It’s a team game and all that, but who are the five most important players for Buffalo in the coming week’s game? Each week we’ll take a look in a feature called Five Key Players.
DE Marcell Dareus – Yeah, he’s just a rookie, but he’s being counted on to make a big difference in the running game. You best believe that with the injury to Matt Cassel, the Chiefs would love to just pound the ball with Jamaal Charles and attack Buffalo’s unproven run defense. If Dareus holds up his end well, the positive impact on the rest of the defense could be enormous.
OT Demetrius Bell - He’ll probably be here most weeks, because he’s the man that could bring the Bills offense to a halt all by himself if he can’t block anybody. Kansas City OLBs Andy Studebaker and Tamba Hali could have huge days by running right past Bell and killing Ryan Fitzpatrick every other play. And make no mistake, Hali and Studebaker are more than capable of causing big-time damage. They have to be licking their chops right now. However, if Bell could slow down the rush, it could make the difference in the game.
OLB Shawne Merriman – Merriman only logged about 20 plays in this preseason, but he looked phenomenal in his limited work. If he’s truly back and healthy, this is a MASSIVE talent infusion into the beleaguered Buffalo defense. If he can provide some pass rush, this is a totally different unit. I don’t want Matt Cassel injured of course, but if Merriman gives him a few hits early and those ribs start to ache, I wouldn’t be too upset.
WR Stevie Johnson – It’s Johnson’s first time as a true #1 WR, and there’s no doubt secondaries around the league will be ready for him. The Chiefs have a pair of talented starting corners (Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers), and Johnson’s going to have to work for whatever he gets. If he can’t get himself open, it could be a rough day for the Buffalo offense.
And of course…
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - Well Fitz, here’s your big chance. You have exactly ONE chance to prove you’re an NFL starter, and it’s this season. If your protection holds up all, you have enough talent around you to win some games. It’s in your hands.