Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs: Three Keys to the Game


At 5-5 and in a tie for the final AFC Wild Card spot with three other teams, the Buffalo Bills are taking on a rising Kansas City Chiefs squad in what could be a win or go home scenario.

With heavy playoff implications on the line, the Bills will need a solid effort in all three phases of the game.

The Chiefs are one of the league’s hottest teams right now, beating Pittsburgh, Detroit, Denver and San Diego by a combined 71 points in the last four weeks, and Buffalo must play a complete game if it plans on playing deep into January.

With a few key players expected out Sunday, it’s the next man up for the Bills in what is a very winnable game.

Here’s this week’s Three Keys to the Game for the matchup with the Chiefs, which kicks off Sunday at 1 p.m. from Arrowhead Stadium:

1) Continue defensive momentum.

If there’s any consolation from Monday night’s loss at the New England Patriots, it’s that the defense played it’s best game of the season.

Tom Brady had his worst game of the season, and while the Bills only registered one sack, they put the Patriots quarterback under constant duress and pressure.

What is just as encouraging is that Buffalo was able to hold New England to just 20 points with Mario Williams playing just 40 of the defensive snaps due to a foot injury he suffered during the game. Williams has already been declared out for Sunday’s matchup against, so Buffalo will need the likes of IK Enemkpali and Alex Carrington to step up once again.

Considering the Chiefs are 30th in sacks allowed, Jerry Hughes and Marcell Dareus could be in for a field day.

Not to mention, Alex Smith is no Brady.

2) Protect Tyrod Taylor.

There’s no denying that Tyrod Taylor has struggled the last two games, but with the constant pressure he’s been under all of the blame can’t be put on him.

Facing the New York Jets and New England Patriots defenses in back-to-back weeks the offensive line has really struggled keeping Taylor upright.

While starting right guard John Miller has already been declared out for Sunday’s matchup, backup Kraig Urbik has had a week to build chemistry with the starting offensive line.

With starting right defensive end Allen Bailey and backup right outside linebacker Dee Ford already declared out, life has gotten a little bit easier for the offensive line.

The Chiefs feature a good pass rush, but it’s not quite like the Patriots’ or the Jets’ units. If the Bills can provide Taylor with some time, he’ll be able to take some deep shots down field and possibly cash in on a couple.

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3) Shimmy! 

There’s a phrase in football called shimmying coaches use to teach the proper way to tackle. Players are supposed to shimmy to help slow themselves down and make a controlled tackle, increasing player safety and effectiveness of the tackle.

And right now, the Buffalo Bills, at times, have forgotten how to tackle. And it’s cost them. Hopefully they’ve been working on their shimmy tackling.

Facing a Chiefs offense that likes to run screens and misdirection plays, tackling is going to be extremely important.

If the Bills can sure up their tackling, they’ll be in good shape against the Chiefs.

Prediction: Bills win 27-17

If the Bills can hold the Patriots to just 20 points, than holding a Chiefs squad could be without both running back Charcandrick West and tight end Travis Kelce to just 17 points is definitely within the realm of possibility. The pressure is going to be on the offense once again, and if the line can give Tyrod Taylor just enough time to take a couple chances down field the Bills should be in good shape.