While these two teams began the season as Super Bowl favorites, they both have slipped over the past four months.
Kansas City got off to a hot 6-1 start before finishing the season 5-5. The offense has not been its usual efficient self, as they rank 13th in my adjusted passing success rate. Drops by receivers have been an issue.
In contrast, Buffalo had a 6-6 record at one point and looked out of the playoff hunt. Turnovers were a big issue.
With this 6-6 record, Buffalo traveled to Kansas City in a must win game as a 2 point underdog. It looked like another loss, as Travis Kelce pitched the ball to WR Kadarius Toney for a late go-ahead touchdown.
However, the referees called Toney off sides, Patrick Mahomes went nuclear with rage, and Buffalo survived with a 20-17 win on the road. This win started a five game win streak that got the Bills into the playoffs as AFC East champions.
Kansas City’s defense has unexpectedly been awesome, as they have allowed 17.3 points per game, 2nd best in the NFL. However, they are better in certain aspects of the game. Here are their ranks by my adjusted success rate.
- 3rd in passing.
- 31st in rushing.
This is a bad matchup against Buffalo, as they have run the ball well with RB James Cook. The Bills are first in my adjusted rushing success rate.
Buffalo’s game plan should feature heavy doses of run plays. During their regular season meeting against Kansas City, Buffalo had a 46.2% rushing success rate (41.7% NFL average).
While Buffalo has a favorable matchup in running the ball, they have some massive injury issues in the secondary, as the following players are all questionable.
- CB Taron Johnson was evaluated for a concussion against Pittsburgh last week.
- CB Christian Benford sustained a knee injury against Pittsburgh.
- CB Rasul Douglas didn’t play against Pittsburgh.
- S Taylor Rapp has a calf injury.
Of these players, only Douglas was even a limited participant in practice on Thursday. Sunday update: Benford and Rapp are out, and so is WR Gabe Davis.
My numbers have Buffalo by 0.9 points. With the cluster injuries in the secondary, there is value in Kansas City.
Members of The Power Rank got this analysis when Kansas City +3 was available, but there is still value at +2.5.
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