In Week 14, one of the best rivalries in recent memory gets renewed when the Buffalo Bills travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. However, this year’s meeting has a much different meaning than past battles. The Bills have had the Chiefs’ number in the regular season for the past two years (the playoffs are a different story), and desperately need to find that same juice this week to keep their playoff hopes alive. This game has been billed over the past few years as a potential AFC championship game preview. This time, it’s about two teams struggling to get back on track.

Kansas City enters Week 14, having lost three of their last five games, and that comes on the heels of a six-game winning streak. At 8-4, KC has a firm lead in the AFC West but is fighting to stay in the race for home-field advantage. The Chiefs haven’t looked the same recently, losing games they’d usually win, like their Week 8 loss to Denver, 24-9. Before that, the Chiefs had beaten the Broncos 16 games in a row dating back to 2015. Peyton Manning was still tossing wobbly balls across the yard for Denver. That’s how long it’d been since they’d been able to wrangle KC.

While Kansas City has struggled lately, Week 14 isn’t nearly as crucial for them as it is for Buffalo. At 6-6, the Bills are currently on the outside, hoping to jump back into the postseason picture. They’re tied with Cincinnati and Denver, sitting one game behind Houston (and a half-game behind Pittsburgh) for the final AFC playoff slot.

The Bills have been nothing short of disappointing in a year they came into as many people’s Super Bowl favorites. An alarm should’ve gone off for everyone in Week 1 after the Bills lost to the Jets, minus Aaron Rodgers. He ran four plays before a torn Achilles sidelined him for the year. Despite Buffalo bouncing back from that loss, they’ve been mediocre for the better part of the season. The Bills are 3-5 since Week 5 and even lost to the Patriots in October. Traditionally, losing to New England was nothing to be ashamed of in the Bill Belichick era, but in a year where they’re headed for a top-five draft pick, that loss shows how far Buffalo has fallen.

Although both teams need to get back on the winning side of things, it’s a can’t-lose situation for the Bills. Everything happening around the Bills organization this year makes it seem like drastic changes could be on the horizon. Buffalo already parted ways with former offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey a few weeks back. Then there’s the story about head coach Sean McDermott’s “motivational speech” from 2019 referencing 9/11 terrorists leaking, and now you’ve got a full-on drama.

None of that is what a franchise wants to be the focus of their season. The way this Bills team has played, this locker room may have tuned out McDermott at this point. McDermott’s been there seven years, and with all this talent, they’ve reached one AFC title game, which they lost to Kansas City. After seven years, it might be time for a new philosophy in that locker room. And if the Bills fall to the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, they might as well prepare for winter vacation because it’s a wrap for the postseason. 

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