NFL Week 1: Buffalo Bills (0-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
Venue: Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, Missouri.
Date/Time: Sunday, September 11 – 1 p.m. (Eastern)
Last time out: The Bills ended a 4-12 season by getting beat down 38-7 by the Jets in the 2010 season finale. The Chiefs’ breakout season ended with a thud as Kansas City got hammered 30-7 in the playoffs by the Ravens.
What to watch for (Bills):
– If you missed Buffalo’s Five Key Players this week, check it out.
– Left tackle. Can Demetrius Bell hold off Tamba Hali and the rest of the Kansas City pass rush? If not, this game could get ugly in a hurry.
– Wide receiver. Marcus Easley did not make the trip to Kansas City and will not play. As a result, the Bills will have just four receivers active today. Look for Brad Smith to play some receiver as well as Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller to split out wide on occasion.
– Brad Smith. What role will he play? He’ll be the starting kick returner, but what else will he do?
– The run defense. The Chiefs had the league’s top rushing attack in 2010, while the Bills had the league’s worst run defense. If those roles continue in this game…Buffalo is not winning. New additions Shawne Merriman, Nick Barnett, and Marcell Dareus will be counted on to make a big impact.
– Defensive tackle. Torell Troup will not play, leaving the Bills with just one nose tackle (Kyle Williams). The Bills will likely have to shift Kellen Heard to the nose at times and move Alex Carrington (who had been playing linebacker) back into the defensive line rotation.
– Cornerback. Leodis McKelvin is the nominal starter despite not looking great this preseason, while Drayton Florence is offically the nickelback for now. If McKelvin is getting burned by Dwayne Bowe or Steve Breaston all day, he could get in Chan Gailey’s doghouse very quickly.
What to Watch For (Chiefs):
– The Chiefs had an absolutely brutal preseason, finishing 0-4 and not looking good on offense at all. Will there be any carryover to the real games?
– QB Matt Cassel is banged up, nursing some injured ribs. It’s not clear if he’s still in real pain. It will be interesting to see how he reacts if the Bills manage to get a few hits on him.
– WR Steve Breaston was Kansas City’s major free agent pickup. Can he be a reliable #2 opposite Dwayne Bowe? If Kansas City’s passing attack takes off, this could be a very difficult offense to stop.
– The Chiefs have struggled a bit on the offensive line this preseason, with RT Barry Richardson getting worked over in pass protection frequently. If the Bills can actually generate some pass rush, this could be a long day for the Chiefs offense.
Be sure to follow along with us this afternoon by checking out our quarter-by-quarter reactions and following along with us on Twitter (@BuffLowDown).
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