Until last season the Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t one a regular season game in Buffalo since Todd Blackledge was the teams starting quarterback. A year ago, about this time, Kansas City road a pair of defensive touchdowns by Cornerback, Sean Smith and Linebacker, Tamba Hali to defeat the Bills, 23-13.
On that day, the Chiefs offense was horrible but the defense, much as it did during their 9-0 start in 2013, saved the day. This time around the offense and defense are playing their best football of the season simultaneously.
Since their 0-2 start to open the season the Kansas City Chiefs have won five of six games and sit just one game back of the Denver Broncos for the AFC West lead. However, that’s secondary to the task at hand on Sunday. The Chiefs can’t afford any hiccups against a Bills team that has a stellar defense and a solid quarterback in veteran, Kyle Orton.
The clash on Sunday of former AFL foes provides a litmus test for both teams and how they might fair in their attempts to make the playoffs. The Bills are battling the surging New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins for supremacy in the AFC East. The Chiefs, should the season end today, would be a wild card entry for the second year in a row.
That’s what makes this game so critical for both teams. Kansas City has won three in a row and has found a recipe for winning games that gives them the opportunity to play meaningful football into January.
On the flip side, Orton and the Bills stout defense, has provided the same winning formula for Buffalo. Though they certainly have some health issues heading into this game offensively – it doesn’t mean they can’t score enough points to defeat the Chiefs.
As of Friday afternoon, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Running Back, Fred Jackson, were both battling injuries that could put them on the sidelines on Sunday. Of course losing both, might be devastating to their offense, still the Bills defense has the chops to pitch a shutout against KC’s offense.
That means Kansas City Chiefs can’t afford to get too fancy or get outside of their comfort zone in Buffalo. Head Coach, Andy Reid, has done a terrific job setting up the format for victory each week. He’s changed enough of his offensive play calling in each game over the last month, that opposing defenses are finding it difficult to match up with KC’s offensive playmakers.
Atop the tree of success in KC’s revival Quarterback, Alex Smith, has done a terrific job setting the table for the offense. Even though the Chiefs ground game isn’t clicking at a peak level just yet, nor has a wide receiver been able to snag a touchdown pass, Smith has managed the game, avoided turnovers and become one of the best red zone quarterbacks in the NFL.
Still it is Buffalo and for some reason the Chiefs generally fall flat in their road trips to any AFC East city in the state of New York. However, if you want a silver lining, the Chiefs don’t generally win in the state of Florida either, but they whooped up on the Miami Dolphins on their turf in week three.
The Bills are coming off their bye week, and despite some key injuries, they should be well rested and seen enough tape on the Chiefs to come up with a solid game plan to attack Kansas City on both sides of the ball.
In the end, this game boils down to the Chiefs ability offensively to run through the Bills front seven. On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs defense must throttle Orton and company when they have the ball regardless of which playmakers the Chiefs former quarterback has at his disposal for Buffalo.
These two teams are evenly matched so don’t expect a blowout. Defense should be the steady diet on Sunday until late in the game when a defining moment offensively or on special teams – will probably determine who gets the leg up in the chase for an AFC Wild Card spot this January.