Patrick Mahomes Injury Update: Will QB Play Against Bills In AFC Title Game?

Written By Matt Burke on January 17, 2021 - Last Updated on January 22, 2021
Patrick Mahomes injury update concussion return be back Bills AFC

The face of the NFL was injured on Sunday, casting a pall over the Kansas City Chiefs’ 22-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

In the third quarter of Sunday’s AFC Divisional Round game –  Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was hit hard, twisted up, and nearly collapsed after initially getting to his feet following the play. Mahomes was ruled out of the game as he suffered a concussion.

Update: Mahomes said on Friday he has been cleared to play in Sunday’s AFC title game after being in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Chiefs vs. Bills odds

With Mahomes’ status not entirely known at the time, the Chiefs opened as just 2.5-point favorites at home against the Buffalo Bills at FanDuel Sportsbook NJ. It was 3 points at FanDuel and was 3 points at most US sportsbooks Monday. The line was Chiefs -3 at FD on Friday following Mahomes announcement that he was cleared.

At DraftKings, the Chiefs bounced between 3-point and 2.5-point favorites for most of the week. The general feeling for most of the week was that Mahomes would, indeed, play – so the line did not fluctuate as much as was originally anticipated.

With a healthy Mahomes and the Bills still something of an unknown entity, Kansas City was a -5.5 favorite on the road against Buffalo in Week 6. The Chiefs covered in that game with a 26-17 victory.

Will Patrick Mahomes play in the AFC Championship game vs. Bills?

There is a five-step process under current NFL rules regarding the concussion protocol. Those steps include:

  • 1. Rest and recovery
  • 2. Light aerobic activities
  • 3. More aerobic exercise and strength training
  • 4. Football specific activities
  • 5. Full football activity

The league’s concussion protocol will never be challenged like it is about to be this week. Mahomes is the top player of the reigning Super Bowl champions. The Chiefs will do whatever they can to get Mahomes on the field Sunday against the Bills, so far as further tests come back OK. And Mahomes – ever the competitor – will surely push for playing.

The severity of concussions obviously vary, but the typical recovery time for an NFL player who has suffered one is 10 days.

A turnaround of a week will be tough for Mahomes and the Chiefs to pull off. During the NFL regular season, players almost always miss the following week’s game if they suffer a concussion.

Some players even miss multiple weeks, as we saw earlier this season with Tennessee Titans WR Adam Humphries.

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Matt Burke

Matt Burke is the Sports Editor and Head of Evergreen/SEO Content at He is the Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of MetroBet, a digital and print sports betting platform, and was the Executive Sports Editor at Metro US Newspapers (New York, Philadelphia, Boston) from 2014-2020. Matt has covered Super Bowls and Final Fours, and his work has appeared for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, the Eagle Tribune, Gloucester Daily Times and Newburyport Daily News. Matt is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.

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