The Buffalo Bills have put out another call for volunteers to help shovel out Highmark Stadium ahead of their Sunday AFC Divisional playoff matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. With more heavy lake-effect snow in the forecast, the team is hoping fans will brave the frigid conditions to ensure the stadium is cleared out for the high-stakes postseason showdown.
Over 30 Inches of Snow Already and More on the Way
Western New York has been pummeled by winter storms over the past week, with over 30 inches of snow already blanketing Highmark Stadium and the surrounding area. A driving ban had even been implemented in the region due to extremely hazardous conditions from the non-stop snowfall.
While the storm finally eased up on Saturday, allowing the Bills to hold practice after conducting meetings virtually most of the week, meteorologists are predicting another blast of heavy lake-effect snow on Sunday leading up to the Chiefs game. Current projections call for several additional inches Sunday morning before tapering off to flurries by kickoff.
Bills Mafia Shovels Out The Ralph for Latest Playoff Push
This isn’t the first time – and likely won’t be the last – that Bills Mafia has been summoned to grab their shovels and dig out the Ralph before a critical late-season matchup. Just a few weeks ago, prior to Buffalo’s Super Wild Card win over the Miami Dolphins, fans turned out in droves to help clear tons of snow from Highmark Stadium.
The Bills have had to deal with snowy conditions often in recent playoff runs. Last postseason, tight end Dawson Knox was even spotted chipping in to move snow off the tarps protecting the sidelines.
While the weather has cooperate the past couple of frigid playoff games at Highmark, including Buffalo’s narrowly Surviving Miami, the snow shovels are now becoming as much a part of Bills postseason lore as red helmets and Labatt Blue.
National Spotlight Again on Buffalo’s Winter Resilience
As the Bills prepare to host a highly-anticipated rematch of last year’s epic AFC Divisional shootout versus Kansas City, the snowfall and community response have captured national attention once more. Images of fans actively clearing sections of stands at Highmark have spread rapidly across social media and sports outlets.
The Chiefs enter Sunday’s contest with a bit more familiarity dealing with the adverse conditions, having just survived a winter storm this past Saturday to knock off the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20. Meanwhile, the Bills players and coaches continue relying heavily on the dedication of Bills Mafia to give them the best chance possible on the slippery, snow-covered turf Sunday evening.
If Buffalo can summon the offensive explosion they displayed in last year’s overtime thriller, where they scored a touchdown in 42 seconds to force the extra period, the weather could prove the ultimate equalizer against the high-powered Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce playing snow football matches the essence of Buffalo’s sports scene each winter.
What to Watch For Entering Sunday’s Game
All eyes will remain fixed on the weather forecast leading up to Sunday’s 5:30 PM kickoff. Lake-effect snow bands can be extremely localized, making it hard to pinpoint exactly how much snow the Bills Stadium area will receive. Current projections indicate the snow should wind down a few hours before game time, but any additional accumulation could impact field conditions.
The Bills enter as slight 1.5-point favorites according to most sportsbooks. But with the latest weather thrown into the mix, this Divisional Round contest represents a toss-up between two of the AFC’s premier Super Bowl contenders.
Josh Allen and the Bills offense found their rhythm in the second half against Miami, erasing a 17-6 deficit before narrowly escaping with the victory. But the Chiefs defense held Buffalo to just 20 points during their October meeting in Kansas City. With potential weather and footing challenges, points may be at a premium Sunday night.
Look for a hard-fought, lower-scoring affair that could come down to the final possession. And if recent history is any indicator, Bills Mafia will have that Highmark Stadium turf cleared off enough for Allen and the offense to make a few more iconic snowy memories.
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