Going into Sunday’s game, most Kansas City Chiefs fans feel that we’ve got this game in the bag.
Why shouldn’t we?
There are a lot of things in our favor for the game against the Buffalo Bills. We rank 12th on offense, they rank 27th. We rank 17th on defense, they rank 28th. We have the best rushing offense in the NFL. We play the game at Arrowhead Stadium, where we are currently undefeated. We have a winning record. The Bills are 0-6. Looking at all of this I should feel assured that the Chiefs come away with the victory. This game seems like it should be an easy win. But is it too easy?
Here are three reasons why Buffalo could trap the Chiefs in a loss come Halloween.
1) The teams Buffalo has played.
Yes, the Chiefs have the better record. Yes, Buffalo is winless. However, here are some things to keep in mind. Our losses were handed to us by the only teams we’ve played with winning records. All of Buffalo’s losses have come at the hands of teams with a record of .500 or better. In fact, Buffalo has only played one team that doesn’t have a winning record. Looking at that tells me that if the Chiefs played Buffalo’s schedule, we might be 0-6 as well.
2) Buffalo is winless.
No team wants to be a winless team. Just ask the 2008 Detroit Lions. That being said, there is a desperation that sets in on winless teams. The rarity of a win makes it all the more valuable and so they will fight tooth and nail for it. You can guarantee that you get their best effort every time they take the field. Just ask Baltimore Ravens if you don’t believe me. Buffalo was a severe underdog for that game. Yet the Bills went against what was a top 5 defense, hung 505 yards on them, and took them to overtime. Buffalo felt they had a shot to the very end and so gave their all. Yes, they still fell short but their level of effort will be renewed when they start fresh with the Chiefs’ game. They want that win. They can see it inches away. I’m not sure that level of intensity can be matched outside of the playoffs. If that can drive them to take Baltimore to overtime, what does that drive them to do to us?
3) Ryan Fitzpatrick
Of the three reasons, this is the most mind-boggling. After two games, Buffalo got tired of Trent Edwards at quarterback. Enter Ryan Fitzpatrick. A Harvard graduate, Fitzpatrick spent 2 years with the St. Louis Rams, 2 years with the Cincinnati Bengals, and is in his 2nd year with the Bills. He started 10 games for the Bills last year and came away with a 69.7 passer rating. The year before that, he started 13 games for the Bengals and had a 70 passer rating. So can someone please explain to me how Fitzpatrick currently has a passer rating of 102.2 this season? His rating is second in the league behind only Peyton Manning. The only answer I can think of is Chan Gailey.
Last year Buffalo was under interim coach Perry Fewell. Fewell was defensive minded, whereas Gailey is offensive minded. When Gailey was here in Kansas City, it was his job to do what he could with Tyler Thigpen. Gailey provided what he could with the tools he had. Perhaps he has found a better tool in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Whatever the reason, the Chiefs need to not underestimate Fitzpatrick and Buffalo’s offense. Our safeties especially need to be on guard since Fitzpatrick had 6 passes for 20+ yards against the Ravens.
Even though I worry about these things, I still believe that the Chiefs will win on Sunday. I just think it might be closer than any of us think. How about you? Do you think the Chiefs will keep the Bills’ win column empty? Or do you think that the Bills may buffalo the Chiefs into a loss?