The Kansas City Chiefs will try to avoid going 0-2 this Sunday when they travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills.
The Chiefs stumbled out of the gate against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday. Matt Ryan and company had their way with the KC secondary, scoring on their first eight possessions. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel and Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll were able to hang with the Falcons for a half but with no help from the defense, the offense finally cracked and turnovers led to a lopsided defeat.
The Bills shared a similar fate on NFL’s opening weekend. Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions in the first quarter against the Jets. New York ended up winning the game 48 to 28.
Here are my five keys to victory for the Chiefs to get the win this Sunday.
1. Unleash Tamba Hali
Hali, if you ask me, is the biggest culprit in KC’s Week 1 loss. Some folks will tell you that one player couldn’t have made that much of a difference but I disagree. Hali’s mere presence on the field would have made life a lot more difficult for the Falcons. Whether it was by drawing double teams, making things easier for Justin Houston, forcing the Falcons to run more thus slowing their attack or disrupting the offense’s rhythm, had Hali played the game could have turned out much differently for the Chiefs.
Well, Hali is back this week and he has the opportunity to make up for letting his teammates down last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not Matt Ryan and the Bills lack the plethora of weapons the Falcons feature. If Hali has a strong game, the KC defense will surely improve dramatically in Week 2.
2. Get Eric Berry involved
Eric Berry was a non-factor on defense last week. That absolutely cannot continue to happen. Berry had his game to shake off the rust, now he needs to relax and start making plays.
Berry should be motivated. It was Bills WR Steve Johnson who blocked him low in the 2011 season-opener. As a result of that block, Berry tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season.
I expect a much more aggressive Eric Berry this week and that is a good thing for the Chiefs.
3. Stop Spiller and Johnson
The Bills feature two play-makers in RB CJ Spiller and WR Steve Johnson. Even if Brandon Flowers plays this week, he is sure to be a little rusty. The Chiefs need to make sure they give him some help and force Ryan Fitzpatrick to look elsewhere.
Spiller showed last week he is a home run threat, ripping off two long runs against the Jets. The Chiefs must not let him break free.
4. Stay calm
Bills head coach Chan Gailey is an excellent game planner. The Bills are going to take their shots and they’ll likely bust out a big play or two. The Chiefs have got to remain calm on both sides of the ball but especially offense. If Matt Cassel and the offensive line start pressing like they did when they fell behind the Falcons it could lead to disaster.
5. Neutralize Mario Williams
Mario Williams is going to be coming for Matt Cassel. The Chiefs need to make sure he doesn’t get there. The Jets did a great job of shutting Williams down and Mark Sanchez was able to carve up the Buffalo secondary. Cassel is at least as good as Sanchez and he has more weapons. John Abraham and the Falcons showed that one play can change the course of a game last week when Branden Albert got beat. That can’t happen this weekend.
All right, Addicts, those are my keys to victory. What are yours?