Written by: Alex James
Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills received retribution Saturday night beating their longtime division nemesis New England Patriots 47-17 in Orchard Park. The satisfaction felt among Bills Mafia was unmistakable across social media, as decades of being on the opposite end of these games was erased in one night. It wasn't like the Bills just defeated the New England Patriots, they obliterated them, marking one of the best team performances we’ve seen in Buffalo since the 90’s golden era.
Big games require big plays from star players especially in the postseason where teams are evenly matched with talent and capability. On offence, Allen had one of his best NFL games, throwing over 300 yards with 5 touchdowns (& only 4 incompletions), while rushing for 66 yards. Devon Singletary ran for over 80 yards and two touchdowns, while Dawson Knox had 89 yards receiving and two touchdowns, rounding out a complete performance for the Bills offence.
On defence, Micah Hyde made an outstanding interception in the Bills end zone during the first quarter which seemingly stopped the Patriots momentum from ever beginning. As a whole, the Bills defence was in-sync holding the Patriots to only a field goal by half time, 50% conversions on 3rd downs, and 2 turnovers with
Levi Wallace having the other interception.
The Bills now head to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night, marking another playoff date with the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year, the Chiefs defeated the Bills 38-24 in the AFC Championship, ending the Bills incredible run after a 13-3 regular season. The expectations then were different as it was more of a “happy to be here” feeling by Bills fans, especially after coming off their first (of 2) playoff victories since 1995.
This year is different; while the Bills didn’t have the most consistent regular season, the team is peaking at a perfect time, are no longer intimated by Patrick Mahomes & the dominant Chiefs, and have already defeated them this season 38-20.
Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The keys to this game are simple, Allen & Co., must take advantage of the weaker Chiefs defence we’ve seen this season and they can do so by; implementing the run game, taking advantage of every red zone visit, and converting 3rd downs which prolongs drives.
Singletary has been the explosive piece of the puzzle since the beginning of December racking up 456 rushing yards, 123 receiving yards, & 8 touchdowns during his last 6 games. Having a running back become so crucial & effective seems to take pressure off Allen running the ball, while adding an entire new threat to opposing defences. With his recent performances, its likely Singletary will be a major factor Sunday night and has the possibility of putting up 100 yard all-purpose yards and be a red zone threat. He is crucial to this offence and team, and deserves praise for the back he has become throughout this season.
Photo Credit: Statmuse.com
Next, the red zone was a major issue for the Bills postseason loss to the Chiefs last year, going 2-for-5 (while the Chiefs were 5-for-6), and only scoring a touchdown in the 1st & 4th quarters. This statistic reversed in the Bills October win, as they were 2-for-3 in the red zone while the Chiefs went 2-for-5. Capitalizing on these scoring opportunities is critical against a Chiefs offence that can score anytime they want to.
The Bills are clicking offensively coming off a 'perfect' offensive game and scoring a touchdown on every drive against the Patriots last week. While it's unlikely to repeat this feat, the Bills are on track to put up big numbers and will hope to do so against against a 26th ranked in total yards allowed this season.
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The final key to this game is 3rd-down conversions, and another statistic that seems to represent a major difference between winning and losing this game. During last year’s playoff game, the Bills only converted 36% of 3rd downs, while the Chiefs converted 60% in the win. The Bills had the better conversion rate in October and another factor to keep prolong drives and keep Mahomes off the field. The Chiefs are statistically better than the Bills both offensively and defensively in 3rd downs this season, and something to keep a close eye on Sunday night.
In a perfect world, the Bills will have both their run and pass game being utilized early, extending drives with big 3rd down plays and ultimately scoring with every visit to the red zone (seems so easy). While the game will be much more complicated, one thing for certain is Mahomes & Allen both have the ability to win this game on their own, and it truly comes down to the supporting pieces on either side to really make the difference and provide their team with an edge.
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Kickoff will be 6:30pm (est) with the weather in Kansas City being overcast and temperatures in the high 20s/low 30s. Fortunately, this wont be much of a factor and we can expect the best of both teams offensive prowess on full display, creating an electric atmosphere and playoff game. With how the Bills are playing and the expectations surrounding them, Sunday Night may be one the greatest moments in franchise history defeating the AFC Goliath's on the road and being one step closer to the Super Bowl. Or, it may be another pitfall and shortcoming to Patrick Mahomes and something we discuss in agony until September.
Circle the Wagons,
https://www.espn.com/nfl/recap/_/gameId/401326626, https://www.espn.com/nfl/matchup?gameId=401220401, https://www.espn.com/nfl/game/_/gameId/401326408 , https://www.stadiumforecast.com/football/nfl/chiefs/weather.php/forecast.html, https://www.footballdb.com/games/preview.html?gid=2022012301