Editor’s note: This article was written prior to the Bills-Bengals game being postponed by the NFL due to a medical emergency suffered by Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Patrick Mahomes also weighed in on the scary situation on social media.
The Buffalo Bills‘ Monday Night Football showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals is arguably the most highly-anticipated primetime game of the season. Ahead of Week 17, the Bills (12-3) sat in first place atop the AFC while the Bengals (11-4) were right on their heels in third place just behind the Kansas City Chiefs.
However, following Kansas City’s victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, January 1, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (13-3) have temporarily retaken the top spot in the AFC. If the Bengals defeat the Bills, the Chiefs will remain in first place, but if Buffalo wins, Kansas City will shift back into second place.
Mahomes completed 29-of-42 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over the Broncos, during which he surpassed the 5,000 passing yards mark for the second time in his NFL career, per NFL.com. After the game, the former Super Bowl MVP was asked about his AFC rivals’ big matchup on Monday, January 2, and if he’ll be watching.
The 27-year-old gave a wonderfully honest response, admitting that he’s just as excited as everyone else to watch two of the most explosive quarterbacks in the league, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow, face off for the first time in their careers.
“It’s going to keep me up past my bedtime. It’s going to end up starting at like 8 o’clock” Mahomes joked during his postgame press conference. “I’m trying not to be too invested in it. It’s going to be a great football game with two great teams. And teams that you’re probably going to see in the playoffs, probably both or one or the other.”
“You just try to just watch as a fan like I always do. I mean it’s great quarterbacks, great defenses, great players and as a fan of the game, I like watching great football teams go up against each other.”
Mahomes has taken an L by both Allen and Burrow this season. In Week 13, the Bengals defeated the Chiefs 27-24, while the Bills beat the Chiefs 24-20 at Arrowhead Stadium back in Week 6.
If the Bills beat the Bengals on Monday night, they can clinch the conference and home-field advantage with a win against the Patriots in Week 18. If the Bills lose to the Bengals, they will need some help. Buffalo would still be able to clinch the top seed if they beat New England and the Las Vegas Raiders defeat the Chiefs.
Bills QB Josh Allen Says Beating the Bengals Is ‘Going to Come Down to Execution’
Both the Bengals and Bills have a chance to control their postseason destiny and clinch home-field advantage starting with a win on Monday night, and Allen is going to do everything he can to make sure Buffalo comes out victorious.
“That’s one of the four goals that [head] coach [Sean] McDermott sets out for us each and every year,” Allen said. “It makes the playoffs, win the division, secure home field by getting the one seed then obviously winning the world championship, the Super Bowl. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish. Every time we step on the field, we want to win the football game. It’s going to come down to execution on Monday night.”
Burrow Is Confident the Bengals Can Win Because They’ve ‘Beaten Everybody’
While Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd and running back Joe Mixon have not been shy in declaring Cincinnati as the superior team, Burrow exudes a strong, calm confidence heading into his first game against Allen and the Bills.
“Yeah, I mean, we’ve beaten everybody,” Burrow said, Pro Football Talk‘s Josh Alper. “We know we can play against everybody. We’ve done it in the biggest moments. So like I said, we’re treating every game the same. We’ve played everyone in the last two years. We haven’t played the Bills yet, so that will be a fun challenge, but they’re good on defense, got a lot of veteran guys, and know how to play within their scheme. They play hard, they play fast, they play schematically sound so it’ll be a fun challenge.”