When the Buffalo Bills travel to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will have a lot of weapons to worry about on the opposite sideline.
First, if he plays, you have a Super Bowl MVP quarterback in Patrick Mahomes who takes almost any offense to a different level. Then, you have one of the fastest players in the league in Tyreek Hill, who caught 87 passes for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns during the regular season this season.
But, the buck doesn’t stop there as the Chiefs have several other weapons that can do damage to any offense.
Tight end Travis Kelce might be the most dangerous of the bunch though. The eight-year veteran led the Chiefs in receiving during the regular season with 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns on 105 receptions. He also had eight catches for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in their AFC divisional-round matchup.
“He’s arguably the best tight end in our game and he can do so many things so well,” Frazier said during a video conference call on Monday. “They move him around so much too. They put him at the number one, they put him at two, they put him at three sometimes, they put him in the backfield. He just creates a lot of problems for your defense.”
During Buffalo’s first matchup with Kansas City in Week 6, Kelce didn’t have a lot of yards, but he did catch both of Mahomes’ touchdown passes and finished the game with 65 receiving yards.
The Bills also didn’t have the player who Frazier believes will be the secret weapon when it comes to stopping Kelce this time around.
“We’re fortunate enough to have Matt (Milano) back, that’s going to make a difference for us we believe, that should help us,” Frazier said during his video conference call. “But nobody really shuts down Travis.”
In two postseason games, Bills linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds are tied for second in the NFL with 18 tackles. They both have three pass deflections and Milano also has one tackle for a loss.
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The Bills Have Success When Milano Is on the Field
Milano, who’s in his fourth year in the NFL, has been crucial to Buffalo’s success this season. He’s only played in 10 games, but when he is on the field, the Bills are undefeated.
When he missed time earlier this season, against the Chiefs and Tennesse Titans both Kelce and Titans tight end Jonnu Smith had big weeks. Smith caught five passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns in Tennesse’s Week 5 win over the Bills.
Then, in Buffalo’s Week 10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, tight end Dan Arnold caught four passes for 34 yards but Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds, and Kyler Murray combined for 217 yards on the ground. Milano could have played a big role in stopping the run during that game as well.
Having Milano back in the lineup this season has been big for the Bills and he’ll continue to be as they make their push through the playoffs.
Bills Need to Stay Consistent With Super Bowl Trip on the Line
There’s a certain approach that has gotten the Bills to where they are and no matter the game, or the importance of that game, the Bills have stayed consistent with their approach all year long. It’s been a one game at a time type of mentality and even though there is a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, Bills head coach Sean McDermott says the Bills need to stick to that mentality.
“We gotta do what has gotten us here in terms of our preparation, our routines, our schedules, it’s a very consistent approach for us this week,” McDermott said during his video conference call on Monday. “It’s a business as usual approach as well. These guys know you gotta limit the distractions and get down to business if you want to give yourself a chance.”
Heading into Sunday, the Bills have the toughest challenge of the season so far as they travel to the defending Super Bowl champions and try to earn a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1993 season.
“That’s what you work towards all season long, to get here, where we are,” McDermott said on Monday.