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Pregame Rumblings: Bills vs. Chiefs preview

The Bills are 2.5-point favorites on the road at Arrowhead Stadium

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Jamie Germano, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

The most massive game of the season for the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills is your game of the week on CBS. With a 4:25 PM ET start time and a forecast of 66 degrees, this game looks like everything the NFL hoped for when the schedule was released.

Both teams come into the game with a 4-1 record. Quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes have set up the NFL with a new generational matchup the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Allen and Mahomes will collide for the potential opportunity to hold on to the No. 1 seed throughout the season and home field advantage in the playoffs.

Here are my thoughts and things to look for during this game:

  1. There’s a lot of conversation about the point spread. This is the first time in Mahomes’ career that he’s the underdog at home. But when looking at both teams, it really appears to be less about disrespect to the Chiefs and more about respecting the job general manager Brandon Beane has done. The Bills are getting healthy at the right time. With head coach Sean McDermott feeling good about most players trending in the right direction, only wide receiver Jake Kumerow has been ruled out of this game as of Friday. With a laundry list of injuries each week, the Bills only appeared to have struggled in the game against the Baltimore Ravens. Even in the loss to the Miami Dolphins, they out-performed Miami in every metric except the one that counts—the score board. But Allen has been stellar all season regardless of what combination of weapons have been available to him, and the defense comes into this game ranked second overall. Did I mention that three of the four victories have been blowouts?
  2. No Hill? No problem. Or is it? Since Tyreek Hill was traded, Mahomes has figured out how to keep his team at the top of its division, and tight end Travis Kelce looks like an unstoppable force when stepping on the field with him. Last week against the Las Vegas Raiders, Kelce only had 25 yards receiving, but found the end zone four times on seven receptions. But the Chiefs’ offense isn’t the same offense. Hill’s speed is next-level, and you can absolutely see the change in the offense. There have only been two touchdowns thrown to wide receivers this season. Yes, wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling can turn it on, but it’s not the same game-changing speed of Hill. I think this benefits the Bills. Buffalo’s defense has been effective getting to the quarterback without utilizing the blitz as often as other teams. That leaves the option to drop seven in coverage with a faster secondary than they’ve had in the past. With all respect to the talent that Mahomes has, once the ball leaves his hands, he needs his receivers to make plays. They’ve done enough to come into this game 4-1, but they have left something to be desired for a fan base that’s used to a Hill-Kelce duo.
  3. Who can control the line of scrimmage? Chris Jones is an absolute force, and he should draw some double-teams and creative efforts to slow him down. The front four of the Bills have also been nothing short of amazing this season while being able to rotate guys and keep them fresh throughout the game. I truly believe the game will come down to whoever can control the line of scrimmage. Both Allen and Mahomes can be magical under pressure. But the key for both teams will be bringing the QB to the ground. Another aspect of control will be the turnover battle. The Bills are tied for first in the league on defense with 11 turnovers, while the Chiefs are tied for second to last with only four. Who’s going to generate turnovers?

For the last few years, it’s felt like the Bills were better than 95% of the league—but just not good enough to dethrone the Chiefs. Last year, they were so evenly matched that the NFL changed the overtime rules. But this year feels different. Allen has shown up every time these teams have played. This is the first time I’ve gone into Chiefs week with the feeling that the Bills are the better team, top to bottom. Aside from the equal level of talent at the QB position and the Chiefs having the edge at TE, I think the Bills have the better roster everywhere else.

Bills cover the spread and win at Arrowhead. Bills Mafia has the bye week for the opportunity to ride high for two weeks off the biggest win for this team in quite some time. Who said the regular season doesn’t matter?

DraftKings Game Of The Year SGP

  • Josh Allen Anytime Touchdown
  • Over 54.5 Total Points
  • Bills Over 31.5 Total Points

This game is huge for these players, and Allen will leave everything on the field. It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve seen him bulldoze his way into the end zone. I think this is a week he’ll get that chance.

Plus, this matchup is always a fantasy football dream. Both Mahomes and Allen find ways to keep their teams in the game, and this will be no exception. Even with the Bills’ dominance on defense, I expect the Chiefs to find the end zone to make this a fun game to watch.

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