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Chiefs vs. Bills: Game and score predictions

Let’s see what Arrowhead Pride contributors — and our readers — think about Sunday’s game against the Bills.

NFL: AFC Wild Card Playoffs-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs, all of Arrowhead Pride’s contributors picked the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers — but only about a third saw a blowout coming. So our aggregate prediction of a 31-18 Chiefs victory missed the 41-21 final by 22 points. As usual, our readers were a bit less confident of a Kansas City win — about one in 10 picked the Steelers to win — but just one in four saw a blowout coming.

So now, Kansas City moves on to the Divisional round against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is favored by two points. Let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.


Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)

I know some will say that I’m not meant to do this. But I can’t shake the bad feeling I have about this game. I hate saying it, but I think it is the Bills’ time to win the AFC. Do I think it will lead to some big power shift in the conference? No. But the Chiefs cannot win the AFC every single year — so eventually, they will have to temporarily lose their crown. So enjoy your evening, Bills Mafia. Kansas City will be back for revenge next season. If the Chiefs do pull off a win, I promise that I will never doubt Patrick Mahomes again. Chiefs 27, Bills 38

John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)

Not for the first time this season, I struggled with this pick. Make no mistake: Buffalo will represent a difficult challenge for Kansas City. So it’s pretty easy to talk yourself into predicting a win for either team. But here’s the thing: you already know that the Chiefs have arrived at this point after facing the league’s most difficult schedule. Where an A grade represents a very easy schedule, Kansas City’s 2021 opponents graded out as a D-minus. That calculation, however, is based simply on won-loss records. If you factor in the relative strength of all the teams using Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, Kansas City’s schedule works out to be a C-minus — just a bit more difficult than average. But Buffalo’s grade goes from a B-minus to an A; the team had the league’s easiest schedule. The Bills are very good. They can win this game. But I don’t think they will. Chiefs 30, Bills 24

Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)

Back in Week 5, the Chiefs looked vulnerable in their 38-20 loss to Josh Allen and the Bills — but a lot has changed since then. In the first meeting, star defensive tackle Chris Jones wasn’t on the field and defensive end Melvin Ingram hadn’t yet been acquired. Those two — along with a healthier Frank Clark — gives the Kansas City defense a much better unit to slow down Allen in the running game. As the season has progressed, Nick Bolton has also become more involved in Steve Spagnuolo’s game plans, so also look for No. 54 to be impactful. In the Wild Card round, it took a couple of drives for Patrick Mahomes to get going — but by the time halftime rolled around, he and the offense were clicking. The Bills passing defense has been stingy — to say the least — but now without top cornerback Tre’Davious White, the Chiefs should be able to take advantage. Chiefs 35, Bills 31

Kristian Gumminger (@kgumminger)

For the biggest game of the year, I wish I had more analysis to add. The Bills can — and frankly, should — win this game. It is a healthy team specifically constructed to beat the Chiefs. Additionally, it has history on its side. Since 2018, no team has played more games than the Chiefs — and this run of consecutive AFC championship games is a real accomplishment that few teams have achieved. That said... I’m betting on Patrick Mahomes — even though this has been the first season in which he looked mortal. To start the year, he lost trust in his defense. In the next stage of the season, he lost trust in his offensive line and would bail out of clean pockets. Then he lost trust in himself, throwing the ball short and reverting to poor mechanics. But he’s overcome all of that — and is now playing some of the best football in his career. Now he’s now faced with another obstacle: overcoming a Buffalo team that is coming into Arrowhead with all the hype. Over my dead body. Chiefs 34, Bills 30

Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)

No disrespect to the Cincinnati Bengals or Tennessee Titans, but I truly believe this matchup between Buffalo and Kansas City is essentially the AFC Championship game. Both teams are very similar — especially when you look at the two quarterbacks. However, until Chiefs lose to anyone other than Tom Brady in the postseason, I think it’s silly to pick against them. Last week, Josh Allen played the best game of his young career — but can we really expect anything close to that in Arrowhead? This time of year, we’ve seen Patrick Mahomes put together back-to-back masterpieces. But is Allen ready for this moment? The jury is still out. Chiefs 38, Bills 31

Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)

It feels like the playoffs are truly starting this weekend. The Chiefs took care of business against the Steelers — but they weren’t playing a deserving postseason team. The Bills might be the best AFC playoff team the Chiefs have faced in the Patrick Mahomes era. Whether that’s true or not, the Chiefs need to play as if it is. They can’t afford five scoreless drives to start the game — or sloppy defensive fundamentals like missed tackles and coverage assignments. The Bills will not let many mistakes go unnoticed. Their defense jumps on every opportunity to create a turnover — while Josh Allen and the offense have shown they can win in many different ways. This will come down to which offense plays the cleaner game. I believe the home team will have that edge. This will be the game of the playoffs. Chiefs 31, Bills 27

Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)

In my opinion, the team that wins this game will win the Super Bowl. This year, Josh Allen and the Bills are the greatest threat to the Chiefs winning the Lombardi Trophy. At wide receiver, they are five players deep — and have the best pair of young safeties in the game. All that said... we’re talking about Patrick Lavon Mahomes II — and the postseason. In the Wild Card game that the Chiefs had in hand by halftime, we saw that Andy Reid was not afraid to throw the kitchen sink at the Steelers offensively — which leads me to believe he has something even better up his sleeve in the Divisional round. We know Reid saves plays for the playoffs, so it would not surprise me if he has been plotting his revenge since the Chiefs lost to the Bills in October. I think this is going to be one of the most entertaining games that many of us will ever see — and in the end, I think the Chiefs will come out on top. Chiefs 38, Bills 34

Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)

I am actually truly excited for this game because the Bills and Chiefs are the best two teams in the NFL. With two elite quarterbacks going toe-to-toe, this game will have to come down to the defensive side of things — and that’s it will be decided. It’s uncertain if Rashad Fenton will be healthy and we’re still unsure if Willie Gay Jr. will play, either — and that will be two big blows to this game. Granted, the Chiefs played extremely well against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round — but that was against Ben Roethlisberger. The Bills are healthy — and their pass rush is legitimate. Last week, both offenses exploded. This week, I think that continues for one team. Bills 36, Chiefs 24

Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)

I am picking the Chiefs — but I also acknowledge that this year’s Bills are better than any team the Chiefs have faced in the AFC playoffs during this run. It is very possible the Chiefs will lose — and I will not be taking insults from any analyst who picks the Bills. Ultimately, I think the Chiefs have a slightly larger margin for error than Buffalo does. I expect this will not be the crazy, high-scoring affair many are expecting. Instead, I think both teams will try to sustain long drives to keep the other offense off the field. The investments the Chiefs have made in the offensive line will pay off as Kansas City outperforms Buffalo in the running game, limiting the number of times Josh Allen is able to try and match Patrick Mahomes. In one or two stops, key defenders who missed the Week 5 game will be a factor as the Chiefs edge the Bills in the rematch. Chiefs 31, Bills 24

Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)

For the first time in the Patrick Mahomes era, I’m going into a playoff game thinking the Chiefs can legitimately lose this game — and that their season could come to an end early. The Bills are so deep offensively that they can create problems for any NFL defense. It comes down to how the Chiefs (and Steve Spagnuolo) try to slow down Josh Allen — who is now playing at the highest level of his career. All of that taken into account, this is one of those legend-making postseason games where Mahomes can widen the gap between himself and everyone else who’s gunning for the crown. That means something to the Chiefs’ quarterback — and I also have to believe the Chiefs aren’t ready for this run to come to an end. That’s the way a loss feels right here. Mahomes will still be great — and keep you in contention for the foreseeable future — but a loss to the Bills shuts the door on the dynasty conversation for the current construction of this roster. The Chiefs will do just enough to get it done. Chiefs 38, Bills 37

Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)

The Buffalo Bills are a tough team to predict. In the regular season, they beat the Chiefs — and then lost to the Jaguars. They were blown out by the Colts — and then blew out the Saints. But then again, at this point, the regular season doesn’t matter that much. Over 17 games, a lot changes. Injuries and COVID-19 affect player availability. Free agency, trades, competition and development change the composition of teams. It’s all about making the postseason, getting hot at the right time and having the depth to carry a team through the playoffs. It’s about rising to the occasion on the biggest stage, in the biggest moments. Teams that win a playoff game or two can be ones that are lucky enough to play their best on that day. Teams that win championships are often the ones that have been there before — the battle tested few that have forged their identities through the tough times and know what it takes to come from behind even when things don’t go their way. Buffalo has a very good quarterback and receiver combination in Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs — and also has up-and-coming tight end Dawson Knox. The team has what is statistically the league’s best defense — and in Devin Singletary, a running back who is on a roll. Buffalo has a good head coach who learned under Andy Reid. In the Wild Card round, the Bills played their best game of the season — maybe the best game any team has played all season. So this will be a real challenge for Kansas City. But the Chiefs still have the best quarterback, coach, receiver and tight end combination in the league. They now have an offensive line that’s a strength — and has the depth to endure. They’ve been there before, advancing past the Divisional round in each of the last three seasons, going to two Super Bowls and winning one. The much-improved Chiefs defense will be a key in this one. It doesn’t need a shutout. Instead, it just needs to make some plays, get a few stops and let Mahomes do the rest — to get off the field and make sure that he has the ball last. Turnovers will also be a key. If the Chiefs win that battle, it might not even be that close (Remember: last time, it was +4 for Buffalo). In the end, don’t bet against Patrick Mahomes. Chiefs 27, Bills 21

Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)

For most people who consume NFL content, picking against the Chiefs is the cool, fun thing to do; the fatigue has officially set in. Unless you’re a Chiefs fan, there’s a good chance you don’t want to see them in a third-straight Super Bowl. Yet as we learned from the New England Patriots’ dynastic runs, you can’t always get what you want. There are a variety of reasons why I feel the way I do about this game — for more detail on that, please check out the AP Film Room from earlier this week — but I see this game playing out very similarly to last year’s AFC Championship against Buffalo. I just can’t bet against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes in this spot — at home — until they give me a reason not to trust them any longer. The Bills are really good. These Chiefs are great though folks — don’t lose sight of that. They’ve been waiting for these moments all year. They will be hungry to erase the embarrassment of the Week 5 game against Buffalo and Super Bowl LV against Tampa Bay. Chiefs 38, Bills 27

Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)

When this past weekend first ended, I thought that this game’s result equated to a coin flip. But as the week went on — and I dug into who the Chiefs were missing in the Week 5 game and the strength of schedule of both teams — I realized that so long as the Chiefs play a clean game, perhaps it won’t be all that close. At first, I think it will be interesting — but at the end of the day, the Chiefs will pull away. I keep coming back to Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. I don’t think Allen has this one in him — at least not yet. Chiefs 33, Bills 24

Ethan Willinger (@ecwillinger)

I’ve thought about this game backward and forward enough times that I don’t even know if I’m being a homer here. Everything the Bills have done in the past few years has been to get over the hump against the Chiefs — and they seem to finally have the team to do it. Offensively, they are built to test the shakiest parts of Kansas City’s defense — and defensively, they have the personnel to make things frustrating for the Kansas City’s passing game. Despite the win-loss records, the Bills have looked like a more consistent team this season. However, until they get over the hump in the playoffs, I’ll bet on Reid and Mahomes. Week-to-week, it’s been tough to predict what to expect from the Chiefs this season — but the playoffs are a different animal. I’ll put my money on red and close my eyes while the wheel spins. Chiefs 34, Bills 31

Poll

Who wins Bills (12-6) at Chiefs (13-5)?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
    (251 votes)
  • 21%
    Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
    (721 votes)
  • 48%
    Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
    (1659 votes)
  • 13%
    Bills in a close game
    (451 votes)
  • 7%
    Bills in an easy win
    (239 votes)
  • 1%
    Bills in a blowout
    (65 votes)
3386 votes total Vote Now

2021 Standings

TW LW Staffer W L Pct Err
1 1 Tom Childs 15 3 0.8333 32.7
2 2 Kristian Gumminger 14 4 0.7778 30.7
3 3 Talon Graff 13 5 0.7222 29.4
4 4 Bryan Stewart 13 5 0.7222 29.7
5 5 Rocky Magaña 13 5 0.7222 30.2
6 6 Jared Sapp 13 5 0.7222 31.2
7 7 Mark Gunnels 13 5 0.7222 32.8
8 7 Kramer Sansone 13 5 0.7222 33.9
9 9 Pete Sweeney 13 5 0.7222 34.0
10 10 Matt Stagner 13 5 0.7222 34.2
11 11 John Dixon 12 6 0.6667 29.9
12 12 Stephen Serda 12 6 0.6667 30.9
13 13 Ethan Willinger 12 6 0.6667 32.9
14 14 Ron Kopp Jr. 11 7 0.6111 35.1

Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.

In the Wild Card round, Tom Childs picked up his third win of the season with his prediction of a 42-17 Kansas City victory, which had only eight points of error. Mark Gunnels’ 34-13 pick was 16 points removed from the final. The standings remained virtually unchanged.