best quarterbacks going at it on Sunday. Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes have accomplished things that few quarterbacks have done in their first five years in the NFL.
Allen and Mahomes rank in the top 5 for most offensive touchdowns through five seasons. Mahomes ranks third with 159 and Allen is in fourth with 151.
Allen is the only player in NFL history to have at least 4,000 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns and eight rushing touchdowns in a single season (2020). After starting in his second Super Bowl in 2021, Mahomes became the youngest NFL quarterback to start in two Super Bowls.
Records are meant to be broken, but for now, these ones are pretty wild. Whether it's Allen or Mahomes, game planning ways to limit them isn't easy. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier thinks Mahomes' versatility is what makes him so difficult to predict.
"The mobility, the accuracy, how smart he is a player," Frazier said of ways that separate Mahomes from others. "There are so many things that make it hard as a defensive coordinator to prepare for what he's capable of doing because there's some things you can prepare for, but he does things that you can't prepare for. You can show some plays on tape, and you go, there aren't many guys that can do this. There are so many rarities in his game, and he's a special player for sure.
"You just got to find a way to disrupt the timing somehow. But he's going to make some plays, he's too talented not to. You just got to limit the number of plays that he makes."
So far this season, Allen leads the NFL with 1,651 passing yards and 16 total touchdowns. Mahomes leads the NFL with 15 passing touchdowns and has 1,398 passing yards (4th).
3. New look Chiefs WRs vs. New look Bills DBs
From year to year, teams change. Sometimes due to players coming or leaving, sometimes due to injuries. We will see these changes in Sunday's game on both sides of the ball.
The Chiefs look different on offense because one of their best weapons in Tyreek Hill is now playing for Miami. The Bills aren't the same as last year on defense, specifically in the secondary, due to injuries. With two teams so familiar with each other, the battle between Kansas City's wide receivers and Buffalo's defensive backs should be interesting because there are several new faces.
New additions to Kansas City's WR room include, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore. The Chiefs will see players like Kaiir Elam, Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson for the first time.
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier thinks the loss of a player like Hill can impact any team, but when you have Mahomes at QB, there's always a chance.
"He was such a big part of what they did in creating the explosives for their offense, but they still are very efficient," Frazier said. "They still are doing a very good job of scoring points and attacking defenses. And as long as you have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, there's not going to be a huge drop-off."
Without Hill, Frazier has noticed the Chiefs are using their run game more than they have in the past.
"It seems like they are trying to incorporate the run a little bit more," Frazier said. "But it's still very early in the season, and they do have some very capable receivers. So they're still pushing the ball down the field and spreading it out a little bit more than what they have in the past. But it does seem like they want to get the running game going for sure."
4. How the two teams stack up
Through five weeks of play, you're looking at two of the NFL's best offenses in this one thanks to their QBs. On defense, statistically speaking, the Bills are the better team.
Here's how the Chiefs and Bills matchup this season according to the stats.
Points per game – Bills: 30.4 (2nd), Chiefs: 31.8 (1st)
Total yards per game – Bills: 440.4 (1st), Chiefs: 381.4 (6th)
Passing yards per game – Bills: 324 (1st), Chiefs: 267.2 (4th)
Rushing yards per game – Bills: 116.4 (14th), Chiefs: 114.2 (18th)
Third down conversion percentage – Bills: 55.7% (1st), Chiefs: 52.5% (2nd)
Red zone efficiency – Bills: 55.6% (21st), Chiefs: 78.3% (3rd)
Points allowed per game – Bills: 12.2 (1st), Chiefs: 25 (tied for 23rd)
Total yards allowed per game – Bills: 260.4 (2nd), Chiefs: 339.2 (14th)
Passing yards allowed per game – Bills: 182.6 (4th), Chiefs: 255.6 (24th)
Rushing yards allowed per game – Bills: 77.8 (2nd), Chiefs: 83.6 (3rd)
Takeaways – Bills: 11 (tied for 1st), 4 (tied for 26th)
Opponents red zone efficiency – Bills: 50% (tied for 9th), 81.3% (31st)
5. Limiting Travis Kelce
Sunday's game will feature plenty of top tier talent, and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce fits right in that category. Kelce ranks at the top of the NFL among tight ends with 33 receptions (1st for TEs) for 347 receiving yards (2nd for TEs). The TE has seven touchdown receptions, which leads the NFL.
In the last four games against the Bills (including playoffs), Kelce has totaled 32 receptions for 336 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier calls Kelce an important target in clutch situations for the Chiefs.
"He's a guy that can really wreck the game, and he's a handful," Frazier said. "We'll have to figure out ways to slow him down and minimize the damage that he does, but you're not going to completely shut him down. You just got to be able to control some of the effectiveness that he can provide for an offense."
This season the Bills have done a good job of limiting teams' tight ends. They faced tight end Mark Andrews in Week 4, who leads the NFL in tight end yards, and limited him to two catches for 15 yards.
6. Stopping Chris Jones and KC's pass rush
Kansas City's strength on defense has to be their pass rush and it's something Buffalo's offensive line must be ready for on Sunday. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones and defensive ends Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlap make it tough on their opponents. It's not just their defensive line because their linebackers have generated good pressure this season, too.
"They've got great personnel, and they've done a really good job there creating depth and creating guys who can do some different things up front," Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey said. "And then two, I think they put those guys in position, they're aggressive with their scheme and they do a lot of different things to create issues for opposing teams. I think it's a really balanced combination that they have between the two, and it poses challenges for an offense."
The Chiefs have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, allowing under 85 rushing yards per game to their opponents. They also have 35 quarterback hits, which ranks sixth in the NFL.
The Bills could be seeing a good pass rush at the perfect time because of how the offensive line played against the Steelers. Buffalo's running backs averaged seven rushing yards per attempt against the Steelers, which is a great number and the byproduct of getting protection and push from the offensive line. We'll see if this impressive performance takes another step forward against the Chiefs.
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