Divisional Round Game Hub: BUF-KC


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Divisional Round Game Hub: BUF-KC

Buffalo Bills (12-6, 10-6-2 ATS) at Kansas City Chiefs (13-5, 9-9), 6:30 p.m., Sunday

Brolley’s Bills Stats and Trends

  • These teams met in Kansas City earlier this season and the Bills closed as 2.5-point underdogs in that Week 5 contest in a game totaled at 57.5 points. The Bills easily dispatched the Chiefs in a 38-20 victory in Arrowhead Stadium, averaging 8.1 yards per play to Kansas City’s 5.0 YPP.

  • All 12 of Buffalo’s victories have come by double-digit margins, and they’ve won five consecutive games (4-1 ATS) heading into this weekend.

  • The Bills have played over the total in eight consecutive games as an underdog.

  • Buffalo comes into the Divisional Round riding high off of a 47-17 beatdown of their division nemesis, and they handed Bill Belichick the largest playoff defeat of his Patriots’ tenure.

  • The Bills became the first team in NFL history to never punt, kick a field goal, or turn the ball over in their victory over the Patriots in the Wild Card Round. Their first negative play came when Mitch Trubisky took a knee to run out the clock at the end of the game.

  • Josh Allen set a Bills’ playoff record with five touchdown passes against the Patriots, and he finished with more TDs than incompletions (4). They also had more touchdowns (7) than third downs (6) and they had 484 yards on 51 plays (9.5 YPP) before Trubisky’s three kneel-downs at the end of the game. The Chiefs allowed a season-high 36.5 FP to Allen back in Week 5 as he completed 15/26 passes for 315 yards (12.1 YPA) and three TD passes, and he added 11/59/1 rushing.

  • Stefon Diggs managed just 3/60 receiving on four targets despite Buffalo’s offensive onslaught, and he played a season-low 62% of the snaps with Buffalo rotating its WRs and because of the blowout nature of the contest. He’s posted 50+ receiving yards in seven of his last eight games but he snapped a 12-game streak with 4+ catches last week. Diggs posted a season-low two catches in this matchup in Week 5, which he turned into 69 yards on five targets.

  • Dawson Knox recorded his 10th and 11th touchdowns last week and it was the third time he’s reached two TDs in the same game this season. He caught all five of his targets for 89 years and two touchdowns last week and he actually led the Bills in routes (27) with Buffalo heavily rotating its WRs. Knox notched his only 100-yard game against the Chiefs in Week 5, finishing with 3/117/1 receiving on four targets.

  • The Bills rode the hot hands of Gabriel Davis (18 routes) and Isaiah McKenzie (12) over Emmanuel Sanders (16) and Cole Beasley (8), respectively, in the opening round. Davis has scored five touchdowns in his last six games while Sanders has failed to reach 40+ receiving yards in seven straight games — he at least snapped a nine-game scoreless drought last week. McKenzie totaled 74 scrimmage yards against the Patriots while Beasley has topped out at 35 yards in his last four contests. Sanders is the only Bills’ secondary WR to score more than three FP in this matchup with 3/54/2 receiving back in Week 5, but Sanders’ play has tailed off dramatically since then.

  • Devin Singletary stayed smoking hot last week with his third straight game with two TDs. He’s scored in five consecutive games and he’s totaled 95+ scrimmage yards in four of those contests after posting 16/81/2 rushing and 3/13 receiving against the Patriots. Zack Moss paced this backfield with 14/92 scrimmage on a 74% snap share against the Chiefs in early October while Singletary mustered only 7/23 scrimmage on a 24% share.

Brolley’s Chiefs Stats and Trends

  • The Chiefs beat the Bills 38-24 in the AFC Championship Game last year as three-point home favorites in a contest totaled 55 points.

  • The Chiefs have played over the total in six straight games

  • Kansas City is riding high coming into this pivotal matchup with a 10-1 record (7-4 ATS) in its last 11 games.

  • They’ve covered in five straight games at home and they own a five-game postseason winning streak at Arrowhead Stadium, which is the longest active streak.

  • Patrick Mahomes finished with a Wild Card Round best 404 passing yards and five TDs last week. The Chiefs scored six straight touchdowns after T.J. Watt’s scoop-and-score touchdown put them briefly behind in the early second quarter. Mahomes needed 54 passes to throw for 272 yards and touchdowns when these teams met earlier this season, and his 5.0 YPA in that contest was his second-worst average in 72 career games (postseason included).

  • Travis Kelce became the first player to throw for a touchdown, to catch a touchdown, and to post 100+ receiving yards in a playoff game last week. Kelce has scored in four straight games but he’s been hit-or-miss overall in recent weeks. He’s finished with fewer than 35 yards in four of his last six games and he’s had 105+ yards in his other two games in that span. He managed 6/57/1 receiving on 10 targets when these teams met in Week 5.

  • Tyreek Hill caught all five of his targets for 57 yards and a touchdown on a 77% snap share last week. He’s seen five or fewer targets in five of his last seven games, but at least his touchdown came from 31 yards away, which was his first touchdown from outside the 10-yard line since Week 4. He managed 7/63 receiving on 13 targets when these teams met in Week 5, but he had a back-breaking drop that resulted in a pick-six from Mich Hyde when the Chiefs were trying to stage a comeback.

  • Byron Pringle has emerged as the #2 WR with 4+ targets and 3+ catches in five straight games. He finished with 5/37/2 receiving on seven targets against the Steelers last week, which was the second time in his last four contests in which he’s scored two TDs. Pringle scored a touchdown in this matchup in Week 5 when he had a much smaller role.

  • Mecole Hardman has also been productive in recent weeks with Hill’s play falling a bit off, posting 40+ yards in three straight games. Demarcus Robinson finished with a season-high 76 receiving yards last week and he paced the secondary WRs with 30 routes. Hardman paced this passing game against the Bills in Week 5 with 9/76 receiving while Robinson had just an eight-yard catch.

  • The Chiefs potentially have a new top running back for the rest of the postseason after Jerick McKinnon erupted for 12/61 rushing and 6/81/1 receiving against the Steelers. Darrel Williams played just eight snaps last week as he tried to play through a toe injury, and he had a fumbled exchange with Mecole Hardman that resulted in Watt’s touchdown. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has missed the last three games with his collarbone injury. He had fallen below 40 rushing yards in three straight games before his injury but he did score three rushing touchdowns. HC Andy Reid will likely ride the hot hand in this backfield moving forward, and I’d expect McKinnon to get the first crack to keep his momentum going. These RBs combined for just 13/42 rushing and 6/42 receiving when they met the Bills in Week 5.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies


Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.3 (4th)

Plays per game: 70.2 (3rd)

Pass: 61.6% (13th) | Run: 38.4% (20th)


Pace: 27.9 (11th)

Plays per game: 70.1 (4th)

Pass: 64.2% (5th) | Run: 35.8% (28th)

Pace Points

The Bills and Josh Allen pitched a perfect game last week as they thoroughly beat down the Patriots. Allen was frustratingly up and down to end the regular season, but I suppose he was just saving his best performance of the year for when it mattered most.

Not to be glossed over by Allen’s excellence was the fact that Buffalo continued to find success on the ground – which is something that plagued them early in the year. Devin Singletary has 80 or more yards rushing in four of his last 6 games since taking on his new bell-cow role and that has allowed Allen to be a bigger part of the run game. Over his last six contests, Allen has averaged 8.8 carries per game. For my money, the Bills are a completely different team now because they can be aggressive through the air and run when they need to.

On the flipside, the Chiefs rinsed the Steelers last week with a 5 TD showing from Patrick Mahomes. Despite Tyreek Hill playing at less than 100%, this is the best this Kansas City attack has looked all year long as Mahomes has eliminated his mistakes and is playing much better from within structure. Over his last six games, Mahomes has completed 71.7% of his passes for 8.5 YPA, he’s averaging 309.8 YPG, has a 17:2 TD-to-INT ratio, and a stellar 119.3 passer rating.

Surprise, surprise. Bills-Chiefs is the No. 1 game overall from a pace / play perspective in the Divisional Round and has the highest total (54.5 O/U) by a mile. Not only are both Buffalo and Kansas City top-12 in the pace and volume department, both are also top-6 in pass rate in close games. With this game treading close to a Pick ‘Em, everything is set up for this game to be a back-and-forth shootout. Their last two meetings went for 58 and 62 points and these two offenses combined for a whopping 12 TDs last week against clearly inferior opponents.

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

The strength of the Bills’ defense is against the pass. And the Chiefs’ RB rotation is not one that has me very motivated. It’s the exact same with the KC defense. Yes, Kansas City has authorized 43.8 FPG to WRs the last five weeks, but those numbers are inflated due to games without Rashad Fenton and L'Jarius Sneed.

After really making strides following a rough start, the Chiefs undeniably struggled to contain opposing RBs over the last four weeks of the regular season. In addition to offering backs 23.7 FPG (13th-most), RBs averaged 12.3 FPG through the air (third-most), and the Chiefs let Drew Lock run for a 4/35/2 line. At this stage in the game, nobody in the know is going to get caught off guard by Devin Singletary’s 21.0 FPG from his last six games, and 25.2 over his last three. And he provides the highest floor of any RB on this four-game slate. Imagine making that statement eight weeks ago.

Based upon the coverage metrics, Taron Johnson is the very top slot CB in the game. Perhaps that’ll explain why I am less than enthused this week with Tyreek Hill.

Dolan’s Vantage Points

The Chiefs blew out a totally outclassed Steeler team last week, but they’ll have a much tougher draw against a Bills team that basically played a flawless game against the Patriots in the Wild Card round.

And they do have some key injuries on offense. Tyreek Hill (heel) is practicing in full but hasn’t been 100% for a while, and RB Darrel Williams (toe) was clearly limited last week, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) didn’t play.

That opened up a window for Jerick McKinnon of all people to have a massive game.

CEH has been trending toward playing, while Williams returned to practice on Friday, which obviously gives him a chance to go. Neither guy is certain to go as of yet, per Andy Reid. It’s indeed possible McKinnon — especially with his ability in the passing game — is the best play here yet again.

On the flip side, the Bills are incredibly healthy heading into the Divisional Round.

Stefon Diggs will benefit with CB Rashad Fenton (back) out. Fenton has been predominantly the Chiefs’ right CB the second half of the season, while Diggs has split time pretty evenly on both sides of the field this year. There’s no doubt OC Brian Daboll is going to look to exploit this matchup.

The Bills are now running five deep at WR, with Cole Beasley negatively bearing the brunt of that rotation.