AFC Divisional Round preview: Chiefs, Bills enter as favoritesBy Matt Verderame
This weekend, the AFC Divisional round takes place. In the AFC, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills favored to move on, but will they?
Four teams, two spots in the AFC Championship Game.
On Saturday, the Buffalo Bills play host to the Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile the following afternoon provides us with the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium.
In the opener, the Bills are slated as a two-point favorite over the Ravens. This feels like the biggest coin flip of the weekend. Buffalo comes in after beating the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 in a high-wire act. Elsewhere Baltimore took care of Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans down in Nashville on Sunday.
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For Baltimore, this game largely comes down to running the ball successfully. Buffalo is T-22nd in yards per carry allowed this season. at 4.6, while the Ravens are tops offensively at a 5.5 clip. They also are the only team to rush for more than 3,000 yards and although the Bills will key on stopping them, can it be done come Saturday in what is shaping up to be a battle in the snow?
Conversely, the Buffalo offense needs to run somewhat to take on Baltimore’s blitz-heavy scheme led by coordinator Wink Martindale. The Ravens blitz more than any team in football and will challenge quarterback Josh Allen to get the ball out quick to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. Of course, we can expect All-Pro cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey to be on them.
Meanwhile in the latter game, the Chiefs and Browns will clash with Kansas City looking to defend its title.
Andy Reid’s group is the biggest favorite of the weekend, laying 10 points to Cleveland. If the Browns are going to win and pull the bigger shocker in years, it’ll be on the legs of Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, who helped the Browns churn out the third-most rushing yardage in 2020.
Of course, the Chiefs are aware of this and will likely provide a big defensive front, anchored by Derrick Nnadi, Mike Pennel and Chris Jones on the interior. Additionally, the Kansas City offense will be throwing early and often, with All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes finding All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce and All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill, along with Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson.
Four spots, two games. They should be fantastic.