You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Big offenses, overlooked defenses in AFC title game between Bills, Chiefs

SF Gate logo SF Gate 1/24/2021 Staff and wire services
a drawing of a person © Provided by SF Gate

Two teams so absent from championship history for so long until recently face off for the AFC championship Sunday.

The Kansas City Chiefs won their first NFL title since 1970 when they beat the 49ers in last year’s Super Bowl. The Buffalo Bills made four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s, but have never won the the title and went from the 2000-2016 seasons without even getting to the playoffs.

Sunday’s matchup is of dynamic offenses and overlooked defenses. The Bills ride quarterback Josh Allen, whose third pro season has been superb. He has learned to read the field and make smarter decisions while also utilizing a deep receiving corps, helping mask a rushing game that ranked 20th.

“We’re not going to change who we are,” Allen said when asked about the lack of a dominant running game.

The Chiefs counter with All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu and underrated Daniel Sorensen at safety. They’ll need Chris Jones, Frank Clark and others up front to get some pressure on Allen while keeping him from getting outside and making plays with his legs and arm.

Reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes sustained a concussion last week and has a lingering toe injury, but he is football’s most resourceful QB.

The Bills must produce a pass rush and have the players to do it up front with Jerry Hughes, Ed Oliver and Mario Addison. The matchup of Buffalo cornerback Tre’Davious White and All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill also will be in the spotlight.

49ers hire assistant: The 49ers have hired a former defensive coordinator to help their rookie defensive coordinator.

The team has added James Bettcher, 42, who was the defensive coordinator of the Giants (2018-2019) and Cardinals (2015-2017), in a senior defensive role, the NFL Network reported. Last week, the 49ers promoted inside linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans, 36, to defensive coordinator after former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was hired as the Jets’ head coach.

— Eric Branch

Stafford available: The Lions and QB Matthew Stafford have agreed to explore the possibility of trading him. Detroit drafted Stafford No. 1 overall in 2009 and he has two years left on a $135 million, five-year deal.



image beaconimage beaconimage beacon