Next weekend, with or without the Kansas City Chiefs, an AFC Championship Game will be played.
By the time your head hits the pillow tonight, assuming you watch the AFC Divisional Round game between the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium, you’ll know whether Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Kansas City franchise will be a part of the game that sends a team to the Super Bowl.
If the Chiefs make it, this will be the fourth straight year they’ve played in the AFC title game. But tonight’s game, Chiefs vs. the potent Bills, could be the game of the year not only for the Chiefs, but across the NFL. Both of these teams can score and neither is a stranger to sky-high stakes.
There are worse ways to kick off the week, yeah?
Chiefs vs. Bills: The Rematch
The Chiefs must solve the Bills tonight before they dare think about being one step from the Super Bowl, which this year is taking place not in Florida, as it has for the past two (with the Chiefs participants on both occasions), but at the new SoFi Stadium in L.A.
If you’re the Chiefs, these Bills are perhaps the scariest foe among the NFL’s final eight. Buffalo beat a shorthanded Chiefs squad by a bunch at Arrowhead in Week 5 and last weekend dispatched the New England Patriots 47-17. Josh Allen is a stud, Stefon Diggs is a threat and the Bills’ defense is no joke.
Of course, this is Patrick Mahomes SZN (that’s how the kids shorthand “season” nowadays), so we’d never bet against the Chiefs tonight. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Hyped for hoops
The theme of revenge is not limited to the Chiefs this week. The Kansas Jayhawks, too, can avenge a previous loss.
KU plays host to the 18th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders, to whom they recently lost in Lubbock, in an 8 p.m. Big Monday showdown. The stakes remain high in Lawrence on Saturday when the Jayhawks welcome in 12th-ranked Kentucky for a 5 p.m. tip.
Kansas State hits the road for both of its games this week — Tuesday at fifth-ranked Baylor (7 p.m.) and Saturday at Ole Miss (3 p.m.).
In the SEC, Mizzou, a recent winner over Ole Miss, plays host to No. 2-ranked Auburn at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and visits No. 15 Iowa State at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Soccer spring training
Major League Baseball remains in labor purgatory, but soccer saves us from sports oblivion with the start of its own spring training.
Sporting KC escaped the Midwest chill last week, venturing to Arizona to prep for another MLS season. The club is playing six exhibition matches in the friendlier climes of the Grand Canyon state (plus a scrimmage last Friday against the USMNT). This is SKC’s 13th preseason in Arizona.
On Saturday, Sporting competes in the Desert Showcase against fellow MLS combatant Colorado at Kino North Stadium in Tucson. Friendlies to come pit Sporting against the Portland Timbers Feb. 3; El Paso Locomotive FC Feb. 9; and Phoenix Rising FC Feb. 12.
Sporting’s last exhibition will be against Toronto FC on Feb. 19 at Austin.