Game Preview: Chiefs at Bills


The Buffalo Bills return to action on Sunday after the bye week when the host the Kansas City Chiefs in a key battle between 5-3 teams that could be competing for a Wildcard Playoff Berth. What will it take for the Bills to get the win on Sunday, improve to 6-3, and remain just 1 game back of the New England Patriots for first place in the AFC East? Let’s take a look.

When the Bills and Chiefs clash on Sunday it will be a game featuring two of the top defenses in the NFL. The Chiefs secondary is one of the best in the league, and for the Bills to have success moving the ball on Sunday it’s imperative that they get the running game going. With CJ Spiller still out with a broken collarbone and Fred Jackson questionable with a ground injury, that could leave the running game in the hands of Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon yet again. If Fred Jackson is able to play, it would be a huge boost for the Bills, even though he likely won’t be 100% healthy. For the Bills sake, hopefully they used the bye week to work with the offensive line because their inability to run block severely hampered the Bills ability to run the ball in the first half of the season.

In the passing game, the Bills could be without top wide receiver Sammy Watkins who is questionable with a groin injury. If Watkins is able to go he likely won’t be 100% either, but having a Sammy Watkins at 80% is much better than having no Sammy Watkins at all. Watkins is listed as questionable but a decision likely won’t be made until a few hours before kickoff. Prior to the bye week Kyle Orton was beginning to feel more comfortable in the passing game, developing chemistry with players like Chris Hogan, Robert Woods, and Scott Chandler. Robert Woods has touchdowns in 2 of the last 3 games and should be fully recovered from his injury suffered during the Jets game. Woods practiced all week and will likely start opposite Sammy Watkins (if he’s able to play) or opposite Hogan if Sammy is out.

On defense it’s yet again the Bills defensive line that will likely decide how the game will play out. The Chiefs feature one of the best running backs in the NFL in Jamal Charles, and they will likely try to establish the running game early and often to help keep the pressure off of Alex Smith. The key with Alex Smith is that the Chiefs prefer to limit his throws and chances for mistakes and turnovers. If the Chiefs have to rely on Alex Smith to try and win the game they will likely find themselves in a scenario where they won’t be successful. While Smith is a capable quarterback, the Chiefs bread and butter is their running game. If you can stop the running game and force Alex Smith to drop back and you can then rush him, you will be in a great position to win the game.

All in all, these are two very evenly matched teams and the game will likely boil down to whoever turns the ball over less, and has a key player make a big play or two. Let’s look at 3 key areas that are imperative to the Bills winning the game:

1) Win the turnover battle. The Bills won their last game against the Jets largely in part due to the fact that the Bills did not turn the ball over and the Jets couldn’t stop turning the ball over. If the Bills don’t turnover the ball they will likely win the game. If the Bills can force Alex Smith into a bad throw or cause him to fumble on a sack, they could put themselves in a position to win the game.

2) Establish the running game. The Bills need to get the running game going on Sunday. This will not only keep their defense fresh and the Chiefs offense off the field, but it will also help open up the passing game. If the Bills can have success running the ball it could lead to a few big plays from Kyle Orton via the play action pass. Hopefully Fred Jackson is able to play, but if not, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are more than capable as well.

3) Score touchdowns, don’t settle for too many field goals. While Dan Carpenter might be the most reliable kicker in the entire NFL, it’s imperative that the Bills cash in on their red zone opportunities tomorrow and get 7 points as opposed to 3. The Chiefs have an excellent defense and you need to take advantage of the chances you get to score touchdowns. It sounds simple, but in the past the Bills have often settled for field goals rather than score the touchdown. On Sunday we need 7’s not 3’s.

This game is a huge game for the Bills in terms of wanting to make the playoffs this year. They have a short turn around after this week when they travel to Miami on Thursday Night and could be 5-5 in a flash if they don’t execute and get the job done. If they do, they can and should be 7-3. By next Thursday Night we could very well know whether or not this is the year the Bills return to the playoffs. That’s why it’s imperative that they get the job done at home Sunday and take care of business. With that being said, I fully expect a fired up Bills team to come out and show the Chiefs that they are for real and get the job done. My prediction is:

Buffalo Bills 24 Kansas City Chiefs 13