Bills and Chiefs deserved prime time for a legendary rematch

The NFL made a mistake by not making the Bills vs. Chiefs game this week a Sunday or Monday night primetime game. Luckily for fans outside of those markets, it’s the only game on CBS in the afternoon window.

That means Panthers, Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks fans can all give up watching their disappointing teams play lousy football. Instead, they can watch a rematch of what was arguably the best game since 2000.

Last year’s post-season reunion was a classic

The Divisional Round game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs was a time you’ll probably remember where you were and what you were doing for a long, long time. Or maybe I’m just a psycho who watches too much football and gets too excited about a game with an oblong ball.

But I remember being in a tiny Airbnb in downtown Lagos, Portugal, watching the game on my newly purchased laptop, which I bought when I landed in Lisbon because the mine, for lack of a better term, exploded before doing the transoceanic excursion. .

It was my first experience of staying up until 5am watching football, which I quickly got used to as I moved to Portugal full time. And maybe that 42-36 game is why I have such fond memories of that trip and why we decided Lagos was the place for us when we eventually moved.

It’s the best football game I’ve ever seen, and it’s not particularly close.

Bills vs Chiefs rematch is another ‘battle of the best’

When they met in the Divisional Round, the Bills’ defense had just finished a season in which they ranked first in defensive EPA, DVOA, yards per drive and points per drive. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ offense was first in completion rate, yards per drive, points per drive, and drive completion rate.

Well, that playoff game was proof that you can have the best defense in the world, and if your opponent has the best offense with a stranger at quarterback who can’t miss that day, the offense wins in the modern game. Patrick Mahomes’ QBR was on your FM dial that day (96.9). And although Josh Allen is inferior, I wouldn’t say if you thought he surpassed Mahomes in this game.

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So far this season, the Bills rank second in defensive EPA and DVOA. The Chiefs offense ranks first in the EPA and third in the DVOA. And like a season ago, when the Bills’ offense ranked fourth in the EPA, they rank second this season so far in five weeks, just behind the Chiefs.

Buffalo has been as dominant as we thought, and that’s why they’ve been three-point favorites in Kansas City since Wednesday, making it the first time in Mahomes’ career that he’ll be an underdog at home.

The battle for quarterback supremacy

Even Tom Brady didn’t realize what Patrick Mahomes did in his first four years as an NFL starter. Brady has won three Super Bowls in four years, but Mahomes has reached the AFC Championship games in each of his four seasons as a starter. He did this by boat racing the rest of the EPA league during that time and linking Drew Brees’ EPA + CPOE composite.

Mahomes is the best QB in the NFL, and he’s done it in style. In fact, he’s so good that he’s become somewhat understated in the media narrative at times. He is so consistently good that his greatness has become overlooked.

But if Mahomes is the best, Allen catches him. Allen’s arm is even livelier than Mahomes. But when he once looked like a fence pitcher who hit triple digits on the gun but struggled to consistently find the plate, he learned to be a starting pitcher and his business is dirty.

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The 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback looks like a sixth-grader who hit puberty before the rest of his classmates. He’s powerful enough to intimidate linebackers and athletic enough to break free from rushers and make plays with his legs both in offensive structure and as a scrambler.

So far in 2022, Allen holds the edge in the EPA world, while Mahomes leads the DVOA game. Both QBs posted a 78.5 QBR in five games. Traditional statistics are about as close. Allen completed 66.8% of his passes to Mahomes’ 66.7%. Mahomes has 15 touchdowns to Allen’s 14. Allen’s 7 interceptions eclipse Mahomes’ 2, which is why Mahomes has a 110.5 passer rating compared to Allen’s 107.4.

Allen leads the MVP rating at +200. Mahomes is currently second at +500. While this game doesn’t decide the winner, it could go a long way in cultivating the narrative surrounding who should win, based on each player’s performance.

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Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the NFL. His hilarious stat line from a week ago was staggering, racking up four touchdowns on seven catches while amassing just 25 yards. He may have more yards Sunday against the Bills, but it won’t be due to a lack of opposition talent.

Matt Milano is one of the best cover linebackers in the NFL. It’s a story that is becoming commonplace in the league. He’s an NFL linebacker-turned-college safety who’s bulked up and learned to be a three-player guy sooner than expected.

Tremaine Edmunds may not be the cover wizard Milano is, he continues to progress as a player and has the size and athleticism to match any tight end in the league. A hamstring injury sidelined Edmunds a week ago, but he was back in practice on Wednesday as Kansas City surged.

Sunday’s game could very well come down to Kansas City’s ability to protect against Buffalo’s outrageous pass rush unit. San Francisco and Dallas strength have better units, but that would be splitting hairs because Dallas and San Francisco blitz more often too. Von Miller, Gregory Rousseau, AJ Epenesa, Boogie Basham and Shaq Lawson are arguably the deepest EDGE band of the past decade.

And if there is a weakness in the attack of the Chiefs, it is at the level of the offensive tackle. Orlando Brown is a good football player, but he’s not immune to pressure. Tacklers are also at a disadvantage as their quarterback sometimes floats backwards in the pocket, allowing rushers to take steeper angles to the corner and screw up tackle set points in the kick slide .

No game for the rest of the NFL season will have Buffalo juice against Kansas City. There will be division games and do-or-die games late in the season in the playoff push between quality teams that will matter, but this is the showpiece game of the season.

And it’s a real shame that it shares a timeslot with two other games.

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