The Chiefs can be taking part in of their third consecutive AFC championship recreation once they host the Payments on Sunday (6:40 p.m. ET, CBS). The reigning champions and convention high seed are two wins away from repeating in Tremendous Bowl 55.
Kansas Metropolis is within the playoffs for a sixth straight season. In the meantime, second-seeded Buffalo is within the playoffs for the third time in 4 seasons after breaking an 18-year drought in 2017.
The Chiefs final misplaced within the playoffs two years in the past towards Tom Brady’s Patriots. Will Josh Allen’s Payments ship the identical end in Arrowhead Stadium, recent off their first two playoff wins in 25 seasons?
Assuming Patrick Mahomes returns from the head/neck injury that saved him out late of the Chiefs’ 22-17 win over the Browns within the divisional spherical, will probably be a battle of passing quarterback heavyweights between him and Allen.
When the groups met in Week 6 of the common season, the Chiefs gained 26-17.
This is how Buffalo and Kansas Metropolis stack up towards one another in all three phases.
Payments vs. Chiefs picks, predictions
Payments working recreation vs. Chiefs run protection
The Payments had the No. 20 speeding assault within the NFL in 2020, getting a little bit higher down the stretch and getting a lift from the legs of Allen, who leads the group in speeding up to now within the playoffs. The Chiefs ranked No. 21 towards the run through the common season. The Payments managed solely 32 yards on 16 makes an attempt towards the Ravens within the divisional spherical. The Chiefs gave up 112 to the Browns, at a clip of 5.1 yards per carry.
Buffalo and Kansas Metropolis each are inclined to abandon the run when it is not working early. The Payments are comfy conserving the ball in Allen’s fingers, realizing that he can usually be their greatest rusher along with his legs. However they’re all the way down to Devin Singletary to belief within the conventional assault with rookie working again Zack Moss performed for the season along with his ankle damage.
The Payments aren’t one of the best ball-control group and will not be grinding away on the Chiefs’ largest weaknesses. They are going to take the strategy of being aggressive with Allen to the purpose he can attempt to outduel Mahomes in a high-scoring affair. Benefit: Chiefs
Chiefs working recreation vs. Payments run protection
The Chiefs aren’t generally known as a working group, both, however they completed within the higher half of the league, rating No. 16 and averaged a wholesome 4.5 yards per carry. The Payments ranked No. 17 towards the run through the common season. That was third-worst amongst playoffs groups behind the Titans and Chiefs.
There’s an opportunity rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns, but when not, the Chiefs can be effective pounding away with Darrel Williams, who wanted solely 13 carries to get 78 of his group’s 123 yards towards the Browns, outproducing Nick Chubb. Within the first assembly, the Chiefs ran for 245 yards, with Edwards-Helaire getting 161 of them. Due to the working recreation having a lot success to enrich Mahomes, they held the ball for almost 38 minutes.
The Payments held their very own towards the Ravens’ mighty speeding assault, however they nonetheless gave up 150 yards to principally Lamar Jackson and Baltimore’s backs. Earlier than then, the Colts ran for 163 yards off 30 makes an attempt within the wild-card assembly. Edwards-Helaire and Williams will be handfuls with hard-charging between the tackles. The working of Mahomes and backup Chad Henne had been well timed elements towards the Browns. The Chiefs’ offensive line has performed an excellent job adjusting to damage and is imposing its will once more. Benefit: Chiefs
Payments passing recreation vs. Chiefs cross protection
The Payments weren’t far behind the Chiefs in prolific passing through the common season, ending two spots decrease at No. 3. They draw the No. 14 cross protection right here. The Chiefs have not gotten quite a lot of sacks (32) however they characteristic good inside-outside stress with Chris Jones and Frank Clark in entrance of a flexible playmaking secondary led by Tyrann Mathieu. The Chiefs contained the massive performs from Stefon Diggs and others in Week 6 however had their largest (typical) struggles within the pink zone.
The Chiefs can throw totally different protection and stress seems to be at Allen. These had been efficient in conserving him off-balance within the first assembly. They’ll make the center of the sector daunting and be extra calculated with their blitzes realizing his success price towards them.
Allen was nice towards the Colts and shaky towards the Ravens. He might even see the center lined usually, however he ought to do extra downfield harm this week. The Payments additionally ought to have some big-play confidence after among the Browns’ success at wideout towards the Chiefs final week. Benefit: Payments
Chiefs passing recreation vs. Payments cross protection
The Chiefs’ top-ranked passing offense will attempt to keep scorching towards the No. 13 cross protection. They face an Payments inconsistent cross rush that is not significantly better than the one they noticed from the shaky Browns final week.
The Payments had a number of lapses in protection towards the Ravens final week and had been lucky that Jackson and Tyler Huntley weren’t in a position to take benefit. The identical will not occur with Mahomes, so high cornerback Tre’Davious White wants extra secondary assist, particularly inside from nickel again Taron Johnson and security Micah Hyde when the Chiefs unfold the sector.
The Payments battle greater than most groups to cowl high-quality tight ends and Travis Kelce has been one of the best of one of the best this season. He burned them for 5 catches, 65 yards and two TDs in Week 6. Tyreek Hill was restricted to solely 20 yards receiving in Week 6 because the Payments labored to remove the massive play, however the Chiefs can scheme him open for deep pictures or possibilities to run into open subject after quick passes. When Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson are the on the sector with Kelce and Hill, the Payments merely can’t put out the precise mixture of dimension, pace and quickness to gradual all of them down for Mahomes. Benefit: Chiefs
The Chiefs are inclined to push all the precise buttons with their personnel utilization and play calling. Hill and Mecole Hardman present wrinkles within the working recreation. The protection has developed higher depth within the entrance seven, offering extra creativity there, too. The Payments have their model of occasional large playmakers in vast receivers Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie. Additionally they have been on a stretch of scoring defensively. The Payments have the arrogance however the Chiefs are utterly unflappable. Benefit: Chiefs
The Chiefs and Payments each have good kickoff return video games with Hardman and Andre Roberts, respectively. The Payments are a little bit higher at fielding punts and so they have the punter edge with Corey Bojorquez vs. Tommy Townsend. The Chiefs have a cash kicker in Harrison Butker with good vary, however rookie Tyler Bass is headed to an extended profession along with his accuracy in harder circumstances, too. Benefit: Payments
Reid is on hearth teaching along with his decision-making and motivation. Bieniemy and Steve Spanguolo are arising with the best complementary ideas offensive and defensively. Reid’s former mentee Sean McDermott can be calling the precise pictures for his group, with big schematic assist from coordinators Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier. McDermott has been a rising star since getting the Payments’ gig, however Reid has higher big-game expertise and the ring. Benefit: Chiefs
Mahomes and the Chiefs need to go down as one of many league’s all-time nice groups and work to construct a dynasty with a follow-up Tremendous Bowl victory. The Payments have good mojo, too, as they attempt to restore the Tremendous Bowl glory days with Allen. They’ve felt like they’ve gotten higher all season and can take a fearless swing as underdogs. However the Chiefs are the brand new Patriots within the AFC with their intimidation issue and constant execution in large moments. Benefit: Chiefs
AFC championship recreation prediction
The Chiefs (-3, 54 o/u) match up very nicely towards the Payments as a result of their run protection will not get exploited as a lot as their passing offense will not be slowed down a lot. Allen could attempt to play Mahomes’ big-armed, athletic recreation, however Mahomes is healthier performing towards a lesser diploma of adverse. Kelce and the working recreation get some assist from Hill or Hardman on a homer run, whereas Allen faces intense stress in a one-dimensional assault whereas taking part in catch-up. The Chiefs flip the script and restrict the time Allen is on the sector whereas they flip in one other full effort to raise up Mahomes.
Chiefs win 30-17 and canopy the unfold.