On Friday, the NFL’s biggest star delivered a game-changing update about his health status for Sunday’s AFC championship showdown against Sean McDermott’s team.
But even if Mahomes returns, that doesn’t mean Chiefs fans should start booking their flights to Tampa. After all, Josh Allen and his cast of weapons present a major challenge for Kansas City. And if their defense doesn’t rise to the occasion, don’t be surprised if the Chiefs watch the Bills celebrate an AFC title victory in front of whoever dares to sit inside Arrowhead Stadium in the middle of January.
Chiefs fans got a scare last week against the Browns
Although the Chiefs earned a spot in the AFC championship, their divisonal-round victory came at a steep price.
In the middle of the third quarter, Patrick Mahomes absorbed a brutal blow to the head/neck area from Cleveland Browns linebacker Mack Wilson. The reigning Super Bowl MVP looked visibly shaken after he rose to his feet. Mahomes did not return to the game.
Immediately, concerns rose about a possible concussion for the league’s biggest star. Even Brett Favre weighed in on the topic of Mahomes and his health.
“I played 321 straight games. It kind of goes against everything I stood for when I played, but you got to be smart,” the Green Bay Packers legend said in a recent interview with TMZ Sports. “When you’re in the moment, and you’re young, you’re bulletproof, man. But, I’m 51 years old, and I’m wondering what tomorrow will bring because of concussions, more than anything.”
All week, Chiefs fans have been forced to wait for official confirmation about Mahomes’ status for the AFC title game. After all, per NFL rules, he would not be allowed to play on Sunday if he can’t pass the league’s concussion protocol.
Patrick Mahomes just gave Kansas City Chiefs fans a game-changing update about his health status
Just over 48 hours before kickoff time, Patrick Mahomes finally gave Kansas City fans the news they’ve desperately waited to hear.
On Friday, the 25-year-old NFL star delivered an update about his health status. And in doing so, he allowed the state of Missouri to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
“Talking to all of the doctors and going through all of the testing, we have the belief that I’ll have no lingering effects and I’ll be able to go out there and be who I am,” Mahomes said after clearing the league’s concussion protocol, according to ESPN.
“You have to take it day by day. That’s the best thing. You can only control what you can control. For me, that was coming in every day with a positive attitude, try to make myself better, try to prepare myself as if I was going to play.”
He further added, “Luckily enough, I haven’t had any symptoms and I’m able to play.”
Obviously, having Mahomes in the lineup gives the Chiefs a much better chance of repeating as Super Bowl champions. At his best, the rocket-armed quarterback can pick apart just about any defense. And even when he’s not totally on his game—take Super Bowl 54, for example—Mahomes is more than capable of making big plays when it matters most.
Still, that doesn’t mean the Chiefs have a guaranteed spot in Super Bowl 55. Because despite their track record of blowing playoff games, the 2020 version of the Buffalo Bills have the pieces in place to prevent Mahomes from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the second straight year.
Can the Bills pull off an upset in the AFC championship game?
Most NFL fans would agree that the Chiefs possess the league’s most talented offense. But did you know that Kansas City didn’t rank No. 1 in points this season?
In fact, a unit headlined by Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill only finished sixth in scoring.
So who finished in first?
The Buffalo Bills.
After two wildly inconsistent seasons, Josh Allen finally harnessed his physical tools and emerged as a legitimate star. He earned his first Pro Bowl berth after setting-career highs across the board. The NFL’s most physically gifted quarterback outside of Mahomes completed 69.2% of his passes for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions. Allen also ran for 421 yards and eight scores.
Of course, his breakout campaign coincided with the arrival of Stefon Diggs. The former Minnesota Vikings receiver completely obliterated expectations by leading the league with 127 receptions. His presence completely changed the offense and opened up more opportunities for secondary options like Cole Beasley (82 catches for 967 yards and four TD), Gabriel Davis (35/599/7), John Brown (33/458/3), and Dawson Knox (24/288/3). Plus, Devin Singletary has become one of the better every-down backs in the league in his second season in Buffalo.
Overall, the Bills absolutely boast the firepower to compete with the Chiefs in a shootout. And considering neither team has an elite defense, the AFC championship could easily turn into a back-and-forth scoring affair.
If that proves to be the case, it will be fascinating to see how things play out in the fourth quarter. Will Allen’s lack of big-game experience get exposed with a Super Bowl berth on the line? Or can the NFL’s biggest breakout star deliver in the clutch and send Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs back to the locker room with a home playoff loss?
We’ll find out soon enough.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.