Many NFL fans including yours truly have been expecting the Chiefs to let at least one winnable game slip through their hands during their historic conquest. Each week, the NFL is proven wrong.
Nonetheless, this week will be another big test on the road against a hungry team.
This time, however, the game is against an oddly familiar opponent – the Chiefs have played the Bills in each of the last five seasons and the results have been less than spectacular. The Bills lead the series over the Chiefs 4-1 with a crushing combined score of 156-78 over Kansas City.
Luckily for the Chiefs, they’re heading to Buffalo at a time when the team is sifting through a series of sub par
options at quarterback. With their first-round pick EJ Manuel still sidelined with an injury, the question is whether they will go with the sick and wounded former practice-squader Thad Lewis, undrafted free agent Jeff Tuell, or Oakland castaway Matt Flynn.
None of these options are particularly good for Buffalo. Although Lewis has performed admirably these past couple of weeks, putting him out there with injured ribs and a case of the flu against the league’s best pass-rushing attack might be a shade foolish. Then again, this would be Tuell’s first game at this stage and Flynn gave up 7 sacks and had a QBR rating of just 2.9 in his only start this season – against the defensively challenged Redskins.
The biggest knock against the Chiefs so far this season has been their fortunate schedule thus far. Regardless of whom the Bills suit up at QB, this will be the fourth backup playcaller Kansas City has played in nine games. In other words, the doubts won’t cease with a win, and the Chiefs aren’t going to earn many respect points for taking care of the Bills on a business trip up north.
But, that’s not why this game matters.
If the Chiefs can push past the Bills and go 9-0, not only will they stay one game ahead of the Broncos in the AFC West/Conference lead, but they will have officially punched their ticket to the playoffs. With nine wins, even the most complete and utter collapse for the rest of the season couldn’t keep them out of the postseason, especially given how weak their competition for a wild card spot appears to be this year.
So, while this game may end up being the calm before the storm in the form of three straight division games when they get back from the bye, a win here is still a big deal.