Mahomes vs. Allen showdown highlights AFC divisional round matchup between Chiefs and Bills

KANSAS CITY (12-6) at BUFFALO (12-6)

Sunday 6:30 p.m. EST, CBS

OPENING LINE: Bills by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Chiefs 11-7; Bills 8-10

SERIES RECORD: Bills lead 29-24-1.

LAST MEETING: Bills beat Chiefs 20-17 at Kansas City on Dec. 10.

LAST WEEK: Chiefs beat Dolphins 26-7; Bills beat Steelers 31-17.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Chiefs minus-11; Bills plus-2.

CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Patrick Mahomes. He has never lost in five divisional playoff games, though all of those have been played at Arrowhead Stadium. This will be the first time the two-time NFL MVP hits the road in the postseason. Mahomes won at Highmark Stadium the only time he played there, but that was during the pandemic season of 2020 with no fans in attendance. He also seems to have the Bills’ number, ending their season two of the past three years.

BILLS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Josh Allen will be asked to carry an even heavier load to offset a defense that could be missing several key starters. Allen is coming off a no-turnover, four-TD game, which included a franchise playoff-record 52-yard scoring run. In two previous playoff meetings — both losses — against the Chiefs, Allen has combined to go 55 of 85 for 616 yards with six TDs and an interception.

KEY MATCHUP: Bills D vs. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce. As a result of injuries, it’s yet to be determined who on Buffalo’s depleted defense is going to draw the daunting challenge of covering Kelce. In two playoff meetings, Kelce has 21 catches for 214 yards and three touchdowns, including a game-winner in overtime two years ago. Kelce could have been a key factor in the Chiefs’ loss to Buffalo last month. A rare offensive offside penalty on Kadarius Toney wiped out the tight end's lateral to Toney for a go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes.

KEY INJURIES: Chiefs LB Cam Jones (knee) and DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow) missed practice this week, but they could have LT Wanya Morris (concussion) and Toney (hip) available after missing the wild-card game against Miami. ... The Bills’ list is long. Starting WR Gabe Davis (knee), starting CB Christian Benford, backup S Taylor Rapp (calf) and backup LB Baylon Spector (back) are out. Starting LB Terrel Bernard (right ankle) is unlikely to play, while starting nickelback Taron Johnson faces a six-day turnaround to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol. P Sam Martin (left hamstring) is questionable, with Buffalo adding Matt Haack to the practice squad this week. Starting CB Rasul Douglas (knee) and Tyrel Dodson (shoulder) have a chance to return after missing one game.

SERIES NOTES: The teams meet for the seventh time since 2020 — including a third time in the playoffs — with Chiefs hosting the previous five outings. ... The two original American Football League franchises have split their past six, with Kansas City winning both playoff outings: a 38-24 win in the AFC championship game in the 2020 season and a 42-36 overtime win in a divisional round meeting the following season. ... The 2021 loss was notable with Buffalo squandering a three-point lead in the final 13 seconds of regulation. ... The Chiefs are 3-2 against Buffalo in the postseason, with the Bills winning twice in the 1990s.

STATS AND STUFF: The Chiefs are in the divisional round for the sixth straight season, extending their franchise record, with a chance of advancing to their sixth consecutive AFC championship game. ... Kansas City held the Dolphins to seven points, more than 22 points below their season average. Miami was just 1 for 12 on third down and had 264 yards. ... Mahomes needs two TD passes to pass Drew Brees (37) for No. 6 on the playoff list. He needs five to pass Peyton Manning (40) for fifth. ... Kelce has 140 catches in the postseason, trailing only Jerry Rice (151) for most in NFL history. ... Rashee Rice set Chiefs rookie records for a playoff game with eight catches for 130 yards against Miami. The yardage was the seventh-highest total for any Kansas City player in a playoff game. ... Chiefs K Harrison Butker has 131 points in his postseason career. He needs two to pass Rice for sixth in NFL history. Gary Anderson is fifth with 153 points. ... CB L’Jarius Sneed has 62 playoff tackles, tied with Anthony Hitchens for the most in Chiefs history. Sneed needs 16 to break Daniel Sorensen’s franchise record. ... Bills coach Sean McDermott broke into the NFL in 1999 as a member of current Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s first staff in Philadelphia. McDermott worked his way up to be the Eagles defensive coordinator before being fired by Reid in 2010. ... The Bills have a 5-5 playoff record since McDermott took over in 2017, and have reached the postseason in six of seven years, including each of the past five. ... The Bills have won six straight in a run that began with their win at Kansas City on Dec. 10. Buffalo closed last season by winning eight straight, including playoffs, before losing to Cincinnati in the divisional round. ... Allen’s 20 playoff TDs passing are second in team history, and one behind Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. He’s one of only four NFL QBs with 20 or more TDs passing in his first nine postseason outings, joining Mahomes (22), Drew Brees (22) and Dan Marino (21). ... Allen had his fourth turnover-free game of the season against Pittsburgh, and fifth overall in the playoffs. He’s 4-1 in the postseason without committing a turnover, and 1-3 in games with a giveaway. ... Buffalo’s 179 yards rushing against Pittsburgh were the seventh most in team playoff history, and most since setting a Bills record with 341 against Miami on Dec. 30, 1995. Buffalo is 12-2 when topping 100 yards rushing this season. ... LB A.J. Klein led Buffalo with 11 tackles against Pittsburgh days after returning to the team by being signed to the practice squad.