Top 3 Individual Matchups
Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good advantage – pass defense – Kansas City has relied on their run game offensively with QB Matt Cassel only recently doing more for the Chiefs offense. Buffalo ranks 9th in the league against the pass and is still waiting for their breakout performance in terms of takeaways.
Best advantage – pass offense – Buffalo exploded for 382 yards through the air and four touchdowns passing last week at Baltimore. Against a far less exotic defensive team in terms of different looks in the Chiefs,
Bills Number 1 Must
Win the red zone – Buffalo and Kansas City are pretty comparable when it comes to their offensive touchdown percentage (58.3% to 55.6%) inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and their defensive rank in the red zone (tied for 27th – 66.7%). The Bills must do a better job of punching their red zone possessions in for touchdowns, while forcing the Chiefs to settle for field goals inside the 20.
The Chiefs are the number one rushing team in football piling up more than 176 yards per game. In fact the team averages more rushing yards per game than passing yards (168.5). The duo of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles has been tough to stop and recently they’ve begun using rookie Dexter McCluster out of the backfield more. Charles leads the Chiefs with 489 rushing yards and leads the league with an average of 6.04 yards per carry. Jones is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances.
Kansas City also leads the league in carries per game (35.2) and only Houston (5.24) averages more per rushing attempt than the Chiefs (5.02). Helping that average are the big plays that come out of the Chiefs ground game. They’re tied for third in the league with 27 rushes of 10 yards or more.
Despite all that rushing thus far this season the Chiefs have been very protective of the ball. Through the first six games, Kansas City has just one lost fumble on the season. They’ve only put the ball on the turf three times total in 211 carries.
Through the air they’ve also avoided the turnover pretty well with just three interceptions on the season. Cassel has attempted 93 straight passes without throwing an INT, the league’s third longest active streak. Their total of four giveaways is tied for a league low with the New York Jets.
It’s largely why through six games the Chiefs are the only team in the NFL that has not given up any points off turnovers giving them the best turnover point differential (+48) in football.
After a slow start at the outset of the season, Chiefs QB Matt Cassel appears to be hitting his stride. In his last four starts Cassel has completed 63 percent of his passes for 800 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception giving him a league best 108.9 passer rating over that span.
In Kansas City’s last outing, Cassel posted a season-high passer rating of 144 against Jacksonville as he threw a pair of touchdowns passes, while going 13-18 for 193 yards.
Cassel saves some of his best play for his home field. In the Chiefs’ three games at Arrowhead thus far this season Cassel is 3-0 as a starter with a passer rating of 106, with six touchdowns and one INT.
Fellow second-round draft choices Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas are the primary punt and kick returners this season, and they’ve done anything but disappoint. Arenas is sixth in the AFC in punt return average (10.3). McCluster would rank first in the league if he had enough return attempts with his gaudy 20.9 average due largely to his 94-yard return for a touchdown against San Diego (9/13).
The pair share kick return duties with both averaging just over 21 yards a return.
The Chiefs, which have been doormats defensively the past couple of seasons have dramatically improved in several statistical categories. Through six games this season, Kansas City has reduced their points allowed per game by almost a touchdown from 24 in 2009 to 18.7 this season. Other improvements have come in third down defense (4% decrease in conversions allowed), opponent passer rating (from 90.1 to 81.9) and second half points (81 to 62).
Their biggest improvement however, has come in run defense. With largely the same front seven (1 new starter), the Chiefs, who ranked 31st against the run last season, are currently ranked 6th in the league. Through six games last season the Chiefs allowed more than 130 yards rushing per game (130.3). They’ve hacked more than 40 yards off that total this season (89.7).
Chambers finds a seat
Veteran WR Chris Chambers, who was signed to a three-year $15M extension in the offseason, has been given a seat on the bench. Chambers has been a healthy inactive each of the past two games.
It has been reported that the Chiefs have favored more versatile receiving threats, but head coach Todd Haley maintains that he believes Chambers will be back in the lineup soon. With Dexter McCluster hobbled by an ankle injury in practice this week, Chambers has an improved chance of being dressed for Sunday’s game. The veteran receiver had four catches for 50 yards against the Bills last season.
Quote of the Week
“I can’t really speak for everybody for the most part, but on the subject (of being discouraged) I will. We’ll get frustrated, but we’re not going to be discouraged and nobody in here’s going to tank either. Nobody’s going to lay it down and give up.”
Stat of the Week
The Bills have averaged 35 points per game in their last two trips to Arrowhead stadium.
Milestones within reach
Ryan Fitzpatrick aims for third consecutive game with three or more touchdown passes.