This Sunday, the 3-5 Buffalo Bills host the only undefeated team left in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs. The game will be kicking off at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS (DIERDORF!!!!). Let’s gander at some key points for Sunday, shall we?
The Bills quarterback situation has been one of a lot of question marks all season. According to the Buffalo Bills official website, the starting quarterback for Sunday has not been named. Last week against the Saints, Thad Lewis took a brutal shot to the ribs that led to him not practicing until Friday. He is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gives it a go. Lewis showed last week that he is tough guy, taking some brutal shots from the Saints defense and keeping his poise in the pocket.
If Lewis doesn’t play, it will leave the quarterbacking duties to rookie Jeff Tuel. Tuel played terribly in the few quarters that he played following E.J. Manuel’s injury in Week 5. So bad in fact that they took Thad Lewis off the practice squad so they didn’t have to play Tuel. Never a good sign when a practice squad player looks like a better option than the backup.
Regardless of who is playing quarterback, the Bills’ game plan is going to look a little different than it has all season. The Bills have been running the option, utilizing their mobile quarterback and running back tandem of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. I don’t see that being used this week. Tuel is not mobile so he will not be a threat to keep it on the option, and if Lewis starts, Coach Doug Marrone probably isn’t going to put Lewis in a situation that could further injure his ribs.
Fred Jackson has been held in check in recent week, not rushing for more than 50 yards in any of his last 3 games. Good news for him: he will have his partner in crime back after missing last week’s game. C.J. Spiller was limited in practice all week but is listed as probable for Sunday.
Buffalo is going to need these two against this stingy Kansas City defense. The Chiefs are ranked 12th in the NFL in total yards, and have not yet allowed a team to score over 17 points. With the possibility of Tuel starting, the run game is going to be vital for the Bills to move the ball down the field.
The Bills’ front seven are going to have to continue their great play. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has the ability to escape the pocket, so Mario Williams and company are going to have to stay disciplined and not allow him to break off runs.
Buffalo is also going to have their hands full in the running game. The Bills have struggled mightily to defend the run so far this season. With Jamaal Charles coming to town, Buffalo needs to step up and stop the run. Charles is 2nd in the league in yards per game, and is one of the more elusive backs that the league has to offer. The Bills need to get their hands on the slippery Charles and bring him down of first contact.
As far as the secondary is concerned, Buffalo actually has a pretty good match-up. Alex Smith isn’t exactly known as a quarterback that can pick apart a defense with his arm. Smith is more of a game manager. One thing that Buffalo needs to do is make him make mistakes. Smith has been pretty good about taking care of the ball this season, only throwing 3 picks on the year. Buffalo is 2nd in the league when it comes to interceptions. The Bills need to force turnovers and keep the Kansas City offense off the field.
Vegas has the Chiefs favored by 4 points. It’s a little strange that the league’s only undefeated team is only favored by 4 against a team that may be starting Jeff Tuel isn’t it?
In my opinion, Kansas City isn’t that good. They have had the luck of playing a really weak schedule. The only team they have played with a .500 record is the Dallas Cowboys. I’m predicting that their luck runs out this week at a sold out Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills 20, Chiefs 17.
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