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Bills at Chiefs: Top Storylines for Sunday Night's Matchup

The quarterbacks will take center stage in what could be a regular playoff clash for a decade.

Even though the winner of Sunday night's playoff clash between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs will need to win one more game to reach the Super Bowl, these teams already are projecting a vibe that these two teams will battle for AFC supremacy for the better part of the next decade.

After all, they have the two best quarterbacks in the conference and both are in a golden era of success with rosters built to sustain.

They met in the conference championship game last year, and the winner of this season's divisional-round matchup will be the betting favorite to go to the Super Bowl, according to sisportsbook.com.

This leads us to the first of our top three storylines for this weekend's matchup.

Quarterbacks have all angles covered

When Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo's Josh Allen are on top of their games, how can they be stopped?

Each defense comes into this game believing it can do enough to keep them from playing at the top of their games. But the fact is that rarely does defense matter when it comes to these unicorns.

Yes, the Bills held Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, in check the last time by dialing down their normally aggressive blitz packages and playing a soft zone. But that certainly did not prove to be a blueprint, or the Chiefs never would have made the playoffs, much less earned the No. 2 seed.

Yes, Allen, the 2020 MVP runner-up, has struggled against similar looks. But the options have always been there, both within the pass and run game, to do damage with the right decisions.

When these quarterbacks struggle, it's almost always on them more than defensive schemes or poor protection or drops by receivers or anything else.

But since their upsides are essentially unlimited, they have a great chance to cross paths every January for years to come.

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Familiarity breeds ... respect

Bills coach Sean McDermott is part of the fertile coaching tree of the Chiefs' Andy Reid. They worked together for 12 seasons in Philadelphia before Reid fired McDermott as defensive coordinator and replaced him with (gulp) offensive line coach Juan Castillo.

Long before McDermott and head coach Ron Rivera helped the Carolina Panthers reach the Super Bowl five years later, Reid likely realized that was a mistake.

But McDermott never held it against Reid. In fact, he often flashes back to his firing as a huge career booster. For that, he remains grateful. Not to mention 12 years of mentoring.

"Having a vision, I guess, is one thing, but Andy had a day-to-day plan of how he wanted to accomplish that," McDermott said. "He was very consistent. And I was very young when I started there, so I kind of grew up around around Andy in that way. And so he just does a great job of leading in that regard."

Besides, Reid helped McDermott land with Rivera in the first place

Last hurrah?

As we pointed out, each team's rosters are built and re-stocked annually with a philosophy to sustain, but the Bills know this almost certainly will be the last chance for their current coaching staff to win a championship before an inevitable but amicable breakup.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier are head-coaching candidates for multiple teams. Both could leave within hours of the team playing its last game.

Then the challenge will be for the staff to sustain as well. That's often harder to achieve than assembling a strong roster every year.

Just in the last decade alone, Super Bowl winners like the Broncos, Giants, and Seahawks and losers like the Falcons, Panthers and 49ers hit hard times after losing some or all of their coaching staffs.

The pipeline has to be kept open and the correct decisions have to be made.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at www.si.com/nfl/bills and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro. Email to Nicky300@aol.com.