The Buffalo Bills might have built a powerhouse of a franchise over the last couple of years, but they haven’t been powerful enough to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. That was evident in the AFC Divisional Round earlier this year when the Chiefs beat the Bills in overtime 42-36.
A large part of the reason for the shootout was due to Buffalo’s inability to get to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who completed 75% of his passes and had zero turnovers in that game. With that in mind, Buffalo went and signed a high-profile free agent this offseason that they believe is the key to finally beating Kansas City:
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Miller, 33, signed a six-year deal with the Bills this offseason that will pay him $51 million in guarantees, per Over The Cap. That’s a large amount of money for a pass rusher well into his 30s. However, Dan Pompei of The Athletic revealed the discussion Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane had with head coach Sean McDermott, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and defensive line coach Eric Washington regarding the addition of Miller.
“Beane spoke of how the Bills fell short of their goal last season mainly because they couldn’t get to Patrick Mahomes in the divisional playoff loss to the Chiefs,” Pompei wrote on July 7. “Miller could change that. Beane also told Miller he would bring value to a young locker room because he knows how to win Super Bowls. McDermott stressed that he wanted Miller to be himself and nothing else. Frazier and Washington spoke of using him in matchups on both sides of the line.”
Bills Have Been Upgrading, but So Have Chiefs
Although adding Miller will no doubt be an upgrade to Buffalo’s defensive line, the Chiefs have been preparing for more fierce pass rushers since last offseason. After adding Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, and Trey Smith in 2021, Kansas City drafted Darian Kinnard this year, and he is projected to slot into the starting right tackle role. So, the Chiefs’ offensive line will be in an even better position to handle elite pass rushers this upcoming season.
Only time will tell how well the entire offensive line will gel together, especially now that Khalil Mack, Chandler Jones, and Randy Gregory have been added to the AFC West. But based on what we saw from the unit last season, the arrow is trending upwards in terms of their ability to protect Mahomes.
Chiefs’ Creed Humphrey Issues Message to AFC West Rivals
With the additions of players such as Davante Adams, Chandler Jones, Khalil Mack, and Russell Wilson to the AFC West, there’s some (semi) understandable pessimism regarding how the defending division champion Chiefs will fare in 2022.
While Kansas City did lose Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu this offseason, they added several playmakers and still have Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones, to name a few. That’s why players like second-year center Creed Humphrey, PFF’s highest-graded center in the NFL last season, are embracing the increased level of competition in the division heading into the 2022 season.
“Everybody’s added some really good pieces and it’s going to be a blast,” Humphrey told SiriusXM NFL Radio about the AFC West on July 2. “It’s a tough division already and when they’ve added these pieces, it’s just going to be even tougher. That’s fun for us.
“We embrace the competition, so we’re really excited about it. There will be some tough games. But you know if you’re coming out of there, you have a chance to really be able to compete with anybody. So, we’re really excited about it.”
Even though every other team in the division added high-profile players this offseason, there’s one thing that the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos don’t have that the Chiefs do: experience from the team’s core players.
Kansas City has made deep playoff runs every season since Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback in 2018. That in turn has not only padded the resumes of the Chiefs’ tenured veterans, but it has also given those players familiarity when it comes to winning the division, making extended playoff runs, and most importantly, winning a Super Bowl. That’s something that none of the other three AFC West teams have.
Because of this, the Chiefs, who are coached by Andy Reid, one of the winningest head coaches in NFL history, should still be the favorite to win the division until proven otherwise.