Editor’s Note: We’re very lucky here at BLD to be part of Fansided, a wide-reaching network with blogs for every NFL team (as well as a huge selection of NBA, NHL, MLB, and other blogs as well). We’d be dumb not to take advantage of these resources, so welcome to our new feature: Behind Enemy Lines. Each week, we’ll be checking in with the staff from the Fansided blog representing the Bills’ opponent for that the week.
This week, we’re checking in with Patrick Allen, the senior editor of Arrowhead Addict, Fansided’s fantastic Kansas City Chiefs blog. A big thank you to Patrick for taking the time to answer some Chiefs questions for us as we get ready for the Bills’ opening-day visit to Kansas City Sunday.
BLD: Obviously, it wasn’t the greatest preseason for the Chiefs with that 0-4 record, ugly looking offense, and unfortunate injuries. Is there real cause for concern in Kansas City or should we just ignore and preseason results?
AA: I am concerned. I could care less about the score of the preseason games but what has me worried are all the mental mistakes. Penalties, fumbles and an overall lack of polished football is enough to worry anyone.
Will the Chiefs be able to snap out of it and get back to business Sunday? Sure, I think so. What we saw was a small sample size. I’ll reserve hitting the panic button until after Sunday’s game.
BLD: The big story headed into this week was Matt Cassel’s rib injury. It seems like he’s going to play – is he going to be anywhere near 100%?
I think he’ll be playing through some discomfort but I think he’ll be ok. Last season he played a week after having his appendix removed. A bruised or cracked rib that has had over a week to heal can’t be too much more painful. Probably less.
Cassel is a tough SOB. He’ll be fine.
BLD: If you haven’t seen the Bills this preseason, the basic idea on offense most of the time is going to be to spread it out wide and throw it quick so Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t get killed thanks to an unproven pair of offensive tackles. How confident should Chiefs fans be that the Kansas City secondary will be able to match up with the Bills’ 4- or 5- receiver sets?
AA: The Chiefs have two really good corners in Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers. Javier Arenas isn’t half bad as a nickel corner. After that things get a little spotty at CB but the starting safties, Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis are also good. The Chiefs should be able to handle the deep stuff. I’d be most concerned about their linebacker play and their ability to defend the middle of the field and the screen pass.
Chan Gailey is a master of getting the most out of his offense. I’m always worried going up against his teams. I think it really depends on how quickly Fitz can get the ball out because Tamba Hali will be coming for him.
BLD: Any other big story lines or matchups to watch for on Sunday?
AA: Watch linebacker Andy Studebaker. He’ll get the start and he is taking over for the departed Mike Vrabel. He has shown promise in the past but he struggled in the preseason. He looked slow and had trouble shedding blocks. Should he falter, you might see rookie Justin Houston and second year LB Cameron Sheffield enter the game. Both played well in the preseason and could swoop in should the Bills start abusing Studebaker’s side of the field.
Also, keep an eye out for Dexter McCluster. He was injured much of last year but he has his wheels back this season. He’ll be coming out of the backfield and will be catching a lot of passes in the flat. He is seriously dangerous with the ball in his hand. The Bills had better keep an eye on him.
BLD: How about a prediction for Sunday?
AA: It is so hard to predict the first game of the season. Up is down. Right is left. There tend to be a lot of upsets in Week One because the teams just don’t know exactly what they will be facing.
The Bills always play the Chiefs tough and Chan Gailey has extra motivation after being fired by Haley and after last year’s OT loss to KC.
If this game was in New York, I’d probably go with the Bills. But I can’t pick against the Chiefs at Arrowhead. I predict another ugly Chiefs, Bills game.
Chiefs 14, Bills 13