Bills’ Josh Allen aware of recent struggles against Chiefs, hopes home field creates edge in divisional round

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Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has developed a friendship with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The two NFL stars occasionally play a game of golf together during the offseason. 

But Allen’s fondness for Mahomes will likely go out the window this weekend, at least for a few hours, when the Bills-Chiefs divisional round playoff game kicks off inside Highmark Stadium. 

Allen and the Bills will look to avenge their overtime loss to the Chiefs in the 2021 divisional round. The Chiefs also knocked Buffalo out of the playoffs in the 2020 AFC championship game.

But the location of Sunday’s game will be different than the recent Bills-Chiefs postseason matchups. The Bills previously had to travel to Arrowhead Stadium in January, but this year the Chiefs will have to fly to New York.

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Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills looks to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium Oct. 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

But past playoff heartbreaks are the last thing on Allen’s mind.

“We don’t need to bring that up,” Allen said Wednesday. “I’m sure people will bring up what I’m afraid of but, nah, I got a lot of respect for him and his game and who he is off the field.”

BILLS COULD BE AFFECTED BY SNOW YET AGAIN WITH MORE FEET COMING TO BUFFALO

The Bills’ 2021 defeat did prompt the NFL to change its postseason overtime rules. Kansas City won the coin toss and ended the 2021 divisional game with a touchdown on the first overtime possession. The rules now stipulate that both teams are guaranteed an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime.

Sunday’s game will also mark Mahomes’ first time playing a postseason game away from Arrowhead Stadium. Mahomes expressed excitement about the opportunity to play in front of a favorably raucous crowd.

Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen after a game

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, left, and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills after a game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium Dec. 10, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo.  (Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

“Even though I know it’s going to be hostile and there are going to be people talking trash and everything like that, I’m excited for it because it’s one of the best environments in football,” Mahomes said. “And you want to do that when you grow up watching these games in the best environments and see what it’s like.”

Although snow isn’t in the forecast for Sunday, both teams are accustomed to playing in frigid temperatures. The Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins in one of the coldest games in NFL history last week.

Josh Allen drops back to pass

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs a play during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff game against the Miami Dolphins Jan. 15, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

There is a fair amount of familiarity between the Bills and Chiefs. The rivals have split their past six meetings, including the playoffs, since 2020.

“There’s no secrets,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said.

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Wherever the setting, Allen appreciates how difficult it will be to beat the defending champions.

“They’re at the top of the mountain. They know what it takes to get there. We’ve yet to do that,” said Allen, whose lone AFC championship game appearance ended in a 38-24 loss at Kansas City. “As a competitor, to be in a situation like this is something you dream about.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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