When the Kansas City Chiefs take the field for a rematch of their Week 6 contest against the Buffalo Bills for the AFC Championship Game, the Bills defense will have a few key pieces that they didn't have the first time around.
In the Chiefs' 26-17 win over Buffalo, the Bills defense was without linebacker Matt Milano. Since returning fully in Week 13, Milano has recorded 24 tackles, five quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said his unit will have their hands full with a much improved Buffalo defensive unit.
“I see a hell of a team that’s improved, for whatever reason," Bieniemy said. "Don’t get me wrong, our guys came out and played some good ball, but I’ve seen a huge difference in their approach and how they’re handling things. Those guys are flying around. I think the world of 58 [Matt Milano], obviously [Tremaine] Edmunds does a hell of a job."
According to Pro Football Focus, Milano has a pass-rushing grade of 78.5, which ranks third among linebackers still remaining in the postseason.
Despite the Bills' recent revitalization on defense, they have still struggled in terms of total defense. In their two wins, the Buffalo defense gave up an average of 406 yards per game but have allowed the fewest points per game.
When it comes to defending the passing game, the Bills have the most average passing yards allowed out of the remaining teams.
Bieniemy said what he noticed the most when watching the Buffalo defense was the secondary's communication and understanding of what's going on.
"The thing I respect is watching that secondary, it’s a veteran group," Bieniemy said. "Those guys do a great job of communicating, they have a great understanding of what Coach Sean McDermott has done, so this is going to be a fun game. And as we know, everything starts up front. They’ve got some horses up front, we’re going to see a lot of line games, and that’s OK. Our guys understand that we’ve got to set the tone, and we’ve got to start it early and often.”