coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
On 10/28/2013 04:54 PM in NFL

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills: Preview and Pick

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills: Preview and Pick

The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the best teams in the National Football League and they have yet to lose once this season. That could change when they go up north to take on the Buffalo Bills this week in the NFL. Buffalo lost a blowout game against the New Orleans Saints but they play hard and have some talent on both sides of the ball.

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills Odds

The NFL opening point spread for this game started with the undefeated Chiefs as (-3.5) point favorites in this outing. The early betting public placed their money down on the Chiefs at a 69 percent clip as they believe they will remain undefeated against the Bills. Despite the steady flow of cash on the Chiefs the line has actually dropped and can be found at (-3) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Chiefs won a game despite being sacked 6 times for the first time since 1986 at the Chargers against the Cleveland Browns. They did this by running the ball well. Jamaal Charles had 74 rushing yards and 46 receiving yards Sunday, accounting for 120 of the Chiefs' 331 yards from scrimmage (36.3 percent). Charles has accounted for 38.5 percent of the Chiefs' yards from scrimmage this season, the highest percentage for any running back in the league. The Chiefs rushed for a season-high 4.7 yards per carry Sunday and had 101 of their 136 rushing yards before initial contact. The Browns entered Sunday allowing 3.5 yards per rush this season, fourth fewest in the league. This could be bad news for the Buffalo Bills although they have a respectable defense.
Thad Lewis was sacked four times, lost two fumbles and appeared shaken up at times. Still, he stayed in the game, finishing with 234 yards passing and one touchdown. He will need to have a good outing to beat the Chiefs in this big game.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveals that this could be a tough spot foir the Chiefs to keep their winning streak alive. The total has gone over in 4 of Kansas City's last 6 games when playing on the road against Buffalo and the total has gone over in 6 of Buffalo's last 7 games. Kansas City is 0-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Buffalo and Kansas City is 3-6 straight up in its last 9 games on the road.

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
10/29/2013 03:02 PM

They've gone from worst to first. Kansas City, laughingstock of 2012, is the sole undefeated remaining in 2013. But are the Chiefs for real?

There is a lot to like. Kansas City leads the league in defense against points, allowing just 12.3 per game -- better than last season's leader, Seattle, which allowed 15.3 per game. The Chiefs are a league-best plus-12 for turnovers, and are first in sacks. Stretching back to his time in San Francisco, quarterback Alex Smith hasn't lost a game as the starter in more than a year. There is athletic talent aplenty, including five Chiefs elected to the 2012 Pro Bowl (and a sixth added later), and Eric Fisher, the No. 1 choice of the 2013 draft.

By winning six more games than the previous season, Kansas City is already in the annals of turnarounds of teams that finished 1-15 or 2-14. The 1980 Lions won seven more games than the 1979 Lions; the 1992 Colts and 1997 Jets won eight more games than their prior years; the 2012 Colts won nine more, and the 2008 Dolphins stand as best with 10 more victories than their prior year. These are full-season results: the Chiefs have six more victories after a half-season. They are sure to keep climbing.

But -- and you've already guessed a "but" was coming.

The offensive line has allowed 24 sacks, close to the league-worst 32 allowed by Miami. Smith has a pedestrian 82.1 quarterback rating, lower than Jake Locker or the benched Michel Vick. Three times in the last two games, Smith has badly missed receivers open in the end zone. For yards gained per game, the Chiefs are 16th -- OK, but nothing to boast about.

The big concern is that Kansas City has played a soft schedule. The Chiefs have not defeated any team that currently has a winning record: their opponents so far are a combined 20-41. Of course those numbers include losses to the Chiefs. But factor out the Chiefs, and Kansas City opponents are a combined 20-33. Kansas City victories have been posted against Jacksonville, Dallas, Philadelphia, Jersey/A, Houston, Oakland, Cleveland -- all among the league's problem children.

On Sunday, the Chiefs struggled to edge out the lower-echelon Browns, who were playing their third-string quarterback. There's nothing like a signature win on Kansas City's card so far.

For one more week, the schedule is kind to Kansas City. The Chiefs meet lower-echelon Buffalo, led by a practice-squad guy at quarterback. After that it's four of the final seven on the road with five total games versus Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis, current combined record 16-6. The Chiefs go home-and-home versus the Broncos twice in three weeks. After then, we will know whether Kansas City is for real -- or is the Baylor of the NFL.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
10/29/2013 03:04 PM

The Buffalo Bills are hardly the most talented team in the NFL. The Bills are also far from the deepest teams in the league, but they sure fight hard.

That’s been the Bills’ best attribute of the 2013 season and first-year head coach Doug Marrone deserves plenty of credit for that. Marrone’s Bills have been ravaged with injuries, making an already thin roster that much thinner. The Bills have made up for that by fighting to the last second.

One of Chan Gailey’s biggest downfalls as Bills head coach came when the 2012 team got blown out too many times and games against good teams got out of hand quickly. Under Gailey, the Bills had pitiful showings at San Francisco and Dallas where the team looked overmatched from the start and appeared to quit. The final straw for Gailey probably came in Toronto last season when the Seattle Seahawks embarrassed the Bills to the tune of a 50-17 rout.

On Sunday, the Bills could have been blown out and folded the tent following Thad Lewis’ fumble on the first play from scrimmage. It set a bad tone when Marrone skirted his usual philosophy of deferring to the second half when he chose to take the ball first and make an early statement.

Instead, the Bills gave the ball right back to the Saints’ high-powered offense inside the 30. The Bills’ defense held and the Saints missed a field goal and survived the first body blow. The Bills never really found an offensive rhythm all game long in New Orleans, but somehow led 10-7 in the middle of the second quarter.

New Orleans, specifically Drew Brees, eventually got on a roll that the Bills could not stop and built a 35-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Still, the Bills never folded in a game that easily could have turned into 49-10 or worse. Perhaps the 2011 or 2012 Bills would have allowed that to happen, but now Marrone’s Bills. A 35-17 loss is nothing to be proud of, nor is their 3-5 record, but there is plenty to like about the 2013 Buffalo Bills.

Lewis has come off the practice squad and played admirably, doing the best he can with his average talent. Fred Jackson sometimes looks like he can barely walk, but he never gives in to a tackler and his legs won’t stop moving.

Although C.J. Spiller sat out on Sunday, it was grudgingly and he has followed Jackson’s lead to keep one of the league’s top rushing attacks effective despite injuries.

These Bills may finish 6-10 again, just like the 2011 and 2012 teams, but it should feel different because they are not getting blown out. The Bills have had a legitimate shot to win every game except for Sunday’s in New Orleans.

Now, the Bills need to figure out how to close out games, especially on the road. There is something to be said for fighting and hanging tough but the Bills still need to start winning games.

Marrone was fired up during his Monday press conference as questions about the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs began. The Bills have called for a “white out” at Sunday’s game at Ralph Wilson Stadium and should be expected to give themselves a chance to knock off the unbeaten Chiefs.

There has been important progress by the Bills this season and evidence suggest there is more on the way.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
10/30/2013 11:43 AM

Coming off a lopsided loss to New Orleans, coach Doug Marrone and the Buffalo Bills are fired up to kick off the second half of their season by hosting unbeaten Kansas City.

“I’m ready to go,” said an animated Marrone during Monday’s news conference. “I don’t want to miscommunicate that I’m disappointed in our record. I’m disappointed. We’re all disappointed. But there are things that I’m also excited about with this team. I’m excited to go into the second half of the season.”

Resilience has been a buzz word around Buffalo (3-5). Losers of three of their last four, the young Bills will have their resolve tested by the Chiefs.

“Guys are still confident,” said running back Fred Jackson. “We’ve got a good opponent coming in this weekend that gives us an opportunity to go out and win against a team that’s 8-0, give them the first loss of the season and try and build on that.”

Buffalo has dealt with a barrage of injuries to skill positions. Already missing quarterback EJ Manuel (knee) and running back C.J. Spiller (ankle), the Bills now are monitoring receivers Stevie Johnson and Marquise Goodwin after injuries in Sunday’s game.

Marrone said X-rays on Goodwin’s left elbow came back negative and that both receivers would be limited when the Bills return to practice Wednesday. Johnson’s hip flexor is a little less certain, but the receiver is optimistic.

“Right now, I feel it a lot, but as the week goes on with treatment, I should be good and ready to go on Sunday,” said Johnson, who didn’t know if he’d need an MRI.

The Bills coach also said the team will be “ramping up” Manuel this week in an effort to get him back on the practice field. The rookie continues to recuperate from a right knee injury suffered against Cleveland in Week 5.

In the case of Spiller, Marrone said they’d be working him out Monday and Tuesday. Jackson and quarterback Thad Lewis are also playing hurt. Injured linebacker Manny Lawson nearly played Sunday, according to Marrone, and they’re hopeful he’ll be ready for Kansas City.

Johnson said the Bills acknowledge their injury troubles, but aren’t focusing on them.

“It can happen to any team,” Johnson said. “It probably is happening to every other team, but we’re talking about it now and we’ve got to just get over it. There’s nothing we can really control. We’re out there and playing football and this is what happens when you play in this league.”

Johnson said the improving Bills are geared up for any week, but especially excited to take on a Chiefs team that became the first team in NFL history to start a season 8-0 after holding the league’s worst record the previous season.

“A team could be winless and we want to get a win, especially at home in front of the fans or after a loss, so we’re excited for this challenge,” Johnson said. “With them being undefeated, that’s even better.”

Marrone said his excitement comes from his experience. The first-year Bills head coach feels his team is reaching a tipping point.

“I’m excited because I know,” Marrone said. “I’ve been through this before. We keep going the way we’re going, it’s going to start falling our way and we’re going to start winning football games. If we go the other way, there’s no chance you can win. None. Zero. None.”

Meanwhile, safety Jairus Byrd’s status is in question as the National Football League trade deadline approaches at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Pro Bowl player was franchise-tagged and conducted a lengthy holdout, not reporting to camp until Aug. 20.

“I haven’t really given too much thought,” Byrd said. “I’m focusing on winning games here, and if something happens, it happens. Right now my focus is with my teammates here and just trying to win games.”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
10/31/2013 02:57 PM

As the Kansas City Chiefs keep their strong start in perspective, the Buffalo Bills hope to turn things around by knocking off the NFL's only undefeated team.

The visiting Chiefs look go 9-0 for the first time in 10 years Sunday when they try to end their recent struggles against the Bills, who may not have their starting quarterback on the field.

The first team in league history to start 8-0 after owning the worst record the previous season - 2-14 - Kansas City hasn't won its first nine games since 2003. That year, it matched the franchise record of 13 wins before losing 38-31 to Indianapolis in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Though confident, this year's team won't read too much into its place in history.

"We've always been humble," safety Eric Berry said. "We're going to keep working because we know how hard these wins are to come by. We don't take these for granted."

Since the league expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978, 15 teams have won their first eight games. Nine made the Super Bowl and eight won. These Chiefs, however, would rather focus on the present and let the future take care of itself.

"We love what's going on around here as far as winning," linebacker Tamba Hali said. "None of us have been in this position where this team is 8-0. To keep winning, to go 1-0 every week, I think we have a sense of urgency to keep getting wins."

Kansas City has won largely because of a defense that allows a league-low 12.3 points per game and has recorded an NFL-high 36 sacks - nine more than Buffalo (3-5), which is second. The 98 points the Chiefs have yielded are the second fewest in team history through the first half of a non-strike affected season since the league went to 16 games in 1978.

Kansas City matched its season high for points allowed in a 23-17 victory over Cleveland last Sunday. It was Kansas City's third game and second in as many weeks to be decided six or fewer points.

"We're not trying to be the beauty queens. A win is a win," receiver Dexter McCluster said. "We know we're going to have to fight. This is the NFL."

The Chiefs expect to be seriously challenged by a Bills team that's won five of the last six meetings and both in the last two seasons by a combined 76-24. Buffalo, though, has dropped three of four and is dealing with a host of injuries as it tries to continue that dominance in the series.

One of the biggest injury issues is Thad Lewis' sore ribs, which could keep the QB on the sideline. Coach Doug Marrone says Lewis is "50-50" to play Sunday.

He was injured on the first play from scrimmage last week. Rookie Jeff Tuel and free-agent addition Matt Flynn split the first-team reps Wednesday.

Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel (knee) remains out and running back C.J. Spiller (ankle) could miss a second straight game. Receiver Stevie Johnson is dealing with a hip flexor but is hopeful he can go Sunday.

Running back Fred Jackson is dealing with a nagging injury but expects to play.

"(Injuries) can happen to any team," Johnson said.

''It probably is happening to every other team, but we're talking about it now and we've got to just get over it. There's nothing we can really control. We're out there and playing football and this is what happens when you play in this league."

Johnson had seven receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 35-17 loss at New Orleans, and he's scored a TD in three straight against the Chiefs.

Despite the health issues and a defense that ranks 25th with 26.6 points per allowed game, the Bills are excited to get their crack at the team with the best record in the NFL.

"Guys are still confident," said Jackson, who has rushed for 331 yards and averaged 4.8 per carry in four games against Kansas City. "We've got a good opponent coming in this weekend that gives us an opportunity to go out and win against a team that's 8-0, give them the first loss of the season and try and build on that."

The Chiefs' Jamaal Charles ran for 376 yards and averaged 7.2 per carry in his previous three games against the Bills before being held to three yards on six attempts during a 35-17 loss at Buffalo last Sept. 16.

Charles, who averages a league-high 127.3 yards from scrimmage and is second with 635 rushing yards, expects to play despite leaving briefly last week to be treated for a bruised knee.

''It's a long season and I'll get banged up every week," he said.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
11/01/2013 03:27 PM

It appears that C.J. Spiller is on track to play this week.

The Buffalo Bills running back, who has been battling an ankle injury, practiced Wednesday and Thursday for the first time in two weeks, on a limited basis. Spiller missed last week's game against the New Orleans Saints.

Bills coach Doug Marrone said both Spiller and linebacker Manny Lawson "should be good to go" Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, per the team's official Twitter account.

The injury has limited Spiller this season. We haven't seen his spry cuts, and the Bills have struggled to get him in space.

Spiller wanted to play last week, but rest was needed to get him back as healthy as possible for the stretch run. The Bills hope one week was enough.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
11/01/2013 03:33 PM

Uneasy is the head that wears the undefeated crown.

Though they're the NFL's last team without a loss, the Kansas City Chiefs have endured more than an unbeaten team's share of doubt amid their best season- starting run in a decade.

In fact, a good deal of expert analysis about the Chiefs concedes the fact that they haven't lost a game yet, but follows up with a contention that their opposition has been less than elite.

That won't change this week when they visit the 3-5 Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon, but don't expect wide receiver Dexter McCluster to lose a lot of sleep about it.

"We're not trying to be the beauty queens. A win is a win," he said, after catching seven balls for 67 yards and a touchdown in a six-point defeat of the three-win Cleveland Browns last week. "We know we're going to have to fight. This is the NFL."

In the Bills, the resistance may be dictated as much by health as talent.

Buffalo has won five of its last six games with the Chiefs and routed them, 35-17, in Kansas City last season, but the hosts enter Week 9 this year with a plethora of injuries, including yet another to the latest in a series of starting quarterbacks.

Practice squad reclamation project Thaddeus Lewis was dinged up in last week's loss to New Orleans and was held out of Wednesday's practice with sore ribs while understudies Jeff Tuel and Matt Flynn shared the first-team reps.

Coach Doug Marrone labeled Lewis as "50-50" for Sunday, which, if he's unable to go, means either Tuel or Flynn would become the third QB to start a game this season. Rookie E.J. Manuel is likely out for a few more weeks after injuring a knee in Week 6 at Cleveland, and Lewis was plucked from his deep reserve status after Tuel failed to impress in the final stages of that 37-24 loss.

Lewis was 1-2 in his initial three starts with the Bills, losing to Cincinnati in overtime and beating Miami before an 18-point defeat at New Orleans last week in which he completed 22-of-39 passes for 234 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Also at less than full health are running back C.J. Spiller, questionable with an ankle injury after missing last week; and wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who's questionable with a hip problem, though he caught seven passes for 72 yards from Lewis against the Saints.

Running back Fred Jackson caught two passes and ran 15 times last week, and is also questionable with a knee injury, but he expects to suit up.

"It probably is happening to every other team, but we're talking about it now and we've got to just get over it," he said. "There's nothing we can really control. We're out there and playing football and this is what happens when you play in this league."

Neither the injuries nor the fact that they're closer to the bottom of the league than the top in scoring defense -- 25th among 32 teams, allowing 26.6 points per game -- have tempered Buffalo optimism.

"Guys are still confident," Jackson said. "We've got a good opponent coming in this weekend that gives us an opportunity to go out and win against a team that's 8-0, give them the first loss of the season and try and build on that."

Kansas City started 9-0 in 2003 en route to 13 wins and this year became the first team in league history to start 8-0 after compiling the league's worst record -- 2-14 -- a season prior.

Ironically, while the Bills would surely trade record, it's the Chiefs who are playing modest.

"We've always been humble," safety Eric Berry said. "We're going to keep working because we know how hard these wins are to come by. We don't take these for granted."

Nine of the 15 teams to sweep the first eight games of a 16-game schedule have ultimately reached the Super Bowl, and all but one -- the 16-0 New England Patriots -- has won it.

Nonetheless, the gaudy expectations remain a non-factor, according to Tamba Hali. Instead, it's a determination to keep building on what's been accomplished.

"We love what's going on around here as far as winning," Hali said. "None of us have been in this position where this team is 8-0. To keep winning, to go 1-0 every week, we have a sense of urgency to keep getting wins."

Hali and his colleagues have helped Kansas City to league-leading status in scoring defense (12.3 points per game) and sacks (36). Not to mention, the 98 points surrendered thus far are second-fewest in Chiefs history for the first half of a 16-game season.

Cleveland matched Kansas City's most prolific foe by posting 17 points last week, but the Chiefs won a close one for the third straight week -- all decided by six points or fewer.

On offense, running back Jamaal Charles is probable with a knee injury after rushing for 74 yards and catching five passes for 46 yards against the Browns.

He leads the league with an average of 127.3 yards from scrimmage and is second with 635 rush yards.

"It's a long season," Charles said, "and I'll get banged up every week."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
11/01/2013 03:37 PM

The Kansas City Chiefs are 8-0, and this weekend they play the 3-5 Buffalo Bills, a team that could be starting its third quarterback of the year, which would put them in the illustrious company of the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns.

After that, the Chiefs have a bye. So, it is likely — in fact, it seems almost certain, or as certain as you can be in the perpetually unsettled ecology of the NFL — that the Chiefs will be heading into their bye week at 9-0.

This makes no sense. It makes no sense for a lot of reasons: They had the worst record in the league last year; they have a new head coach; they have a new starting quarterback; the head coach and the quarterback had never played together before; their top wide receiver is having a dismal year; etc. etc. etc.

But here we are: The Chiefs are the only undefeated team in the league, with a better record than the Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers, Packers, Colts, Patriots, Saints, and on. And yet: you might be hard-pressed to find an impartial observer — read: not a Chiefs fan — who thinks KC has a better chance than any of those teams to win the Super Bowl.

I’m one of them, and I’d add the Bengals, Panthers, Bears, and Lions to the list of teams I’d hitch my wagon to before the Chiefs.

But why is that? Are we still just so conditioned to disrespect the Chiefs and Alex Smith, both properties that up until recently were anthema to anyone hoping to win a championship, and to doubt Andy Reid, a guy who consistently comes within striking distance of winning it all but always comes up short? Sure — I don’t think any of those things hurt. But there are other reasons.

Let’s start with the good first, though — there’s obviously a reason why the Chiefs are 9-0. Actually, there are two reasons. Here’s the first: They’ve allowed the fewest points per game in the league, at just more than 12. If you consistently keep teams at under two touchdowns per game, you will usually win.

To give you some perspective, the fewest points allowed in a 16-game season was 165, by the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens. The Chiefs are only allowing about a point and a half more per game than they were.

The second reason is where we begin to overlap with why the Chiefs’ record doesn’t tell the entire story. The Chiefs are 10th in the league in points scored, which isn’t bad at all when you’re allowing so few.

And that level of scoring is still good for the league’s second-best points differential, which is arguably the best simple indicator of a team’s effectiveness so far. But they’ve done it against horrible, horrible, horrible teams. There’s no other way to say it: KC has been feasting on the league’s dregs. The Chiefs' schedule is the kind of thing that kept Boise State out of the BCS Championship for five years.

Here are the teams the Chiefs have beaten so far: the Jaguars, maybe the worst team in NFL history; the Cowboys, their one legitimate win; the Eagles, who have one of the league’s worst scoring defenses and turn the ball over like they enjoy it; the Giants, who need nothing said about them; and then the Titans, Raiders, Texans, and Browns, all bottom-half NFL teams with losing records and negative point differentials who were starting at quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terrell Pryor, Case Keenum in his first NFL game, and Jason Campbell, respectively.

The Chiefs have beaten one team who, at the mid-season mark, possess both a winning record and have scored more points than they’ve allowed. According to Football Outsiders’ metric for evaluating teams, the Chiefs have had the flat-out easiest schedule in the league through Week 8, and by a considerable margin: their opponents are an average of 19.1 percent worse than the league average; the next easiest schedule belongs to the Broncos, at 14.6 percent

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:12113 Followers:20
11/02/2013 11:32 AM

The Chiefs will have wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (groin), running back Jamaal Charles (knee) and eight other probable players. Defensive end Mike Catapano (ankle) is out.

It looks like the Bills won’t have Thaddeus Lewis at quarterback on Sunday as he’s been listed as doubtful with the sore ribs that kept him out of practice most of the week. Running back C.J. Spiller (ankle) is probable to make his return to action.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0