For the Kansas City Chiefs' opening matchup of the postseason, our contributor panel unanimously picked the home team to win its Wild Card matchup against the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium. Our aggregate prediction for a 26-17 win only failed to account for the Kansas City defense, allowing Miami just a touchdown in the team's 26-7 victory. Nate Christensen's 24-13 pick led the panel with only 16 points of error, while Ron Kopp and Rocky Magaña both turned in predictions that were 18 points off. For this game, our readers largely saw the game the same way we did — although about one in nine predicted Kansas City would be one-and-done in the postseason.
Let's see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.
Nate Christensen (@natech32)
This game is brutally close to me, mainly because these teams share so much DNA. Between the quarterbacks, coaches, roster management, and scheme, these teams have a lot of similarities. Frankly, depending on the injury report for Buffalo maybe switch this for me, but I'm taking Buffalo. Everything I've watched all season between these teams leads me to believe they're a bit better than this Chiefs team. Combine that with them being at home, and I'm going to lean Bills this week.
Bills 23, Chiefs 20
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
If we're being brutally honest, we have to recognize this game could go either way. That's exactly what is suggested by the point spread, which indicates the teams are evenly matched on a neutral field. The two teams have also split the last six matchups between them. But I'm going to have to give Kansas City the edge because the team is 2-0 in its recent postseason matchups against Buffalo. I just think head coach Andy Reid knows exactly how to win playoff games — especially against a familiar opponent that defeated his squad in their most recent regular-season matchup.
Chiefs 24, Bills 17
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
This matchup has happened over and over in recent NFL history, and I don't think any football fan is getting tired of seeing it. This battle will feature two sides that know each other very well, and that will lead to more of a slow-paced, grind-it-out game. The Chiefs' defense will give up some plays, but so will Buffalo's — and I see Patrick Mahomes finding more ways to get it done than Josh Allen on Sunday evening.
Chiefs 24, Bills 20
Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)
This is unknown territory for the Chiefs in the sense they are not used to being underdogs in the playoffs. The last time these two teams played, Bills running back James Cook found early success against Kansas City's front seven in the running game and on short passes. I would expect the Bills to come out with a similar attack this time around. The fact defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi is banged up makes this job more difficult for Kansas City. On top of this, the Chiefs have to find ways to contain Josh Allen and close down any lanes for him to run through when they bring pressure. If they can do this, I think the dream stays alive for one more week.
Chiefs 23, Bills 20
Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)
Both teams are coming off of impressive Wild Card Round showings; however, the body of work from this season shows such inconsistency for both teams that neither fan base should feel super confident of how this one is going to go. If the Bills were healthier, I would probably pick them in this one. Chiefs fans saw down the stretch this season that the rest advantage can play a key role. I think Kansas City's two-day advantage from their last game and shorter injury report will give them the edge over a desperate Bills team.
Chiefs 23, Bills 20
Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)
This year feels like it's the best opportunity for this Buffalo Bills team to finally get over the hump–and take down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the playoffs. Buffalo is as hot as any team in the league, and they've already bested the Chiefs this season. All of a sudden though the Chiefs are quietly playing their best all-around football of the year. It's still not always pretty–but they finally committed to the formula of feeding Pacheco, Kelce, and Rice. If they can continue to minimize the turnovers on offense and play championship-caliber defense, I think the Chiefs can find a way to get it done against the Bills on Sunday. This would be the game for the Chiefs' defense to force some turnovers and for the offense to capitalize on the Bills' defensive injuries. They also have that guy Patrick Mahomes in his first-ever road playoff game.
Chiefs 27, Bills 21
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
If you asked me in December, I'm not sure I would have picked the Chiefs to win this game. But, the vibes around Andy Reid's crew have improved to the point where it feels more similar to the Chiefs teams that have gone to three Super Bowls in the last four years. The composition of this team is much different— this version is built around the defense. I think that serves them well against Buffalo, the opponent from some of the most epic games in franchise history. Historically, these games are shootouts, with each team needing just a stop or two to win the game. I feel much better about Spagnuolo's squad getting those stops—and likely some turnovers— this year. L'Jarius Sneed, Trent McDuffie, Chris Jones, Charles Omenihu, George Karlaftis—these guys are all peaking at the right time, and it's going to be fun to see them attack Josh Allen and the Bills receivers. On offense, the Chiefs now realize they just have to take care of the football and feed Rashee Rice and Isiah Pacheco— but don't sleep on playoff Travis Kelce. It won't look like past matchups, but the Chiefs might just be able to end the Bills season once again.
Chiefs 30, Bills 24
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
I think the Bills and Chiefs are so evenly matched that, if you played the game 10 times, each team would win five of the matchups. Of course, they are only playing it once. Much different from previous seasons, I think this one comes down to (defensive) head coach Sean McDermott against defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and whichever offense blinks first — and loses the turnover battle — will lose the game. Considering this one is in Buffalo, and it has a genuine feel of "now-or-never" for Josh Allen and the Bills, I think they finally find a way to get over the hump. Here's to hoping I'm wrong and can make up for this incorrect prediction next week.
Bills 23, Chiefs 19
Prop bets (from Pete Sweeney)
Head on over to DraftKings Sportsbook and take... all the rushing overs.
- Isiah Pacheco O60.5 rushing yards
- James Cook O62.5 rushing yards
- Josh Allen O42.5 rushing yards
- Patrick Mahomes O29.5 rushing yards
Which team wins Chiefs (12-6) at Bills (12-6)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
Bills in a close game
Bills in an easy win
Bills in a blowout