The Bills are winless, and although they have played a handful of teams close, Buffalo hasn’t yet shown it can win under adverse conditions. It’ll be hard-pressed to break its streak against a hot Kansas City team at Arrowhead Stadium, although the Chiefs’ once-encouraging defense hasn’t looked so intimidating the past two weeks. An upset is possible, but the Chiefs’ rush offense has kept better teams in check.
Keys for the Chiefs
• The Chiefs have to keep doing what they’ve been doing. That means running at a breakneck clip; veteran back Thomas Jones has rushed for at least 100 yards in consecutive contests, and Jamaal Charles is capable of long runs. Kansas City’s ground game has taken pressure off of quarterback Matt Cassel, helping him ease into coordinator Charlie Weis’ offense, and the team has scored 73 points in its past two games, against Houston and Jacksonville.
• The defense has to rebound. After four contests in which Kansas City’s unit looked to be the team’s strength, the past two games haven’t been so inspiring. The Chiefs allowed 35 points to the Texans, then 20 last week to the Jaguars. Other than a handful of big plays, Kansas City hasn’t been the same. The Chiefs have to establish a pass rush and continue stopping the run against the Bills’ talented backs.
Keys for the Bills
• They have to believe a win is possible. In a conversation with Kansas City media this week, Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick sounded exhausted, exasperated — or both. Perhaps it was just the Wednesday fatigue, but it also could’ve been the rigors of an 0-6 start. Buffalo was close last week in an overtime loss against Baltimore; the Chiefs are vulnerable, but only if the Bills’ approach is right.
• The running backs have to be effective. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson have plenty of talent, and they have been among the few bright spots Buffalo can brag about in an otherwise disappointing season. The Chiefs’ rush defense is good, but if the Bills can knock Kansas City off balance with the pass, there are opportunities to rush the ball and take advantage of big plays.
The Bills have an uphill climb on the road, especially after the discouraging way they lost last Sunday’s game — after a fumble in overtime. The Chiefs seem to have hit a groove, even after losses in two of the past three weeks, and that begins with one of the league’s best rushing tandems. If Kansas City can continue that kind of effectiveness on the ground, the Bills might find themselves in another frustrating situation. Chiefs 31-14.