There’s a trip to the Super Bowl on the line Sunday when the Buffalo Bills travel to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo will be looking to get back to the big game for the first time since the 90s, while the Chiefs are looking to become repeat champions. To preview the game we talked to Tom Childs from Arrowhead Pride.
1) Do fans feel good about Mahomes playing on Sunday?
Now that Patrick has cleared the concussion protocol, some people outside of Kansas City are wondering if the NFL, the Chiefs and Pat himself have cut corners, just to make sure that the face of league is playing on Sunday? Whilst I understand their skepticism, I don’t think the Chiefs would be willing to risk Mahomes’ health just for a single Super Bowl run - his long-term availability is too valuable and they have far too much money tied up in this guy to risk it. So, if the independent doctor has given him the okay and so has the team, then I’m fine with the decision for him to play. The Chiefs have built so much trust with their fan base over the past 8 years that’s hard to go against them. The toe injury on the other hand scares me a lot!
2) What do you feel is a weakness the Bills could possibly exploit if any?
Normally I would insert the run defense in here, but given Buffalo’s seemingly unwillingness to pound the rock I am going to go for the outside corners. Only one quarterback this year has really gone at them - Derek Carr. In both matchups with KC, he broke his own tendencies and really attacked the Chiefs back end - something no other team has really done, well, apart from Tom Brady but by then it was too little, too late. The Raiders found a lot of success by going secondary and it showed on the scoreboard. If I’m Brian Daboll, I look to be as aggressive as possible from the get-go. However, two players he will need to be wary of though is Daniel Sorenson and Tyrann Mathieu - both have been excellent against the passing attack this year.
3) Would you feel better if this game had a shoot out type feel or a low scoring defensive battle?
99 times out of 100 I would happily have the Chiefs go toe-to-toe with the opposition in a shoot-out. Purely because I trust my quarterback, my offense and my head coach more than I do anyone else’s. BUT this might be the one occasion I don’t fancy it. Although the Chiefs came out firing against the Browns, and looked on course for 40+ points before Mahomes’ injury, there’s a part of me that is slightly concerned about Patrick’s toe and his ability to create outside of the pocket, and more importantly extend drives. I also have to factor in the two defenses on display. Yes, the Bills D was very good against the Ravens, but we also have to remember that it was against an extremely one-dimensional offense on a windy night, Conditions were always going to favour the defenses - even Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs looked mortal. Kansas City’s defense has looked particularly strong during the important moments of games. I don’t know if this is down to scheme, talent or mindset but whatever it is, the team have found a way to get it done when they’ve needed it most.
So, to answer your question, I don’t really know. I feel like Doctor Strange going over the millions of different scenarios that this one could play out. I think it’s a coin-flip game regardless of the type of battle it is.
4) Harrison Butker has had some kicking problems recently, is there a cause for concern heading into the game?
Simply put, it’s a huge concern of mine. The Chiefs have had the warning signs all year. Anything from around extra-point distance has been an issue for Butker in 2020. For me, it’s unacceptable for an NFL kicker to miss from those distances. Yes, he ‘might make the big kicks but the extra-points must be his bread and butter. Games can be won or loss on a single swing of his leg. To be fair to Harrison it hasn’t cost us yet, but if a miss of his does cost the Chiefs a place in the Super Bowl, then the team will only have themselves and more specifically Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub to blame.
5) How confident do you think fans are heading into the game and is that confidence justified?
In general, we’re a confident bunch and to be fair, I believe that confidence is justified. Since Patrick has been the starter, all we’ve known is hosting AFC Championship games as a minimum. We’ve been there, done that and literally got the t-shirt - the fact that the Chiefs have so much adversity and playoff experience to lean on has to account to something. That being said, I do think Buffalo possess all of the weapons to knock off the Chiefs in Arrowhead. Unlike in previous games, a B- game won’t get it done for the Chiefs - it’s going to take an A+ effort. When it’s all said and done, I do think the Chiefs are going back to the Super Bowl, but only because they know what it takes to get it done in the biggest of spots.
Chiefs 31 Bills 28.
Side note: As we talked about in your 5 questions for Arrowhead Pride, I’ll be cheering on the winner of this game in the Super Bowl regardless. I’ve got a lot of love for the Bills and their fan base. Your time is coming, just hopefully not this year.