Right where we left off on the AFC side in 2020 — Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes, Sean McDermott vs. Andy Reid, Buffalo at Kansas City. A conference championship rematch for the ages and an opponent both fanbases feel they deserve one more shot at.
Only this time, fate provided this head-to-head a week in advance. According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, however, the January 23rd matchup might as well be labeled the AFC championship once again.
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Latest Bold Take From Stephen A.
During a segment of ESPN’s First Take on January 18, Smith couldn’t decide between Mahomes and Allen but he was willing to bet on the winner of the two taking the AFC.
The declaration came after he was asked which quarterback he’d prefer to have “this postseason.” Smith stated:
I’m of the mindset that it could potentially be Josh Allen, I’m not ruling that out. I’m not trying to say that Josh Allen is better than Patrick Mahomes, please don’t get me wrong. I’m just talking about what I am seeing take shape before our very eyes. I’m seeing Josh Allen step up and carry a Bills team for several weeks. I’m seeing him run over people while he’s running with the football very effectively. I’m looking at the Bills right now and the way that they’re playing — let me be very clear — the Bills have a chance to win this game. I think that whoever wins this game is going to the Super Bowl. They representing the AFC, that’s what I think this is.
The television personality went on to add that if the Bills do win on Sunday, he thinks “that’s going to set the stage for a huge rivalry for years to come.”
Based on the two quarterback’s stat lines on wildcard weekend, both those statements could be accurate:
- Mahomes: 30/39, 404 passing yards, 5 TDs, 29 rushing yards, 1 INT, 138.3 rating.
- Allen: 21/25, 308 passing yards, 5 TDs, 66 rushing yards, 0 INTs, 157.6 rating.
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Rematch Is Really a Rubber Game
As we all know, Buffalo already got their revenge when they smoked the Chiefs in Week 5 of 2021. That makes this a rubber game for Mahomes and Allen.
Now, Bills fans may think back on that blowout fondly and for good reason, they took down the back-to-back AFC champs, 38-20. Does that mean they have the advantage in round three? Those who played the sport know it’s not always that simple.
In Week 5, Buffalo had all the momentum. Not only was Kansas City in a bit of a slump both offensively and defensively, but they also weren’t as amped up for that matchup. The Bills locker room circled that game on the schedule the moment it dropped. They were starving for a chance at redemption and they ended up claiming their chunk of flesh.
My major question is, did they waste that moment?
Don’t get me wrong, every win is important in this league and Buffalo’s season may end up differently if they lose Week 5. I’m not asking if the victory was a waste, I’m asking if the resounding one was.
I’m asking if they caught the big bad wolf sleeping in a game where they clearly wanted it more — because now the Chiefs want their revenge. Now, Kansas City remembers.
This won’t be the same cakewalk that it was during the regular season and the intensity levels may have even seesawed since the last time these two juggernauts met. If the Chiefs come out as passionately as I think they will, this is still their game to lose at Arrowhead Stadium.
And according to Stephen A., a victory could mean Kansas City is Super Bowl-bound for the third straight season.