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The Bills Have the Pieces to Take Down the Chiefs in the Playoffs

Liam McKeone
Dec 29, 2020, 2:49 PM EST
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs | Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills have been far and away the two best teams in the AFC this season. It therefore stands to reason that we should all be rooting for the two to meet in the playoffs, and there's a decent chance of that happening. The Chiefs secured the top overall seed with their tight win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Bills were crowned AFC East champs with a win over the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football and put themselves in the driver's seat for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

The Chiefs are defending Super Bowl champs and have Patrick Mahomes, the best player in football. In a year where no one team is overtly dominant, they're the presumptive favorites. But these Bills look good. Real good. Good enough that a keen observer could imagine Buffalo making its first Super Bowl appearance since the '90s.

Let me be the one to do just that. To earn a ticket to Tampa Bay for Super Bowl LVI, the Bills will almost certainly need to take down Kansas City. While the Chiefs have Mahomes and the league's most dangerous receiving corps, they have been anything but invulnerable this season. That seems odd to say given they're 14-1 on the year, but the last six games for KC have been one-score victories. The Chiefs needed a missed last-second Younghoe Koo field goal to secure a win this past week. The team squeaked by the Saints, Dolphins, Bucs, Raiders, and Panthers in the weeks prior. None of that is to say the Chiefs aren't as good as their record suggests or that they didn't deserve those wins, but as mighty as Mahomes is, he is not perfect. The team isn't perfect.

Neither are the Bills, of course. But they have the requisite pieces to take down a team like the Chiefs even without Tom Brady, the last quarterback to beat the Chiefs in the playoffs. Josh Allen has played like a top-three QB this season, tossing 34 touchdowns to only eight interceptions for 4,320 yards so far. Most importantly, he's more or less fixed his accuracy issues, as he's completing 69.1 percent of his passes this year, a massive 11 percent jump from his 58.8 mark in 2019.

Much of Allen's improvement is due to his star wideout, Stefon Diggs, who currently leads the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards. Diggs is a legitimate superstar and a game-breaker at receiver, capable of threatening every level of the defense. Teams win championships, but to get there, they need star power. Buffalo has that in its two offensive cornerstones. Allen not only has a cannon for an arm, he also possesses the most valuable quality for a quarterback in today's day and age: mobility. Allen, similar to Mahomes, can use his legs to keep plays alive even when the pocket collapses around him. He constantly keeps his eyes down field to make big plays. When he teams up with Diggs -- one of the quickest and most agile players in the NFL -- on such plays, this is what happens:

The Bills got off to a slow start defensively to start the year, but any Sean McDermott unit will eventually shine, and it is. Since the Week 11 bye, Buffalo has only allowed opposing offenses to score more than 20 points once. The Bills have elite talent at all three levels; Ed Oliver dominating in the trenches, Tremaine Edwards ranging the middle of the field, and Tre'Davious White torturing wide receivers on the perimeter.

The Bills are talented, well-coached, and capable of putting up big numbers against average defenses, which is what the Chiefs have. That's the recipe to give them a fighting chance. But Allen has never been on a stage like this with expectations this high. Neither has his head coach, for that matter. Kansas City will be and should be presumptive favorites. But if anyone in the AFC can take them down, it's Buffalo. As they say, "any given Sunday," right?

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