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Scouting Report - Week 9

Posted Nov 1, 2013

An in-depth look at the Bills-Chiefs game


Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Erik Pears vs. Justin Houston –
Buffalo’s right tackle might be facing the fastest edge rusher he’s seen this season in the Chiefs’ outside linebacker. Houston is tied with Buffalo’s Mario Williams with 11 sacks on the year, good for second-most in the NFL.

2 – Scott Chandler vs. Eric Berry – Chandler has proven to be a problem for the Chiefs defense. In his previous two games against Kansas City, Chandler has seven catches for 116 yards and three TDs. He’s also coming off a season-high seven catches for 72 yards last week.

3 – Nickell Robey vs. Dexter McCluster – Robey has been around the ball a lot in coverage of late. He’ll finally face a slot receiver of similar stature. McCluster and Alex Smith have developed better chemistry in the passing game as the season has moved along.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Run game –
The Bills have relied heavily on their run game this season and for the most part it has proven productive even with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller at less than 100 percent. If Thad Lewis cannot make his fourth straight start they figure to rely on the run game even more Sunday. The Chiefs are allowing five yards per carry  this season, which ranks 28th.

Best advantage – Pass rush – Buffalo is second in the league in sacks and the Chiefs pass protection has been less than ideal. Kansas City has surrendered 24 sacks in eight games, good for ninth-most in the league. The Bills pass rushers should be able to get decent pressure on Alex Smith if they can force unfavorable down and distance situations, and Smith has a passer rating of 61 against the blitz.

Bills Number 1 Must
Third and manageable
Buffalo’s offense has to create favorable third down and distance situations. Kansas City’s defense is the number one third down unit in the NFL allowing just a 25 percent conversion rate to their opponents (25.2%).

Part of the reason for their success is forcing 3rd-and-long situations. A total of 44 of the Chiefs’ 107 third down plays on defense this season have put the opponent in 3rd-and-9 or more (41%). In those 44 3rd-and-9-plus situations against the Chiefs, opponents have converted just four of them this season (9%).

If the Bills can stay in 3rd-and-3 or less it’ll go a long way into staying on the field. Opponents are converting 3rd-and-3 or less 52 percent of the time against Kansas City (16-29). If it’s 3rd-and-4 or more Chiefs’ opponents are converting less than 14 percent of the time (9-66, 13.6%).

Scouting Eye
Point problems
The Chiefs defense ranks first in the league in points allowed. Opponents are averaging just over 12 points per game against Kansas City (12.25). Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s unit has allowed just 10 touchdowns in eight games. No opponent has scored more than 17 points against the Chiefs this season. If Kansas City can hold Buffalo to 17 points or less they’ll tie the NFL record for most consecutive games of holding opponents to 17 points or fewer (9 games – Atlanta 1977).

Bookend Sackers
The Chiefs defense also leads the league in sacks with 36 in their first eight games. The main contributors to that category for Kansas City is Pro Bowl OLB Tamba Hali and OLB Justin Houston, who is having a breakout season. Houston (11) and Hali (9) have accounted for just over 55 percent of the team’s quarterback takedowns making Kansas City the only team in the league with two players ranking in the top five in sacks this season.

Charles in charge
Kansas City feature back Jamaal Charles has been the engine behind the Chiefs offense this season. He currently leads the league in total yards from scrimmage with 1,018 through the first half of the season. He’s second in the league in total touchdowns (8), second in the league in rushing (635) and first in the league in receptions by running backs. Charles represents more than 38 percent of Kansas City’s total offense this season.

Field position pros
When it comes to field position no one does it better that Kansas City. The Chiefs lead the league in average drive start. Their offense’s average drive start this season has been their own 34-yard line (33.9). On the road it’s been even better with Kansas City starting at better than their own 35-yard line (35.6). Their coverage units on defense have been equally as good as they’re holding opponents to an average of their own 22-yard line (22.3) also tops in the league. The yardage differential of 12 yards over the course of a game with the Chiefs averaging more than 12 possessions per game comes out to an advantage of 144 yards a game.

Stealing scores
Part of the reason the Chiefs have outscored their opponents by a nearly 2:1 margin is they compiled a league-leading 20 takeaways. Kansas City has scored a total of 67 points off their takeaways this season ranking second-most in the NFL. Their takeaway points account for 35 percent of their total points scored this season.

At close range
Not that it’s uncommon in the NFL, but Kansas City has scored most of their points in the red zone with 125 of their 198 points this season coming from inside their opponents’ 20-yard line (63.1%). The Chiefs have lacked big play ability on offense. They rank 19th in pass plays of 25 yards or more with 13. That’s because Alex Smith ranks 27th in yards per attempt at 6.28 yards.

As such Kansas City ranks 24th in scoring outside the red zone with just 32 points this season with two touchdowns and six field goals. That’s the same number of touchdowns outside the red zone as Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, two teams that are winless this season.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the Week
“It’s unfortunate, the situation we’ve been in with injuries this year at quarterback. I think we’ve done a good job of playing pretty consistent ball from week to week with whoever’s been back there. I don’t know how many teams could do that. Credit to the guys in the quarterback room for coming up each week prepared.”
--Eric Wood

Stat of the Week
The Bills have won their last four games against the Chiefs at Ralph Wilson Stadium. If they beat Kansas City it would tie the longest current win streak against an opponent at the Ralph (5 – Green Bay).

Milestones in reach
Dan Carpenter needs one point to reach 600 in his NFL career.

Scott Chandler needs one touchdown reception to tie Reuben Gant (15) for the third-most among tight ends in Bills history.

C.J. Spiller needs 50 rushing yards to reach 2,500 in his career.

Mario Williams needs three sacks to match a single-season career best of 14 (2007).

Final Note
The Chiefs have not won in Buffalo since 1986.