When the Bills (12-5) take on the Chiefs (13-5) in Kansas City in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS and Paramount+), it will be a much-anticipated rematch of the last year's AFC championship game. While the Chiefs are trying to make it a third straight conference title, the Bills want to get their first since the 1993-94 season.
Buffalo comes with great confidence after thrashing rival New England in the wild-card round. Kansas City also ripped its opponent, Pittsburgh. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes are both playing quarterback all-around at a high level after some lumps early in the season.
Here's how Sporting News sees the epic battle playing out, with the winner having a good shot to win it all in Super Bowl 56 two rounds later:
Bills vs. Chiefs odds for NFL playoff game
- Spread: Chiefs by 1.5
- Over/under: 54.5
- Moneyline: Bills +108, Chiefs -126
The Bills are gaining steam in this matchup to make it an essential pick 'em with the Chiefs' home-field edge not getting the usual number. The over/under is based on how well Allen and Mahomes are lighting up defenses of late.
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
Bills vs. Chiefs all-time series
The Bills lead 27-23-1 in their 51-game series over the years in the AFC. They won 38-20 in Kansas City in Week 5. Before that, the Chiefs held serve with a strong 38-24 victory in last year's AFC championship game. The Chiefs have won five of the past seven overall. The Bills are trying to make it two straight for the first time since 2011 and 2012.
Three trends to know
—57 of spread bettors are really feeling the Bills here with a small number given they had such great success matching up with the Chiefs in the regular season
—63 percent of over/under bettors still don't think the total in the near mid-50s is high enough when Allen and Mahomes are the quarterbacks.
—The Bills are 6-3-1 against the spread and 7-3 straight up in their past 10 games, with six of the games going over. The Chiefs are 7-3 ATS while going 9-1 SU in their past 10 with seven going over.
Three things to watch
Mahomes red-hot again
Mahomes ripped the Steelers for 404 yards passing and 5 TDs, his most prolific game since lighting up the Raiders in a similar fashion in Week 10. He was clicking with all of his weapons. He's been highly efficient since Week 14, being patient and letting the big plays come naturally off short down-and-distances. He's locked into key go-to guys Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce again at the right time with the added boom from the complementary skill players.
Allen red-hot again
Allen also had 5 scores against the Patriots through the air, with his 308 yards. He also added 6 rushes for 66 more yards. That was his best passing game since Week 5 against the Chiefs. Before then, he was a little shaky for six straight weeks. He should be ready to duel Mahomes at the highest level in their most important matchup yet.
Singletary vs. McKinnon
Devin Singletary has been great as the Bills' dedicated feature back over the past five weeks. He is playing well off Allen's deep passing and running threat. He has been especially good at finishing drives in the red zone as another key option with wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis and tight end Dawson Knox. McKinnon came out of nowhere to spark a banged-up backfield for the Chiefs, also showing his special receiving skills The focus is on the QBs, but the one getting more dynamic help next to him will have the bigger night and also win the night.
Stats that matter
53 percent vs. 47 percent. The Chiefs and Bills were the top-two third-down converting teams in the NFL during the regular season, and those were their impressive percentages. Kansas City is in better position to keep the chains moving and one or two non-punting or non-field goal results can make the slightest needed difference in a tough, tight matchup.
Bills vs. Chiefs prediction
This game can be dissected many ways but with the defenses stepping up and the traditional running games being big factors, this comes down to which QB to trust most, Allen or Mahomes. Although Allen is known to take over games with his big arm and legs, Mahomes has plenty of that magic on his resume, too. The Bills really wanted this game to be back home but a few hiccups in he middle of the season cost them that key advantage. Arrowhead and the more experienced young passer with Super Bowl acumen to boot allows the Chiefs to survive a wild one late.
Chiefs 30, Bills 27