‘Good luck’: — Bills eager to play playoff home game vs. Chiefs
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — In what has developed into a historic rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, a Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs team will play at Highmark Stadium in the postseason for the first time.
The Chiefs did come to Orchard Park in the 2020 regular season, but that game was played without fans in the stands because of COVID-19. Since Mahomes and quarterback Josh Allen have started games, the Chiefs and Bills have met six times, with five of those occurring in Kansas City.
The opportunity to finally host Mahomes in the postseason and have this divisional round game played at home is something that isn’t lost on the Bills.
“[Mahomes has] only been here once. So, he’s never been here. Simple as that,” left tackle Dion Dawkins said. “Pat has never been to the Bills’ stadium in full. … The environment will be different and not to say it’s in our favor, but stadium is our favor. Stadium is us. That helps us. I don’t care what nobody says. This is the most dopest feeling I’ve ever had. We’re having two back-to-back playoff games home. Come on now, like we get to leave and go eat wings. It’s cool. So good luck.”
The Bills beat the Chiefs 20-17 at Arrowhead last month in a game that started their current six-game winning streak. Kansas City has won both of the postseason meetings since 2020 — 2020 AFC Championship Game and 2021 divisional round — while Buffalo has won three of four regular-season matchups during that time.
While the Bills’ 2022 season did end with a home playoff loss to Cincinnati Bengals, historically they have seen significant success in home playoff games with a 14-2 record since 1970, best in the league among teams with a minimum of five home games during that time.
The Bills are preparing for this game in the midst of a second lake effect snowstorm hitting the Buffalo-area in a week, but have maintained a normal practice schedule on a short week after the wild-card round game vs. the Steelers was pushed back. The team is already asking fans to help shovel snow out the stadium Friday for a second straight week.
“It’s nice to have the fans behind you. I think little nuances, like not having to use silent cadences is always a plus,” center Mitch Morse, a former Chiefs player, said. “I think especially with a short week like we had, it’s really nice to have this home field advantage. But we also know that in the playoffs, these teams that have made it this far are used to adversity and adverse situations.”
This game will make Mahomes and Allen the fourth pair of quarterbacks to meet at least three times in the playoffs within their first seven seasons. As of Thursday, the Chiefs are three-point underdogs, per ESPN BET, the second time in Mahomes’ postseason career that he’s an underdog, joining last year’s Super Bowl.
With a win, it would mark Allen’s second AFC Championship Game appearance and Mahomes’ sixth.
“They’ve been at the top of the mountain. They know what it takes to get there. We’ve yet to do that,” Allen said. “Again, as a competitor, as a player to be in a situation like this is something you dream about. I know guys on this team have been waiting for this moment for a long time. To think about how far we’ve come even from seven, eight weeks ago to where we are now to have an opportunity to host a game against — they’ve won two championships in the last couple years — you can’t help but be excited about that.”