The AFC championship between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs will be the second of two NFL games on Sunday. Once a winner is decided in this one, Super Bowl LV will officially be set, and we can shift our attention to the final game of a strange season.
The game is set to kickoff at 6:40 p.m. ET inside Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. As things sit, the Chiefs are three-point favorites with the total currently at 54.5 points, the higher of the two championship games.
In order to get you ready for round two between these teams, we decided to take a look at three storylines deserving of your attention. We’ll start with the most obvious: the health status of one of the league’s brightest young stars.
To view the “Three Things To Watch Out For In NFC Championship Game” article, click here.
1. The health status of Patrick Mahomes
This could be the only storyline that matters. After being forced into the concussion protocol last week against the Cleveland Browns, we now know Patrick Mahomes has been cleared to play on Sunday. That’s excellent news, but how effective will he be?
First off, we don’t know the extent of that strange injury in the Divisional Round, so that’s one aspect to monitor. What we do know, however, is that Mahomes is also suffering from turf toe and isn’t considered 100 percent right now. He claims that it’s gotten better every day, but how will it affect him — if at all?
Mahomes is the obvious X-factor here. His health will go a long way in determining how this game plays out, especially with Le’Veon Bell out and Clyde Edwards-Helaire just now getting back from ankle and hip injuries.
2. How much success will the Bills offense have?
The Bills are fresh off a 14-point win over the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the final score of 17-3 didn’t inspire much confidence in Buffalo’s offense. The unit only mustered up 220 total yards and a 30.8 percent conversion rate on third down.
Yes, there were plenty of opportunities for added points, but two missed field goals (1-of-3) from Tyler Bass capped the overall point output.
Surprisingly enough, this offensive performance was eerily similar to how the Bills looked against the Chiefs back in October when they lost 26-17. It was the same point total, but Buffalo also only had 206 yards of offense with Tyler Bass going 1-of-2 on field goal attempts
In an obvious statement, more will be needed this time around.
3. The battle between two familiar head coaches
Andy Reid is an offensive-minded head coach. Sean McDermott, on the other hand, is known for being a great defensive mind. That should automatically make this matchup more interesting, but it’s far from being the most intriguing storyline between the two.
McDermott spent over a decade working under Reid when the two were in Philadelphia with the Eagles, so there is plenty of familiarity there. So far, that familiarity has benefitted Reid in head-to-head matchups, but that could change come Sunday.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.