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Five Things to Watch on Sunday | Bills vs. Chiefs

Here are some notes to know going into the game

The Kansas City Chiefs will aim to get back in the win column this Sunday as they host the Buffalo Bills at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

Here are five things to keep in mind heading into game day.

1. Here's a look at the final injury report for both teams.

The Chiefs will be without tailback Isiah Pacheco (shoulder), linebacker Drue Tranquill (concussion), offensive tackle Donovan Smith (neck) and safety Bryan Cook (ankle) on Sunday due to injury.

In some good news, linebacker Nick Bolton – who hasn't played since Week 7 due to a wrist injury – has no injury designation and appears good to go.

As for the Bills, tight end Dawson Knox (wrist) is listed as "Questionable" as the veteran tight end aims to make his first appearance since Week 7. Knox has 15 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown in seven games this year. Cornerback Kaiir Elam (ankle), who also hasn't played since Week 7, is listed as "Questionable" for the game, too.

2. The Chiefs will aim to get back on track in terms of red zone efficiency.

Kansas City was limited to a season-low seven "true" possessions last week against Green Bay, and while the Chiefs largely moved the ball effectively throughout the game, Kansas City's red zone touchdown efficiency – at just 50 percent – was magnified due to its limited drives.

Red zone success has often been the difference between winning and losing for the Chiefs this season, as they've scored touchdowns in the red zone at a 61 percent clip in their wins while doing so at only a 42 percent rate in their losses. That's a difference of 19 percentage points, and while it might seem obvious that a lower rate of efficiency in the red zone would correlate with a team's losses, the Chiefs' 42 percent mark in their defeats is the seventh-lowest figure in the NFL. Essentially, that means that other teams are losing games for other reasons in spite of being successful in the red zone. Buffalo, for example, is scoring touchdowns at a 77.7 percent rate in the red zone in its six losses this year.

It's all to say that red zone efficiency is one of the keys for Kansas City on Sunday, and for what it's worth, Buffalo owns the league's No. 13 red zone defense at 52.6 percent. The Chiefs have demonstrated that they can be successful in the red zone, going 3-for-4 against Las Vegas as recently as two weeks ago. That area could very well be the difference against Buffalo.

3. Historically speaking, Buffalo has sparingly blitzed Patrick Mahomes.

The Bills have 41 sacks this season – the third-most in the NFL – and they've recorded that lofty number without blitzing much, doing so at the 10th-lowest rate in the league (23.2%). They've historically blitzed Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes at an even lower rate in their five matchups against him, too, tallying just 29 blitzes on a whopping 236 dropbacks.

Here's a look at Buffalo's blitz rate in each of its five matchups against Mahomes, with the 2020 AFC Championship Game existing as the lone outlier:

2020 (Week 6): 2 blitzes on 34 dropbacks (6%)

2020 (AFC Championship Game): 12 blitzes on 39 dropbacks (31%)

2021 (Week 5): 0 blitzes on 63 dropbacks (0%)

2021 (Divisional Round): 6 blitzes on 53 dropbacks (11%)

2022 (Week 6): 9 blitzes on 47 dropbacks (19%)

It remains to be seen what kind of defensive strategy Buffalo will deploy on Sunday, but if history is any indication, it's likely that the Bills will primarily rely on their four-man rush to generate pressure. If that's the case, it's imperative that Kansas City's offensive line – which has allowed the second-fewest sacks in the NFL (17) – renders it ineffective.

4. Turnovers (or the lack thereof) have often been the difference for Buffalo this season.

The Bills are a rather confounding study in that they own a +100 point differential but have only a 6-6 record to show for it. Buffalo is 2-6 in one-score games this year, and in four of those six losses, the Bills either led or tied the score with less than three minutes remaining. It all indicates that Buffalo is a significantly better team than its record may suggest, and turnovers have often been the primarily culprit in those tight defeats.

In fact, Buffalo is 5-1 this season when it turns the ball over fewer than two times. In games where the Bills record multiple giveaways, however, they're 1-5. Specifically, fifteen of the Bills' 20 giveaways this year have taken place in their own territory, with a league-most six giveaways occurring on the first play of a drive.

Additionally, it's worth pointing out that Buffalo has zero red zone turnovers this season. That's in stark contrast to last year, when the Bills led the league in that category. In other words, Buffalo isn't turning the ball over much at all when on the move, but far too often, the Bills' drives have ended before they really got started.

That has been a significant development, because when the Bills protect the ball, they generally find success. Buffalo owns the league's best third-down offense (49.7%) and its second-best red zone offense (67.4%), averaging the fifth-most points-per-game (27.3) of any team.

With all of that in mind, the turnover battle will be of particular importance on Sunday.

5. The Bills have been running the football with success this year.

Buffalo annually features one of the league's top offenses, but this specific group is especially dynamic because of its ability to effectively run the football from the running back position.

Bills' quarterback Josh Allen has always been a dangerous runner, rushing for more than 2,000 yards over the last three seasons, but while he's on pace for a career-low in rushes this year, the duo of tailbacks James Cook and Latavius Murray has been quite effective.

Cook, in particular, ranks 10th in the NFL with 731 rushing yards this year, and as a team, the Bills are tallying at least four yards on a league-most 48.5 percent of rushing attempts. In fact, when Cook rushes for 60+ yards this season, Buffalo is 5-1. When he doesn't hit that mark, the Bills are 1-5.

It all makes for what should be a tremendous matchup on Sunday as two of the league's best teams over the last several seasons clash in Kansas City at 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS.