The second half of today’s NFL playoff doubleheader sees the Buffalo Bills visit the Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game.
The winner of the Bills-Chiefs matchup will host the Cincinnati Bengals in next Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
The Chiefs are the AFC’s #2 seed and are seeking their fourth straight AFC Championship Game appearance. The Bills, meanwhile, are still in search of their first AFC title and Super Bowl appearance since the 1993 season.
Bills Look to Repeat Regular Season Feat in K.C.
When the two teams met in Kansas City in Week 5, the Bills dominated the Chiefs in a 38-20 win. At the time, it looked like the Bills had supplanted the Chiefs as the best team in the AFC. A lot has happened between then and now, however.
The Chiefs were 2-3 at the time but finished with ten wins in their last 12 games. They narrowly missed out on the AFC’s #1 seed, which no longer matters with the Titans eliminated. Kansas City opened its quest for an AFC title three-peat by dominating the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium for the second time in four weeks.
After starting 4-1, the Bills went 3-5 to drop to 7-6 with a Week 14 loss to the Bucs. After looking like the best team in the NFL early on, they were in real danger of missing the playoffs. But they won four straight games to end the regular season and opened the NFL playoffs with a thorough destruction of the rival New England Patriots last weekend.
With both teams in strong form heading into their rematch, we should get an entertaining game this evening. The past two Bills-Chiefs matchups have featured a lot of points, and this matchup should as well.
Updated Bills vs. Chiefs NFL Playoff Odds (as of Sunday, January 23, at 4:45 p.m. ET)
- Spread: Buffalo Bills +1.5 (-110), Kansas City Chiefs -1.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 54.5 (-110), UNDER 54.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Buffalo Bills +105, Kansas City Chiefs -125
Odds are via BetMGM.
Ahead of today’s game, neither team has a long injury list. That is a pretty fortunate position to be in at this point of the NFL season. In this afternoon’s Rams-Bucs matchup, both teams are without multiple key personnel due to injuries suffered last week or late in the season.
But while Buffalo doesn’t have any pressing new concerns, the same cannot be said for the Chiefs. The Chiefs will have all of their stars on the field against the Bills, so there are no worries there. But Kansas City could be without a notable contributor on offense and defense.
NFL Injury Report: Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Toe Injury to Sideline Chiefs’ Leading Rusher Williams?
In the regular season, RB Darrel Williams led the Chiefs in rushing with 558 yards and six touchdowns. Williams also was a trusted target for Patrick Mahomes, catching 47 passes for 452 yards and two touchdowns.
In last week’s 42-21 win over the Steelers, a toe injury limited Williams to only one carry for four yards. That toe injury could keep him out for the Bills-Chiefs matchup. He is listed as questionable for the game, with today’s official injury news still pending.
From an experience standpoint, it would be a big loss for the Chiefs. Williams has not missed a game over the last two NFL seasons and has chipped in with timely contributions numerous times.
While there is never a bad time for injuries, the timing works out as well as it possibly could in this situation if Williams is indeed out.
Second-year RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire missed the past three games with a shoulder injury, but he does not have an injury designation ahead of today’s game. So, the Chiefs should have their second-leading rusher back in action.
Edwards-Helaire, the 32nd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, ran for 517 yards and four touchdowns in ten games in the regular season, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. He also caught 19 passes for 129 yards and two scores.
Additionally, with Williams banged up, Jerick McKinnon made a serious case to get touches against Buffalo no matter what the depth chart looks like. Against Pittsburgh, McKinnon ran for 61 yards on 12 carries and had six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Obviously, Mahomes and the passing attack are the focal point of what Kansas City wants to do offensively. But it is good news for the Chiefs that they stand to be in good shape at running back even if Williams is out.
Cornerback Fenton Likely Out After Missing Entire Practice Week?
On the other side of the ball, cornerback Rashad Fenton is also listed as questionable. Fenton missed the win over the Steelers with a back injury, and he did not practice at all this past week. In 14 games in the regular season, Fenton was ninth on the team with 49 tackles and fourth with seven passes defended.
That he is listed as questionable instead of doubtful or out despite not practicing might generate optimism among the more positive thinkers.
But if that optimism proves to be unfounded and Fenton misses a second straight game, the likes of Mike Hughes and Deandre Baker stand to benefit.
Hughes, a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, joined the Chiefs this season after three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. In the regular season, he recorded 47 tackles, an interception, and six passes defended. Baker, meanwhile, had 16 tackles and one pass defended in eight regular season games this season.