Turning Point: Chiefs Beating The Bills


There comes a turning point in every season when a team finds out if they’re headed one direction or the other, to a playoff, or to a layoff: a seven-month layoff called the offseason. The Kansas City Chiefs can determine that by beating the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday.

So, what’s so important about the game in Buffalo?

First of all, it would be a road victory. Teams in AFC are losing 63.4 percent of their road games so, getting a road victory would be big. The Bills are only 2-2 at home so winning there is not out of the question, but there’s no way to minimize the importance of a road victory.

A win over the Bills would be another AFC Conference win. Since the Bills and the Chiefs have identical records at the moment, it’s not hard to imagine that the two teams could have similar records at the end of the year, making a tie-breaker all the more important.

Another uphill challenge in this game will be the Chiefs facing a bye-week team that’s rested and prepared. However, Bills coach Doug Marrone is 0-1 following the bye and the facts about there being a tremendous advantage for teams following the bye are mostly unfounded. Statistics, including all active coaches in the NFL, show those coaches haven’t even won 53 percent of the games they coached following the bye week (52.8 percent to be exact).

In any event, the Chiefs need to take the idea seriously, that these Bills could come out prepared and rested. Vic Carucci, for The Buffalo News, says the bye week is something the Bills need to get over.

"“Shake the “bye hangover” immediately. Before his players took off for an extended in-season break, coach Doug Marrone stressed to them the importance of “reloading” rather than resting or relaxing…. Whether the players understood the difference will likely show up in the early going Sunday. Sure, they were encouraged to allow their bodies to heal and minds to recover from the rigors of a 5-3 start, but they can’t assume they have achieved anything special.”"

The Bills have a two-game winning streak on their side and the Chiefs bring in a three-game win streak. While the Chiefs have wins over conference best New England (7-2) and San Diego (5-4), the toughest opponent the Bills have beaten is Detroit (6-2).

Still the Bills have a recent history of giving the Chiefs a tough game.

2013- 23-13, Chiefs win.

2012- 17-35, Bills win.

2011- 7-41, Bills win.

2010- 13-10 (OT) Chiefs win.

2009- 10-16 Bills win.

2008- 31-54 Bills win.

2007 was the last season the Chiefs and the Bills didn’t hook up in the regular season. The Chiefs have won only two times in the past six years against Buffalo, and two other games were pure poundings with the Chiefs being on wrong end of the hammer in both 2011 and 2008.

However, 2008 was two regimes ago… three, if you count Romeo Crennel/Scott Pioli and Todd Haley/Scott Pioli as separate regimes, then Herman Edwards/Carl Peterson would make three in 2008.

The point is, the Chiefs have very few players still on the team since those days and the culture has changed dramatically to say the least. There truly is a culture of winning now and these Chiefs are a team on the rise coming to a 16-8 record since HC Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey have been hired. Pretty good… from a team that went 2-14 only two years ago.

These are not your older brother’s Chiefs either. Read this post called “The Chiefs History Against Buffalo Is Meaningless” by Jonathan Rhodes to help you put the past where it belongs. In the past.

Are the Bills a team on the rise?

In 2013 the Bills went 6-10. In 2012 they were also 6-10. In 2011 the Bills were 6-10 and at this point you have to wonder if Buffalo fans are perplexing, and genuflecting, to a deity of some kind, more than they are resting comfortably in the knowledge that their 2014 Bills are indeed improved? So, 5-3 this year is a definite step up for them right… m-a-y-b-e… because they started 5-2 in 2011 and were 5-3 last season, before the bottom fell out.


So, if you’re a Buffalo fan — or player — you may be wondering what’s going to happen next? Is the culture there really changed, or are they just half way to end of another season of misery?

So, are the Bills a team on the rise? No one really knows yet.

Both teams are where they are now because of their defenses primarily.

Both have strong sack artist trios. The Chiefs have 20 sacks with Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Allen Bailey. In a piece by Jay Skurski called “Bill-Chiefs Will Be a Clash of Sack Masters”, he points out that,

"“The Bills have had their sacks a bit more spread out. Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes and Marcell Dareus have combined for 18.5 of the 28, and 11 different players have had a hand in at least half a sack.”"

Of course DT Dontari Poe has three more sacks to add to the Chiefs total so I say the edge goes to the visitors on Sunday. Although, the Bills have one more total sack than the Chiefs.

What should concern the Chiefs more is that the Bills have the eighth-ranked rushing defense in the league. Yes, the Chiefs have the sixth-ranked rushing attack, but you never know how a team is going to match up when it comes to the running game.

While the Bills run a 4-3 defensive front, they have two, top-notch defenders on the front line in DE Mario Williams and DT Marcell Dareus. A matchup to watch is Mario against Chiefs LT  Eric Fisher. Plus, if Dareus flips sides, like a lot of teams do with their DTs in the 4-3, and he goes up against the Chiefs LG Mike McGlynn, then FB Anthony Sherman better be ready to fulfill his new contract or Alex Smith is in trouble. Add Jerry Hughes and Kyle Williams to those two and the Bills have a formidable foursome to cope with any team’s running attack, including the Chiefs.

While the sweet spot in this game appears to be the Chiefs pass coverage against the Bills QB Kyle “The Hobo” Orton, don’t forget he’s averaged 271 yards per game in his first four games for them. If he kept that up all year he’d be eighth in the league in yards per game.

Of course, one of the big reasons for that is WR Sammy Watkins. Watkins is listed as “Questionable” at the moment because of a groin pull but don’t count him out. Questionable just means he’s got a 50/50 chance of playing and a lot of teams hide players from other teams under this category. By hide, I mean, they place them there with the idea that maybe the other team won’t prepare for them. I doubt the Chiefs will make that mistake. He’s going to be a premiere WR in the NFL someday soon.

The same is true for the Bills running back Fred Jackson. Jackson has hurt the Chiefs before so there’ll be no sneaking up on them using Mr. Jackson.

So, what will it take for the Chiefs to beat the Bills on Sunday? They will have to impose their will as they have done in all their victories. Especially the will to successfully run the ball. The game may well hinge on that one facet alone because if the Chiefs can’t make the running game a success, the Bills front seven will be teeing off on Alex Smith all day long.

At some point this year QB Alex Smith will be asked to win the game with his arm. This may be that game, especially if the Bills can limit the Chiefs running attack. Although the Bills are tied for second in the league in INTs with 12, it’s easy to see Alex Smith taking care of the ball. The short passing attack game plan should work wonders against the Bills especially with the list of playmakers he has to throw the ball to now including: JC, DAT, TE Travis Kelce, and WR Dwayne Bowe. There’s no reason to believe Alex Smith can’t carry the Chiefs to 6-3 and a big home game vs. the Seahawks next weekend.

To get to that game, the Chiefs must focus all their “chi” on the game tomorrow. If they do, this game will be the turning point for the whole season.

What do you say, Addict fans? What do you think it will take to bring a “W” home on Sunday in Buffalo? Do you see this game as a “turning point” game?