Bills vs. Chiefs AFC Championship preview: What you need to know with Super Bowl on the line

Tershawn Wharton #98 of the Kansas City Chiefs gets blocked by Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Tershawn Wharton #98 of the Kansas City Chiefs gets blocked by Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Bills
Ben Niemann #56 of the Kansas City Chiefs knocks the ball from Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills will face the Kansas City Chiefs with a berth in the Super Bowl on the line.

It was an ugly, windy slugfest of a game, but the Bills downed the banged-up Ravens 17-3 to punch their ticket to the AFC title game last Saturday night. On Sunday, they looked on as the Cleveland Browns knocked Patrick Mahomes out of the game and pushed the Kansas City Chiefs to the limit. The defending champs held on for a 22-17 win, but at what cost?

Now, the Bills ride a gust of momentum down to Arrowhead Stadium, where they’ll either meet the reigning Super Bowl MVP, or a 35-year-old career backup. Let’s discuss.

Bills vs Chiefs: Running game breakdown

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The Bills basically didn’t even try to run the ball against the Ravens. And it worked.

Buffalo did hand it off from time to time, but Brian Daboll and crew invented a de facto run game of short-swing passes that became the Bills’ way to keep the clock moving.

The Chiefs don’t possess the run-stuffers that the Ravens tout upfront, but that doesn’t mean we should expect anything to change. In stark contrast to the Bills teams that made the playoffs in 2017 and 2019, Buffalo has completely deemphasized the run game.

That being said, more designed runs and QB draws need to be called for Allen. While he was a dynamo against the Colts, he was a complete non-factor against the Ravens, carrying the ball seven times for three yards.

The Browns had measured success with quarterback runs against the Chiefs, even calling a designed run for QB Baker Mayfield on a critical third down. Expect Allen to re-establish himself as a true dual-threat against Kansas City.

The Chiefs’ run game suffered a huge blow late in the season, with leading rusher and ROY candidate Clyde Edwards-Helaire going down with an ankle/hip injury. He was listed as questionable for the Browns game but did not play.

In his stead, it was Darrel Williams who picked up the slack, carrying the ball 13 times for 78 yards. Le’Veon Bell, whom many thought would be the replacement for Edwards-Helaire, hardly saw the field.

If Henne is the quarterback this coming Sunday, we can expect to see a heavy workload for Williams. Fortunately, the Bills’ run defence seems to be peaking at the right time.