Chiefs-Bills prediction: Vibes are against KC, but should that affect Buffalo pick?

The Details

Kickoff: 3:25 p.m. Central on Sunday

Where: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

TV: CBS (Channel 5 in Kansas City)

Radio: WDAF (106.5 FM in Kansas City)

Line: Chiefs by 1.

Jesse Newell’s prediction

The vibes all seem to be going against the Chiefs at the moment.

They’ve lost three of five. They have a multitude of injuries, including their starting running back and one of their safeties.

The defense is coming off its worst game of the year. The offense still isn’t quite what it was a year ago while struggling in the late-game situations where it’s previously thrived with Patrick Mahomes.

And all that makes it a bad week to face the Buffalo Bills. Yeah, the Bills are 6-6, but nearly every advanced measure would tell us that they’re better than that record indicates.

The Bills have been bad at the fluky stuff (think turnovers, close games) and good at most everything else. Case in point: The Bills have outscored their opponents by 101 points this season — a total that is better than every AFC team besides Miami and Baltimore.

Vegas oddsmakers don’t seem particularly worried about Buffalo’s weird stuff repeating either. The Chiefs sit as just a single-point favorite against the Bills (after opening minus-three), and considering home field is worth about a point and a half, we can deduce KC would likely be a slight underdog if this one were being played on a neutral field.

It makes logical sense. Look at Pro Football Focus’ 13 main charting categories, and the Bills are ahead of the Chiefs in 11 of them. KC has the edge in defensive tackling and special teams, but outside that, it’s not unreasonable to think Buffalo is at least equal to its foe in this particular matchup.

So now I’ve just told you all that, I’m going to share that I like the Chiefs to win.

The reason? KC’s quarterback.

Mahomes didn’t play well last week against the Packers, and afterward was quick to accept responsibility for his failures in the loss.

And while the Chiefs still look the part of a darned-good-even-if-not-NFL-best-type offense thus far (they still rank fourth offensively in the all-encompassing DVOA statistic), that still seems like it’s not what the team could be when KC’s QB plays up to his own standards.

I think Mahomes will be ready for this one. The Bills are beaten up defensively, and their pass defense has some holes, especially when it comes to defending secondary receiving options.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen is a great player too. And Buffalo’s run game is better than years past, which could have an impact here with the Chiefs’ defense struggling to slow opponents’ ground attacks lately.

Mahomes is too good to have this sort of mini-slump for him continue, though. The weather forecast calls for some wind, but not enough to affect a Chiefs passing game that should have every opportunity to be better than it’s shown over the last month.

Give me the Chiefs for both the win and cover. And even if it’s tougher to see after last week’s result, I see the main talking point after Sunday afternoon’s game being the Chiefs (and their quarterback) finding their old form offensively.

Chiefs 27, Bills 24

Jesse’s pick to cover spread: Kansas City

Last game prediction: Chiefs 24, Packers 13 (Actual: Packers 27-19)

2023 record vs. spread: 8-4

Last two seasons record vs. spread: 20-12