3 Mistakes Bills Must Avoid vs. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs in 2024 NFL Playoffs

3 Mistakes Bills Must Avoid vs. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs in 2024 NFL Playoffs

0 of 3

    Josh Allen

    Josh AllenTimothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

    One of the league’s best postseason rivalries will be renewed this weekend when the Buffalo Bills meet the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs.

    The Bills and Chiefs might not be natural rivals, but they have become common foes in the era of Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. The two met for the first time in 2020 and have played six times since, including twice in the playoffs.

    The two teams are 3-3 in those six games, but the Chiefs have won both times the meeting took place in the playoffs. On Sunday, the Bills will hope to end that streak and take the lead in this era of the rivalry.

    They’re certainly capable. They beat them 20-17 in the regular season but nothing has been guaranteed with the Bills this season. Here are three mistakes they need to avoid in order to come out on top this time.

Getting Conservative on Defense

1 of 3

    Taron Johnson

    Taron JohnsonRich Barnes/Getty Images

    For a while, the answer to defending Patrick Mahomes was to get conservative. Teams had a lot of success playing two-high shells and dropping eight into coverage. It forced Mahomes to nickel and dime teams down the field.

    That’s not the case anymore. It takes a balanced approach and multiple looks to have success against this Chiefs defense and that includes adding blitzes in.

    One of the reasons the Bills were able to have some success against Mahomes in the regular season was the fact that they did this weel. According to Pro Football Reference, the Bills blitzed Mahomes 12 times, which was the third-most he had seen all season.

    They were able to log 10 total pressures which was enough to force him into several bad throws and held the offense to 17 points.

    The Chiefs have since found some a better rhythm on offense. Rashee Rice has emerged as a legitimate No. 1 receiver, posing eight catches and 130 yards with a touchdown in sub-zero temperatures against the Dolphins.

    If the Bills are going to finally turn the tables in their postseason rivalry with the Chiefs, it’s going to take a defensive game plan that is able to keep Mahomes guessing.

Not Feeding James Cook

2 of 3

    James Cook

    James CookKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    James Cook has enjoyed a strong season for the Bills and has been a crucial cog in the success of the offense. At their best, the Bills are finding ways to get their running back the ball and giving him the lion’s share of the touches.

    The first time the Bills played the Chiefs, they probably didn’t do as good a job of this as they should have. Cook was a major factor in the passing game. he led the team in receiving with 83 yards on five catches and a touchdown.

    However, he only had 10 carries while Josh Allen threw the ball 42 times. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry so it wasn’t like he was inefficient. The Bills just leaned a little pass-happy.

    The approach against the Steelers in the wild card matchup was better. Cook saw 18 carries in addition to his four targets and gave them 79 yards on the ground.

    Only the Panthers gave up more EPA per rush than the Chiefs this season. As good as the defense has been, the Bills can and should run the ball against them.

Forcing the Ball to Stefon Diggs

3 of 3

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 07: Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills carries the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of the game at Hard Rock Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

    Megan Briggs/Getty Images

    The gravitational pull of Stefon Diggs in this offense is a double-edged sword. On one hand, Diggs has long been the most dangerous weapon the Bills have and he’s earned his role as a heavily targeted alpha receiver.

    On the other, his production has been up and down all season and the Bills have had diminishing returns when targeting him heavily. He’s averaging nearly two yards less per target than he did last season.

    That trend was on full display when the Bills played the Chiefs in the regular season. The Bills won and scored 20 points, but Allen targeted Diggs 11 times leading to just four receptions for 24 yards.

    The reality is that the Bills don’t need to rely on Diggs as much as they have in the past. He’s still a dynamic playmaker, but Dalton Kincaid has become a reliable target, James Cook is a good pass-catching back and Gabe Davis has taken another step.

    L’Jarius Sneed was able to lock down Tyreek Hill last week against the Dolphins. If the Chiefs decide to stick Sneed on Diggs, they can’t become obsessed with making sure that he sees enough targets.

    It’s ok for the Bills to continue to spread the ball to Khalil Shakir, Davis, Kincaid and Cook.

Read More


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here