Insight from the Real Experts: KC vs. Buffalo

It is time again for our weekly conversation with the real experts of the Chiefs upcoming opponent, the fan who follows the team day in and day out. This week the Chiefs try to ride the momentum of their dramatic last second victory over the Raiders by traveling to Buffalo to take on the Buffalo Bills.

The Chiefs also try to overcome loss of running back Priest Holmes for the season. The Bills are 3-5 this year but are 3-1 at home. The Chiefs are 5-3 and 2-2 on the road. While the Chiefs were battling the Raiders last week the Bills were home resting and mending during their bye week. Both teams sit one game behind their respective division leaders so this game is equally important to both.

This week we visit with 5 fans of the Buffalo Bills. Our panel consists of the following:
• Larry Miller, 23 year-old Student/Bartender, from Frederick, Maryland; a Bills fan since 1993, Bills/Oilers comeback game.
• Tom Bieber, 27 year-old IBM Accounts Payable Department employee, from Endicott, New York, a Bills fan for 20 years.
• Bill Zachowicz, Ph.D., 27 year-old post-doctoral fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin, from Milwaukee, WI - native of Buffalo, New York, a Bills fan for 27 years.
• John Grange, 21 year-old student, from Bellevue, Nebraska, a Bills fan his entire recallable life.
• Ed Wyviorka, 33 year-old contractor, from Ashburn, Virginia, a Bills fan for 28 years.

Our panel of Bills fans believes that this game will be a battle of ground games. They believe their talented running back, Willis McGahee, will open up down field passing opportunities and be too much for the Chiefs defense to contain. McGahee is having a very good season rushing for 790 yards through eight games. He is on pace for a 1600 yard season. However, they also feel that their rush defense will struggle trying to contain Larry Johnson and the Chiefs rushing attack.

Question: What aspect of the Bills attack do the Chiefs not have an answer for?

Answer: "First and foremost, stopping Willis McGahee. Our running game has been pretty good as of late. Our offensive line does generate a decent running attack. Last week against the Patriots Jason Peters was inserted into the right tackle slot. This was his first chance at that position and looked great playing there. If the Bills line can win the line of scrimmage against the Chiefs, it will only help us in the passing game." – Tom Bieber

"Despite the Chiefs improvement in run defense, Willis McGahee should still have a big day against them. Buffalo has begun to attempt to stretch the field a little more and the last few games Willis has been getting more 8-10 yard gains. If the Chiefs can hold Willis to 20-25 carries and 75-80 yards it could be a long day for the Bills but the way McGahee has been running, he's been getting to the holes and hitting them hard, he could carry the ball 30 times and get 120-140 yards. " – Larry Miller

"Well this is tough because we have not played up to our potential this season. I do think that it will be hard for the Chiefs defense to come up with a definitive answer for Willis McGahee. He runs so hard at home and our offensive line excels there as well. If McGahee can get off and some way some how Kelly Holcomb could put together a good game then we could have a chance." – John Grange

Question: Finish this sentence...."The Bills will definitely win this game if...."

Answer: "…Holcombe goes deep (over 20 yards) at least 5 times and completes at least 2. Reason being is that this means the Bills have been able to establish a running game with Willis and Shaud. If that is the case, it means that the Bills are finding themselves in 2 and 4 or 3rd and 2 type situations which will allow them to be a little less predictable." – Ed Wyviorka

"…the offensive line can protect the QB and establish the running game early and often & get the ball down field to the play makers Eric Moulds & Lee Evans.." – Tom Bieber

Analysis: This appears to be a match up of strength versus strength. The Bills strength on offense is their running game and the Chiefs strength has been their rush defense. Once again the key will be the line of scrimmage. The Bills have been tinkering with their offensive line during the bye week and have moved right tackle Mike Williams to left guard and have placed second year player Jason Peters into the starting lineup at right tackle.

Offensive line play is all about communication and moving together. The Chiefs need to attack the line of scrimmage and take advantage of the Bills lack of familiarity with each other. The Bills have struggled in pass blocking. The Chiefs need to exploit that with blitzing and stunts. Containing McGahee will not be easy. However, the Chiefs have not allowed a player to rush for 100 yards in 19 straight games.

Question: What concern do you as a Bills ' fan have as you look at the Chiefs?

Answer: "There is really only one concern I have when looking at the Chiefs: their ability to run the ball, with or without Priest Holmes. Larry Johnson is a high quality back and the Chiefs have an O-line that seems built to run block. This, of course, is a major problem for a Bills D that has had MAJOR headaches in stopping the run all season. In the last 2 games alone (vs. OAK and NE), the Bills run D has surrendered 6 rushing TDs. So, KC's ability to run could pose a major threat to the Bills." – Bill Zachowicz

"Without hesitation I can say, the RUNNNING GAME. Running backs have been mailing in 100-yard games against us this year. The ageless Curtis Martin had something like 148 yards, every other game this season he has been nothing short of geriatric. Larry Johnson is the real deal as well and he is a star. Lamont Jordan isn't as good as Larry Johnson and Jordan had a stat game against us with 3 touchdowns.." – John Grange

"LARRY JOHNSON!!! Our run defense has been pathetic. The Bills run a gap style defense similar to what was implemented by Gregg Williams when he went to Washington, but the players this year have been extremely undisciplined. My theory is that guys are trying way too hard to overcompensate for the loss of Fat Pat and Takeo which in turn has left them so far out of position that they are unable to recover. The only way that the Bills have had any and I mean any success in limiting another teams running game has been by controlling the clock on our offensive side of the ball." - Ed Wyviorka

"Run Defense. I don't know where to start. After Ron Edwards went down for the season with a shoulder injury teams have run at will against us. Our DT positions are very weak at this moment. Our rock now at DT position is Sam Adams. He's constantly getting double teamed, and being taken out of the defensive picture every game, there fore the other guys on the defensive line must step up and they have not! Tim Anderson our other DT is a waste of a Bills uniform....get blown off the ball about 90% of the time, and has done nothing but take up space on the field. Our best option at this time for DT is Justin Bannan who in my mind played fairly well against a tough Patriots line. I think Bannan & Adams give the Bills 2 solid men in the middle. If Anderson starts and plays most of the game, your offense will have at least 125 yards on the ground! - Tom Bieber

"As a Bills fan I am concerned about the Chiefs running the ball against the Bills. I'm not completely sure but I believe I saw Holmes will be out this game, which actually scares me a little more. Johnson is the better runner at this point in their careers. The Bills have missed both Takeo Spikes and Pat Williams on the run side of the defense and its shown. Larry Johnson(not that he has taken the diaper off) will probably make me sick to my stomach this weekend." – Larry Miller

Analysis: In contrast to the Bills running game against the Chiefs rush defense, this appears to be a match up of strength versus weakness. The loss of Holmes for the season will be set back because of his leadership and prowess at the goal line. However, Larry Johnson has proven to be an explosive running back that runs with power and has breakaway speed. It appears the Bills are vulnerable to a downhill running attack and that is where LJ excels. That means running inside the tackles where the Chiefs have two probowl guards (Will Shields and Brian Waters). Running the ball early and play action passing downfield is a logical expectation from the Chiefs this Sunday.

Conclusion: This week is one in which Vermeil and his staff must do some really strong coaching and the veteran leaders must help the team stay grounded. The dramatic come from behind victory over the Raiders put this team on a real high. They need to come down from that and prepare for another playoff intensity game. Every week is a playoff game and the Chiefs must be prepared for it. They must also deal with the low of losing Holmes for the season. He's been a fixture in this offense, but this is not new territory for them.

They didn't have Holmes for the last half of last season either. The Chiefs will be without Willie Roaf again so this is another chance for Jordan Black to grow as a left tackle. The good news is that the Chiefs should get Patrick Surtain and Dexter McCleon back. This would mark the first game this season that the Chiefs would have their entire cornerback corps on the field.

If the Chiefs are to overcome the odds and make the playoffs this year, they will need to win games on the road against other playoff contenders. They get a chance to do that this week.

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