Exclusive: Chief Patrick’s Mahomes has the ideal location for his first road playoff game: Buffalo.

Exclusive: Chief Patrick's Mahomes has the ideal location for his first road playoff game: Buffalo.


With temperatures projected for the low 20s on Sunday, the weather won’t be the story in Buffalo. The plot revolves around QBs Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.


Exclusive: Chief Patrick's Mahomes has the ideal location for his first road playoff game: Buffalo.

Fitting that Patrick Mahomes provided a weather forecast as he looked ahead to the first official road playoff game of his NFL career on Sunday at not-so-balmy Buffalo.

Just the thought of a trip to western New York in January might be an intimidation factor for many. But not for Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Not after they played last weekend in the coldest game ever at Arrowhead Stadium, when it was minus-4 degrees at kickoff, with a wind-chill factor of minus-27 degrees that registered as the third-coldest game in NFL history.

“It’s not minus-30 this week,” Mahomes said, speaking wind chill, when he met reporters during a midweek press conference.

The Chiefs and Buffalo Bills will resume what has become a classic rivalry on Sunday night (6:30 ET) in the best matchup of the NFL divisional playoffs. This, a week after Buffalo’s playoff opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed for a day as the region dug out from a blizzard.

“I’m sure it’ll be like minus-3 or minus-4 and it’s going to be windy and cold,” Mahomes added. “It’s a great challenge. But I don’t know if it beats the cold that we played in this last week.”

No, with temperatures projected for the low 20s, the weather won’t be the story this time. The plot thankfully revolves around Mahomes and Josh Allen, the star quarterbacks determined to push their teams to the AFC title game amid the possibility of more memorable drama.

The last time these teams met, in Week 14 at Arrowhead, the Chiefs seemed to be on the verge of a stunning comeback as a remarkable, impromptu, cross-field lateral pass from Travis Kelce to Kadarius Toney resulted in a would-be 49-yard, go-ahead touchdown play. Only the effort was nullified because Toney lined up offsides, fueling the worst reaction we’ve ever seen from Mahomes, who went ballistic in expressing his displeasure with the officiating.

The last playoff matchup between the teams came in a divisional playoff two years ago, when Mahomes drove the Chiefs to a game-tying, 49-yard field goal in just 13 seconds to force overtime, then led a 75-yard march in OT for the winning touchdown pass to Travis Kelce. Talk about heartbreak. The Bills were 13 seconds from their first AFC title game since the Jim Kelly-Bruce Smith teams of the ’90s.

Now, with the past five games of the series played at Arrowhead, comes Buffalo’s big chance for revenge on its own turf at Highmark Stadium. And while the Chiefs have lacked the prolific consistency on offense that they’ve had in recent years (see the NFL-high dropped passes), the Bills have built tremendous momentum down the stretch with a six-game winning streak.

Maybe it’s some sort of poetic justice. For Mahomes to win his first road playoff game, he has to win in Buffalo, of all places.

“Even though I know it’s going to be hostile, there are going to be people talking trash and those kinds of things, I’m excited for it,” Mahomes said. “It’s one of the best environments in football.”

Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs remarkably hosted the past five AFC Championship games, is a rather inviting environment, too. Yet this playoff test on the road was bound to happen one of these days. Of course, the Chiefs have played in three “neutral site” Super Bowls, although Mahomes seemed to suggest that the Super Bowl 55 loss in Tampa was actually a road game against the Bucs — albeit with reduced capacity during the pandemic.

In any event, Bills Mafia will be in full force on Sunday.

“I think it will be a different type of energy from their fan base,” envisioned Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones. “Especially for them. The Chiefs coming in. The last time we played them in the playoffs we beat them. So, it’s a lot of revenge going on there. A lot of tables going to be lit on fire, smashing of tables. Should be electric.”

The teams have split their six matchups since 2020 featuring Mahomes and Allen, with each of the past three games decided by six points or fewer. The Chiefs, though, won both of the playoff games.

One thing is certain: They know each other. And not just because Bills coach Sean McDermott once worked in Philadelphia in an entry-level job as Andy Reid’s administrative assistant. The familiarity comes more from the competition.

“It seems like we’ve played each other 100 times over the past five years,” Mahomes said. “It’s a little bit of doing the same stuff and doing different stuff. You want to do what you’re best at, but you want to trick the defense a little bit.

“Same for them. Both sides. So, at the end of the day, you change it up a little bit, you go out there and try to do your best stuff. They know you, you know them. And see who wins that day.”