In Week 14, one of the best rivalries in recent memory is renewed when the Buffalo Bills travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. However, this year’s event has a very different meaning than previous battles. The Bills have had the Chiefs’ number in the regular season the last two years (the playoffs are a different story), and desperately need to find that same juice this week to keep their playoff hopes alive. This game has been billed as a potential AFC Championship Game preview over the past few years. This time it’s about two teams struggling to get back on track.
Kansas City enters Week 14 having lost three of its last five games, and it comes on the heels of a six-game winning streak. At 8-4, KC has a solid lead in the AFC West but is fighting to stay in the race for home field advantage. The Chiefs haven’t looked the same recently, losing games they would normally win, such as their Week 8 loss to Denver, 24-9. Before that, the Chiefs had beaten the Broncos 16 games in a row dating back to 2015. Peyton Manning still threw swinging balls across the yard for Denver. That’s how long it’s been since they’ve been able to argue KC.
While Kansas City has struggled of late, Week 14 isn’t nearly as important to them as it is to Buffalo. At 6-6, the Bills are currently on the outside, hoping to jump back into the postseason picture. They are tied with Cincinnati and Denver, and sit one game behind Houston (and a half game behind Pittsburgh) for the final AFC playoff spot.
The Bills have been nothing short of disappointing in a year that saw them become so many people’s Super Bowl favorites. An alarm should have gone off for everyone in Week 1 after the Bills lost to the Jets, minus Aaron Rodgers. He played four plays before a torn Achilles sidelined him for the year. Despite Buffalo bouncing back from that loss, they were mediocre for most of the season. The Bills are 3-5 since Week 5 and even lost to the Patriots in October. Traditionally, the loss to New England has been nothing to be ashamed of in the Bill Belichick era, but in a year where they are headed for a top-five draft pick, that loss shows how far Buffalo has fallen.
While both teams need to get back on the winning side of things, it’s a lose-lose situation for the Bills. Everything happening around the Bills organization this year makes it seem like drastic changes could be on the horizon. Buffalo already parted ways with former offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey a few weeks ago. Then there’s the story about head coach Sean McDermott’s “motivational speech” from 2019 in reference to 9/11 terrorists leaking, and now you have a complete drama.
None of that is what a franchise wants to be the focus of their season. The way this Bills team has been playing, this locker room may have eliminated McDermott at this point. McDermott has been there for seven years, and with all this talent, they reached one AFC title game, which they lost to Kansas City. After seven years it could be time for a new philosophy in that dressing room. And if the Bills fall to the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, they might as well prepare for winter break because it’s a wrap for the postseason.