Will he play, or won’t he play? That is the question Kansas City Chiefs fans have been asking all week about their star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
After sustaining a nasty concussion in last week’s 22-17 win over the Cleveland Browns, Mahomes has been in concussion protocol all week. The former NFL MVP will need to pass a number of neurological tests conducted by an independent doctor, in order to be able to play.
Let’s not beat about the bush here. The Chiefs hopes are likely dependent on Mahomes being fit. Backup QB Chad Henne saw them over the line against the Browns with a couple of key plays. But it is a different thing asking him to play the entire game and land the win against the in-form Buffalo Bills.
What is the latest on Mahomes and how are the Bills shaping up ahead of their biggest game since the 1994 Superbowl?
Kansas City Chiefs Preview
With all the ‘will he play/won’t he play” questions about Mahomes this week, it is easy to forget that the quarterback has a stellar cast of offensive superstars around him. Tyreek Hill has come up clutch for the Chiefs many times over the last few years. Travis Kelce is the best Tight End in the NFL right now.
They are ably supported by a number of other talented offensive options such as Mecole Hardman, Damien Williams, Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson.
The Chiefs defense doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It does have its issues, which the Bills can exploit, but the likes of Tyrann Mathieu and Chris Jones always seem to turn up with a big play when needed.
However, the whole Kansas City Chiefs orchestra needs its prime conductor to play to its best. Chad Henne is a serviceable replacement, but it is Patrick Mahomes that lifts the team onto another level.
Buffalo Bills Preview
With all the Mahomes speculation, it is easy to forget that the Buffalo Bills come into this game as the most in form team in the NFL and as the deserved second seeds in the AFC. Quarterback Josh Allen has become for the Bills what Mahomes is for the Chiefs. Unlike Mahomes, Allen is certain to play.
While the Bills have their own explosive offense, led by Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs, it is perhaps how well the Bills defense has stepped up in the post-season that has been impressive. They were solid against the Colts but played a key role in the 17-3 defeat of the Baltimore Ravens last week.
Taron Johnson’s 101-yard pick six from his own end zone was the key play in that game and along with the likes of Micah Hyde, Josh Norman and Tre’Davious White, they will be responsible for blunting the Chiefs long passing attack.
This is a very talented Bills team and one that will only improve over the next couple of years or so.
What Do The Sportsbooks Think?
A quick look at the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook seems to show that they also think Mahomes will be fit to play. The Bills are the slight underdogs for this at +3 (104), while the Chiefs are the favourites at -3 (117).
The moneyline options are also very intriguing with the Chiefs now -167 and the Bills +145.
That is actually a smaller difference in odds than in the NFC title game, which is interesting given how dominant the Chiefs have been this season.
Does this mean the bookmakers are still not quite 100% sure Mahomes will play? I’m pretty certain that if he was, those odds for Buffalo would be longer and the odds for the Chiefs shorter.
What Are My Tips For The Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs?
It won’t surprise you to know that I am adding a Mahomes Caveat to my selections in this game.
If Mahomes passes the tests he needs to and is declared fit to play and, and this is crucial, he is 100% fit to play, then I think the Chiefs win the game. Mahomes is the perfect leader for the NFL’s most explosive offense and given the game is at Arrowhead, I don’t think even the Bills can beat them.
The consensus of opinion seems to be that Mahomes will play, but as at the time of writing, that is not definitive.
If Mahomes is not fit to play, then I think that changes things greatly. There is just no way I can see Chad Henne leading this explosive Chiefs offense in the same way. As such, I would expect Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills to come out on top.
As you can see, Mahomes fitness does determine which bet I am backing, so I am holding off on placing any bet until his participation is clear one way or the other. Even if that means waiting until just a short time before kick-off to place the bet.