The stage is set for an epic NFL playoff rematch on Sunday between star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs and Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. This highly anticipated AFC Divisional matchup pits the conference’s top two teams over the past four seasons in a fight to reach the conference championship game.
Lead Up To The Game
The Chiefs and Bills have battled in several classic games over the past few seasons, including an epic 42-36 overtime thriller in last year’s divisional round which Kansas City won on the opening drive of OT. While Mahomes and the Chiefs have historically dominated in the playoffs, this will be their first road game, presenting a new challenge against a Bills team eager to finally host Kansas City with their rabid fanbase behind them.
Mahomes himself has embraced the growing rivalry with Allen, comparing it to past legendary QB matchups like Brady-Manning.
“It’s definitely becoming kind of a rivalry as you get on these big stages and you play each other. You appreciate going out there and competing against great football teams and players like that. It’s definitely a rivalry as we continue to kind of go forward.” 
Allen and the Bills are out for revenge after heartbreakingly coming up just short so many times against Kansas City. Buffalo’s confidence is sky-high playing at home, with offensive lineman Dion Dawkins boldly declaring:
“It’s cool so good luck to them.” 
|Chiefs-Bills Playoff Matchups
|2018 AFC Championship
|Chiefs Won (OT)
|2020 AFC Championship
|2021 AFC Championship
|Chiefs Won (OT)
|2022 Divisional Round
|Chiefs Won (OT)
Meanwhile on the Kansas City side, defensive tackle Chris Jones made it clear they aren’t intimidated by the hostile environment awaiting them in Buffalo:
“It’s still a football game, the field is still 100 yards…We just have to communicate really well. I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.” 
All the ingredients are in place for an all-time playoff clash. Let’s examine the key storylines and what to watch for when Mahomes, Kelce, and the Chiefs offense takes on Allen, Diggs, and Buffalo’s explosive attack with a trip to the AFC Championship on the line.
Key Matchups & Storylines
Can Chiefs Offense Stay Hot In Freezing Temperatures?
The forecast in Buffalo calls for a high of 20°F on Sunday, far colder than the Chiefs are accustomed to. This could affect Kansas City’s timing-based passing attack, although Mahomes has elite arm talent capable of cutting through the elements.
The Bills also boast the NFL’s top pass defense, allowing just 179 yards per game. So this figures to be the Chiefs’ biggest offensive test of the season. Kansas City lit up Jacksonville last week by creatively scheming playmakers in space, which they must duplicate against Buffalo’s stout defense.
Allen vs. Mahomes – Which QB Will Rise To The Occasion?
The Bills-Chiefs rivalry has become defined by the burgeoning battle between superstar quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. These are two of the most talented, competitive QBs in the NFL, both capable of jaw-dropping highlights. Whoever elevates their game on this playoff stage will give their team a major edge.
Mahomes has more experience playing in high-stakes January games, compiling a 5-1 postseason record with 15 TDs compared to just 2 INTs. But Allen has the home crowd behind him and a point to prove after dominating the regular season as NFL MVP favorite but falling short in the playoffs before. He will look to Diggs, his go-to WR who racked up 108 catches for 1,443 yards and 12 TDs during the year. Shutting down Diggs is a major key for Kansas City’s defense.
Can Bills Defense Derail Chiefs Playoff Express?
While Buffalo’s offense is loaded, their defense fully capable of deciding this game. The Bills allowed the fewest points per game (17.9) in the NFL and boast difference-makers at all three levels like LB Matt Milano, DT Ed Oliver, and safety Jordan Poyer. This unit forces turnovers in bunches, picking off 20 passes during the regular season.
But Kansas City comes in playing lights-out football, averaging 41 points over their last six outings with Mahomes conducting an offensive juggernaut loaded with weapons like Travis Kelce, Jerick McKinnon, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Successfully pressuring Mahomes will be critical for Buffalo since he shreds defenses when allowed to improvise outside the pocket. The Bills must also limit KC’s ground game and force Mahomes to beat them downfield into the wind.
Looking Ahead To The AFC Championship
The winner of this instant classic heads to the AFC Championship game with a trip to Super Bowl LVIII on the line. The Bengals await the victor after escaping Buffalo’s division rivals, the Dolphins, in dramatic fashion last weekend. So the prospect of the Bills battling the Bengals with a Super Bowl berth up for grabs in a rematch of last year’s playoff bout will provide extra motivation.
On the flip side, the Chiefs and Bengals have their own spicy postseason history, with Cincinnati stunning Kansas City 27-24 in the 2018 AFC Championship and again last season. So there will be no shortage of storylines to dissect if Burrow and the Bengals move within one win of a second straight Super Bowl appearance.
First things first though, as Bills-Chiefs promises to yet another unforgettable entry in a blossoming playoff rivalry for the ages. Both teams are supremely talented and know each other extremely well at this point. Now it comes down to execution and which stars capture the moment in the game’s critical possessions. So get your popcorn ready and brace for the spectacular with this heavyweight battle poised to go down to the wire.
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