The Chiefs History Against Buffalo is Meaningless


Nov 3, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tyson Jackson (94) and defensive end Mike DeVito (70) tackle Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Chiefs beat the Bills 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

This Sunday, for the seventh year in a row, the Chiefs will play the Buffalo Bills. That is a heck of a run. It is also a run that, by and large, Chiefs fans would rather forget about.

Over the last six seasons, the Chiefs have managed to go only 2-4 against the Bills. This includes an embarrassing 1-3 mark in Arrowhead Stadium.

The games haven’t tended to be very close either. The margins of victory have been as follows: 2008, Bills by 23; 2009, Bills by 6; 2010, Chiefs by 3 in OT; 2011, Bills by 34; 2012, Bills by 18; 2013, Chiefs by 10. Do the math, and the Bills have managed to outscore the Chiefs by an average of 20.25 points in the games they win. The Chiefs, on the other hand, only managed an average margin of victory of 6.5 points.

You may be asking yourself if you are still reading a Chiefs blog right now. I assure you that you are. Because even though recent history is not good news for the Chiefs, it is also irrelevant.

The irrelevancy of the last six games against the Bills can be summed up in large part with reference to one name: Matt Cassel.

That’s right, four of those previous six games were started by a man who (at least, in my opinion) never should have been acquired in the first place. He did manage to win one of his games against the Bills, but a three-point overtime victory against a winless team (the Bills were 0-6 at the time) is nothing to write home about.

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Of course, Cassel can’t be blamed for all of the Chiefs’ struggles. Football is a team sport, and there are always other places that deserve blame when a team doesn’t perform. Cassel wasn’t even behind center for two of the game. But you know who filled that role for the Chiefs in 2008? Tyler Thigpen.

Thigpen was the backup to Brody Croyle — who is not even in the NFL anymore. In 2008, Thigpen started 11 games. That is all but one of the starts in his entire career. He has only appeared in 14 games since the end of the 2008 season, and is currently a third-string option for the Browns.

In the same vein, the Bills were quarterbacked four times by Ryan Fitzpatrick and once by Trent Edwards from 2008 to 2012. Now, I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the Bills nation, but I’m pretty sure they are ok with moving on from those teams.

Because of the incredible difference in who the teams are today as opposed to back then, I don’t give credit to whatever happened in this run from 2008 to 2012.

Last year’s game is more comparable to what Sunday will look like. The Chiefs have the same coach and many of the same players as last year (e.g., Reid, Smith, Charles, Bowe, Hali, Houston and Berry). Like last year, the game is being played in Buffalo, and the Bills will be starting a backup quarterback.

But that game too, is largely irrelevant to this year. The venue and several players and coaches might be carrying over, but both of these teams are in very different places. In 2013, the Chiefs entered the game as the only undefeated team in the NFL, and the Bills’ season was already on the ropes at 3-5. This year, each team enters the game at 5-3, sitting in second place in their division, and in the hunt for playoffs.

And though the Chiefs’ playmakers may be largely the same, the Bills’ will not be. The Bills’ leaders in passing, rushing and receiving in last year’s game were Jeff Tuel, C.J. Spiller and Marquise Goodwin, respectively. This season Tuel is not on the team, Spiller is out for the year with a broken collarbone, and Goodwin has missed two games with a nagging hamstring injury. Oh, and Fred Jackson has been dealing with an injury as well.

That is not to belittle Buffalo. Even with a number of injuries and offensive struggles, they are still a winning team, and even managed to come away with a win on the road in Detroit.

The point is that this week’s matchup is not going to be decided by what happened in the past six years. The current playoff picture in the AFC is very tight, and both teams are in the thick of it. Kansas City, Buffalo, Miami and Cleveland are all tied at 5-3, with the Chiefs currently holding the tie-breaker. Both teams still have a number of pivotal games left on their schedule, including the team ranked ahead of them in their division (Broncos in the West, and Patriots in the East). Expect both the Chiefs and Bills to come out ready for this game.

This may be the seventh year in a row that these teams have faced off, but I don’t anticipate a repeat of the games we’ve seen before.