Just a few hours remain until two of the top offenses in football meet with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
The Kansas City Chiefs ranked sixth in points scored and first in total yards during the regular season. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills ranked second in each of those categories. With Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes cleared to play, the stage is set for some fireworks.
Interestingly, it was the defensive units that stood tall in the divisional round. Buffalo kept Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in check, and Taron Johnson's pick-six marked the turning point of the contest.
The Cleveland Browns sought to mount a comeback with Mahomes sidelined by a concussion, but Kansas City's defense held firm. Backup quarterback Chad Henne supplied ensuing heroics, leading the Chiefs to their third straight AFC title game.
Both teams have a lot to play for. The Chiefs are hoping to become the first repeat champions since the 2003-04 New England Patriots, while the Bills are competing for their first Super Bowl berth since 1993.
Here are the latest betting odds for the AFC Championship Game, including spread picks.
AFC Championship Information
When: Sunday, Jan. 24 at 6:40 p.m. ET
Live stream: CBS All Access
Spread: Chiefs -3.0 (-120), Bills +3.0 (-103)
Over/Under: 54.5 points
All odds obtained via DraftKings.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills: Spread Picks
Things would have gotten interesting had Mahomes not been able to suit up. But he will be under center Sunday, making it hard to pick against Kansas City.
Mahomes dominated the Browns prior to suffering his injury, completing 21 of 30 pass attempts for 255 yards and a touchdown. The 2018 league MVP also rushed for another score. Of course, Buffalo's secondary will pose a bit of a tougher test.
The Bills defense ranked ninth in net yards gained per pass attempt during the regular season, also ranking third in turnovers. Playmakers like Tre'Davious White, Levi Wallace and Jordan Poyer loom in the secondary, and Matt Milano is a strong cover linebacker.
However, the Chiefs might have the added benefit of getting rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire back on the field. Edwards-Helaire is questionable after missing the divisional playoff against the Browns but could play after practicing most of the week.
Edwards-Helaire would offer Mahomes another weapon out of the backfield, one capable of being an outlet in the flat and making plays in open space. He would also attract some more attention from Milano and Tremaine Edmunds, thus freeing up some of Kansas City's other weapons.
The rookie would also be a steadying force on the ground. The Chiefs ran for a whopping 245 yards in a Week 6 win over the Bills and could attempt to strike a similar balance Sunday evening.
The Bills are a little more one-dimensional in nature, with their success mostly being reliant on quarterback Josh Allen moving the ball through the air. Allen may well put up numbers, but Kansas City's secondary has done a good job of limiting big plays this season, and the Bills will likely need chunk yardages to counteract the Chiefs' quick-strike offense.
In short, Kansas City simply has too many playmakers on both sides of the football. The Chiefs hardly even missed a beat when Mahomes went to the locker room in the divisional round, as Henne completed 6-of-8 passes and the team converted on multiple fourth-down situations.
Perhaps no team is as good at making adjustments as the Chiefs. Even if the Bills come out firing, expect K.C. to have an answer and wear down Buffalo as the game progresses.
The Pick: Chiefs 34, Bills 24
All stats obtained via Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted. Odds subject to change.
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