The Kansas City Chiefs rolled to a dominating victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round of the 2022 NFL playoffs. After his incredible, five-touchdown game against the Steelers, many would expect quarterback Patrick Mahomes to be the Chiefs X-factor against the Bills. While Mahomes is obviously important to the Chiefs success, he doesn’t quite make the cut as the X-Factor.
So, who is it then? Could it be talented tight end Travis Kelce, who just went over the 100-yard mark and caught a touchdown against Pittsburgh? What about running back Jerick McKinnon, who had over 60 yards rushing and 80 yards receiving in the win over the Steelers.
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Both Kelce and McKinnon will be big parts of the Kansas City gameplan, but neither is quite the X-factor for the 2022 NFL playoff contest with the Bills. The X-Factor is someone who the opposing team might not expect to be the game MVP but who wouldn’t surprise his own team in the slightest
With that said, here is our Chiefs X-factor.
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Chiefs X-Factor vs. Bills in 2022 NFL Playoffs
The Chiefs X-Factor against the Bills isn’t Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce or Jerick McKinnon because Kansas City has another player who is waiting to be unleashed: Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire has had a disappointing sophomore season, as he has battled injuries, specifically a shoulder ailment, which limited him to just 10 games played. The LSU product arrived in Kansas City with fanfare and high expectations but hasn’t quite lived up to them yet, as he has yet to exceed 1,000 yards rushing or 300 receiving yards in a single season in his first two campaigns.
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However, don’t forget what Edwards-Helaire did in his final season at LSU, where he compiled nearly 2000 scrimmage yards and scored 17 touchdowns. He’s a big-time playmaker and the ability is still there. Plus, this is a matchup against the Bills where Edwards-Helaire has had success in the past. Just last regular season, the Chiefs halfback ran for 161 yards in a regular season game against Buffalo, then was held below 10 rushing yards against that same Bills defense in the AFC Championship game last year. Edwards-Helaire, who practiced fully after missing the game against the Steelers, is healthy and likely out to prove that his performance against Buffalo in the playoffs last year was a fluke.
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The Chiefs will need all hands-on deck on offense after seeing what the Bills did to the New England Patriots last week. Plus, if there’s any weakness to this Bills unit, it’s their run defense. Buffalo was annihilated on the ground by Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor earlier this year, while allowing some big performances to other backs. It’s not like the Chiefs to go with a run-heavy approach, though they may need to think outside the box against this Bills team, which looks to be much improved from last year’s unit.
Look for Kansas City to feature a healthy Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the 2022 NFL playoff matchup against the Bills on Sunday. That’s why Edwards-Helaire is the Chiefs X-Factor.