Welcome to another football Sunday Buffalo Bills fans, and another episode of what to look for in today’s game. Much like last week, today’s game will be another “measuring stick” game to see how well this team can hang around with the best squads in the league. The Kansas City Chiefs enter Orchard Park today as the league’s only remaining unbeaten team, and the Bills would more or less shock the world today by being the team that dethrones them. This isn’t an improbable task, however it will take each member of the organization going above their perceived ability and “playing above themselves”. To make matters even tougher for Buffalo, they will start the game with undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel, his first start in the NFL against the league’s toughest defense. Right there should a fan understand what to expect today, yet I believe Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will scheme up something around this. Tuel does posses a good number of positive qualities, experience notwithstanding. With this in mind, here is what you can expect in today’s game.
Kansas City will blitz every play. Buffalo has not shown any pass blocking capability whatsoever this year, and instill no fear in opposing Defenses from doing so. Expect the Chiefs to send 5-plus men 90% of their defensive plays. You can take that to the bank. The Chiefs currently lead the league with 36 sacks, and I predict they will add at least another 4 to that total today. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an 8-sack or better performance today. Bills QBs will have to be smart and know when to go down and hang on to the ball. Hopefully Tuel learns from Thad Lewis’s “tuck rule mishap” from last week when going down.
Buffalo should run a West Coast offense for the majority of the game. Countering my first point, if Buffalo is going to have any chance of beating the blitz and subsequently winning the game, they will need to leverage the quick-out, fast-paced theme of Bill Walsh’s brainchild. However, since the NFL is an ever-improving game of human chess, the Chief’s Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton should expect this and play more man and press-coverage. Hackett, Tuel, and the receiving corps will have to rise up to this challenge and pull some tricks out of their proverbial sleeves. Keep in mind: CJ Spiller is near 100% today and is more than capable of catching passes either as a RB or WR, and blitzing leaves receivers uncovered. Let’s hope the Bills practiced hot routes and audibles with blitz-beating slants and outs all week.
Who to look for: CJ Spiller. The “X” factor of today’s game is definitely CJ Spiller. Spiller has had a lackluster season so far, hampered by poor blocking and nagging injuries, and with a week’s rest he should be back to form. The Bills and Buffalo faithful will need him to do so if they are going to have any chance of winning. Don’t think the Chiefs for a second don’t realize this either, and will look to stack the box, ala’ Rex Ryan. It will be a very crowded line of scrimmage today, so expect pitches, swing, and pushing CJ to the edge to try and get around the defense and into the open field.
Ralph Wilson Stadium will be louder today than it has been in years. The “white out” the Bills are going for against the Chiefs will include 80 thousand of Buffalo’s loudest, scariest, and devoted fans in today’s sell out. Bills fans know that today is their team’s literally last chance to make a run if they are planning on playing in the post season. A win today puts Buffalo at 4-5, right in the thick of 2nd place in the AFC East, and with a little help could put them in the 5-6th position in the top-heavy AFC. A loss means 3-6 and a very slight chance of making the playoffs, requiring a run of the tables and a lot of help. A win today would be the biggest in the franchise’s last 10 years, and could catapult this team to greater things.