Editor’s note: As we head into the AFC Championship between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills, we welcome Corey Giacovelli of Buffalo Rumblings — our sister SBNation site covering the Bills — for Five Questions with the Enemy.
1) How have the Bills improved since Week 6?
They are playing complete football on both sides of the ball — especially in the latter half of the season. The defense got off to a slow start this season and it required the offense to do a majority of the carrying. Now, there is starting to be a balance on both sides of the football, which has contributed to the hot streak that the team has been on. Also, in the first matchup, the Bills were without linebacker Matt Millano who has a greater impact on the defence than people realize. In games where he has played for the team this season, Buffalo is undefeated.
2) Turnovers are going to be key in deciding this game. Who is most likely to create them for the Bills?
The guy who has had the big turnovers for the Bills this season has been cornerback Taron Johnson. Johnson had a huge pick-6 against the Steelers late in the regular season to turn momentum in the team’s favor. Then, of course, he had the one last week that basically punched the Bill’s ticket to the AFF Championship. Johnson does an excellent job at reading the eyes of opposing quarterbacks and trying to cheat to make a big play for the defense. Another guy is Jerry Hughes trying to come around the edge to get that strip on Mahomes — like he has done multiple times in his career.
3) Are you worried by the Bills’ offensive performances so far in the playoffs?
I am not, because they have faced two top-10 passing defenses. Against the Colts, people may say that the offense struggled but they were actually productive. They only had four drives in the entire second half and scored on three of them — which ended up being the difference in the game. Against Baltimore, we knew it was going to be tough — and they produced points when it mattered to start the second half. Special teams left some points on the board with some missed field goals. The main thing is Josh Allen has been playing clean football and has not turned it over thus far in the postseason.
4) Which Chiefs player are you most worried about?
Speed kills — so I am going to go with Tyreek Hill because he can be such a game-breaker in so many ways. It is always hard to keep up with his speed on vertical routes; you usually need safety help over the top. Then Andy Reid is able to use him on jet sweep options that enable him to try to get to the outside to outrun everyone. The Bills need to be disciplined and have someone gets him down in space — because once Hill breaks free of one tackle, there is a high probability that he goes the distance. Even in short-yardage situations, Hill is a major factor — as we saw in the game-clinching play against the Browns last week.
5) How does this game play out?
As much as I want to follow my heart and pick the Bills, I currently have no situation in which I can pick them against a high-powered Chiefs offense that will most likely still have Mahomes leading the charge. Buffalo will put up an excellent fight and it may just come down to having the ball last. Chiefs 31, Buffalo 27
Bonus question: Shall we make a pact that we’ll cheer on the winner of this matchup in the Super Bowl — regardless of how it plays out on Sunday?
Agreed. If you have to lose, then you want it to be against the Super Bowl champions.