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

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Tre'Davious White
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Tre'Davious White /

The Buffalo Bills’ Week 12 tilt against the Kansas City Chiefs kicks off at 1:05 p.m. in Kansas City, Mo.

The Buffalo Bills are traveling into Arrowhead with the season on the line Sunday.

Both the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs have struggled as of late, but Buffalo comes in as a 10-point underdog.

With other “in the hunt” teams sporting favorable matchups this weekend, the Bills will have to pull off the road upset to keep pace in the AFC wild-card race.

Tyrod Taylor is back under center. If he can continue his success from Week 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo will have a shot.

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You know the drill, each week during the regular season this column will provide the three ways the Bills can secure a victory. So, without further ado, here are the Three Keys to the Game for the matchup against the Chiefs, which kicks off 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium on CBS.

Shut Down Kareem Hunt

After sporting one of the best rush defenses in the league to start the season, Buffalo has been gashed the last few weeks and has fallen to the bottom third in the league.

Chiefs rookie sensation Kareem Hunt started the season with a bang but has been mostly quiet since his team’s bye. Hunt will have a chance to get back on track unless the Bills can shut him down before he has the chance to get going.

The Bills did do a better job defending the run against the Chargers. Melvin Gordon was held to just 80 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Buffalo needs another performance like that versus the run against the Chiefs. Force Alex Smith to beat you.

Take Away the Deep Ball

If there’s one flaw in Tre’Davious White’s game, it’s his ability to defend the deep ball.

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While the rookie’s 10 pass defensed is tied for tops for cornerbacks, he has allowed a pair of touchdowns and a passer rating of 120.6 against go routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Tyreek Hill’s specialty is go routes, which could create problems for the Buffalo defense.

PFF notes that Hill “is 16th among wide receivers with 14 deep targets this season (targets 20-plus yards downfield), and has only been targeted deep on 21.5 percent of his total targets. He is very effective on crossing routes with a 145.8 passer rating, and go routes with a 132.2 passer rating.”

White vs. Hill could be a pivotal matchup on Sunday.

Take Advantage of Phillip Gaines

For some reason the Chiefs reinserted Phillip Gaines back into their starting lineup last week. Gaines will likely line up as the right corner and will see a good chunk of Zay Jones.

Jones, who has hit his stride lately, will have a favorable matchup in Gaines. The Chiefs corner ranks 117 at his position according to Pro Football Focus.

Jordan Matthews – if he plays – will have an opportunity to make an impact out of the slot. Matthews will see a lot of Steven Nelson, who ranks 75th among quarterbacks.

If the offensive line can by Tyrod Taylor some time, the athletic quarterback will have an opportunity to make some plays.

Prediction: Bills 31-30

This has the potential to turn into a shootout.

Both defenses are on a slide and have weaknesses that can be taken advantage of.

Buffalo needs to make the most out of its opportunities in the red zone. If the Bills can do that, than they have a shot.

Next: Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs: 3 Bold Predictions

Taylor gets an opportunity to silence his haters and Zay Jones has a coming out party.