Josh Allen and Buffalo Bills insist revenge not on the agenda when they face Patrick Mahomes and the struggling Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a repeat of the AFC championship game from last season.
Nine months ago, the Bills were largely outplayed as the Chiefs hit their Super Bowl ticket with a 38-24 victory at Arrowhead Stadium that was more one-sided than the final score suggested.
But as the two NFL teams face off on Sunday, the tables turned and the Chiefs made an unconvincing start to the year that left them at the foot of AFC West with a 2-2 record.
Allen and the Bills, meanwhile, broke free in the AFC East, rebounding from an opening loss to Pittsburgh to record big wins over Miami (35-0), Washington (43-21) and Houston (40 -0).
That doesn’t bode well for an injured Chiefs defense who has averaged 31 points per game in four outings so far this season.
Allen is adamant, however, that despite the Chiefs’ problems early in the season, they remain the team to beat in the AFC, having reached the last three league games as well as the Super Bowls of the 2020 and 2019 seasons.
“They are the gold standard, what you would want to be as an AFC team – being in the AFC championship for the past three years and competing for the Super Bowl is what they have. done, ”Allen said.
“So that’s what every team wants to be and until someone takes them out in the playoffs that won’t change.”
Allen dismisses the idea that Sunday is a chance to avenge last season’s playoff loss.
“Everyone wants to make a big deal on the AFC Championship rematch, and I understand that is what it is,” he said. “But it’s a new year and this team is different from last year, and their team is different from last year.”
Allen is only 14th in the pass standings this season, with 1,055 yards on four starts, but impressed his counterpart Mahomes, who believes the Bills quarterback has improved from last season.
“What you see with Josh as he gets better and better every year is that he’s not happy with where he’s at,” Mahomes said this week.
“He works through his throwing motion, he works on his feet, he does different types of things to give himself an advantage – and that’s what all the best quarterbacks do. “
– The 49ers fear ‘Houdini’ –
Elsewhere on Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals will defend the last unbeaten NFL record when they host the San Francisco 49ers in Phoenix.
Inspired by the dynamic play of elusive quarterback Kyler Murray, the Cardinals made a 4-0 start to the season and lead NFC West, considered the league’s strongest division by many pundits.
At just 5-foot-10, Murray is relatively short in stature for an NFL quarterback, where conventional wisdom has been that a towering physique is usually a prerequisite for the job.
Murray happily made nonsense from that point of view this year, throwing for 1,273 yards – the league’s third behind Tom Brady and Derek Carr – while running for 109 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
“What separates him from a lot of different guys is the ability to expand the games and take on the role of Houdini,” said 49ers linebacker Fred Warner.
“You think you’ve bundled him up, and then all of a sudden he slips away, running wide open on the ground.”
In other clashes this weekend, two generations of quarterbacks clash when Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) host Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers, who have recovered from a shellacking from the opening day at 3 -1.
Burrow says the team will need to improve their offensive production to keep pace with the Packers, who rebounded from a 38-3 season opener loss to New Orleans averaging over 30 points per game.
“We didn’t score a lot of points, if any, in the first quarter if I remember correctly,” Burrow said. “We have to be better at it. Once we have that, we’ll roll.”