Back in August when I was looking at the Buffalo Bills’ schedule, I immediately circled Halloween as an easy win for the Bills as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Little did I know that the Chiefs would be the biggest surprised team of the season, playing great football on both sides of the ball.
Well now the time is here, the Bills face the K.C Chiefs this Sunday, and BLD went behind enemy lines and interviewed Patrick Allen of the Kansas City Chiefs blog, Arrowhead Addicts for some input on the upcoming game.
BLD: The Chiefs went from 2-14 in ’08, to 4-12 in ’09 and now have started the season out with a very unexpected record of 4-2. What has been the key difference in this year’s Chiefs team that has changed the losing culture of this franchise?
AA: One word: talent.
The Chiefs were utterly devoid of talent, speed and play makers in 2009. Basically the new regime came in and blew things up. All season long they were turning over the roster looking for players who would stick. They had a certain vision for the kind of player they wanted and they used the 2009 season to find those players.
2009 was about instituting the system and changing the culture of a team that had been content with losing. Many of the Chiefs players were overweight and lazy. Many of their high draft picks were underachieving. It was made clear pretty early on in 2009 that if a player wasn’t willing to do things the way the new regime wanted them done that the player would be doing things for another team.
Once the foundation was laid, Scott Pioli went out and had what is looking like one of the best drafts in Chiefs history. Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Tony Moeaki and Kendrick Lewis have all made significant impacts. Jon Asamoah is a very talented G who would be starting if not for the fact that Brian Waters and Ryan Lilja are playing like pro bowlers. Cameron Sheffield was showing promise int he preseason before landing on IR.
The fact that these rookies are smart, fast football players who could contribute right away is a big reason why the Chiefs are winning. That, combined with guys like Glenn Dorsey, Jamaal Charles, Brandon Flowers and Derrick Johnson all playing to their potential has made the Chiefs a different team. Throw in Thomas Jones, Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis and you are talking about one hell of an offseason.
BLD: It seems that the Chiefs offense relies on the run game more than any other team in the league, and I don’t blame with the success they’ve had with their two backs. But, should Chiefs fans be worried if the Bills put 8 men in the box to stop the run and force QB Matt Cassel to beat them through the air? Cassel has only topped 200 yards passing twice this season, and one of the Buffalo Bills stronger units is their secondary.
AA: Teams have been putting 9 men in the box and they can’t stop the Chiefs rushing attack. When the Chiefs played the Texans, Houston had the 5th best rushing defense in the league. The Chiefs ran for 228 yards on them and averaged 6 yards per carry. This ground game is very hard to stop.
For the Chiefs passing game, it isn’t about Cassel passing for a million yards. This passing game is more about being opertunistic and taking the occasional big shot while protecting the football. Most of the passes are shorter dump off plays to the TE, FB and the RB’s coming out of the backfield.
That being said, if Buffalo can stop the run it will certainly give them their best shot at victory. Unfortunately, the Bills are giving up 174.5 yards per game so I am not sure an extra man in the box will help.
BLD: The Chiefs made it a point to sign veteran wide receiver Chris Chambers in the offseason, but he hasn’t made much of an impact this season, and was even benched last week against Jacksonville. What is going on with Chambers and Coach Haley? Also, what is Chambers status
for Sunday’s game?
AA: Chambers hasn’t been producing much and when a player in KC stops producing they stop playing. Chambers has also been suffering from a finger injury which may have factored in to him sitting out the last two games.
I really can’t tell you whether Chambers will play or not Sunday. The exact reasons for benching have not been released by the team but if I had to guess, I would say he will be out there and I think he will perform well. My guess is that the Chiefs think he needed some motivation and I think Chambers will respond to his benching.
BLD: Who are some young players that are starting to emerge that fans outside of Kansas City may not know about but that the Bills should look out for?
AA: The Chiefs TE, tony Moeaki is coming along very nicely. He is a great pass catcher an dis a pretty good blocker too. Watch out for him.
On defense, watch out for free safety Kendrick Lewis. Lewis was a 5th round pick and while he has never been officially listed as the starter, he has played the most snaps at that position than the John McGraw who is ahead of him on the depth chart. Lewis has a nose for the ball and has broken up a few passes this year and he has recently started playing better in run defense. He has been slowly getting better and I think he is due for a breakout game.
BLD: What is your prediction for Sunday’s outcome?
AA: I like the Bills and I feel the fan bases pain. I also like Chan Gailey and I think if the organization sticks with him he will turn the program around. The Bills are going through what the Chiefs went through last year. Gailey is tearing things down and trying to change the culture of the team. You have to take a step back before you can take a step forward. I think you are already starting to see the results with the recent play of your offense. It may not transfer in to wins this season but I think in the end it will.
That being said, the Chiefs are about a year ahead of the Bills int he rebuilding and I think they will be outmatched Sunday. Arrowhead is a tough place to play and the leagues worst rushing defense trying to stop the leagues best rushing offense ont he road is a bad situation. Could be a scary Halloween for the Bills.
The Chiefs secondary is really young and could make a couple of mistakes that Fitzpatrick will take advantage of. Still, he had better avoid Brandon Flowers or things could get ugly.
Chiefs 31, Bills 17
There you have it, another week, another blog predicting that their team will beat the Bills. Let’s hope this Halloween brings some luck to the Bills and they pull off an upset!