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Gameday Tipsheet - Week 12

Top 3 Individual Matchups
1. Tony Gonzalez vs. George Wilson – Bryan Scott (knee) is a game time decision, but this matchup will likely fall to Wilson. Gonzalez is the best tight end in a generation and the number one option in Kansas City's offense. His huge frame is difficult to defend against as he shields defenders from the football. Wilson is game, but will have his hands full.

  1. Brandon Flowers vs. Lee Evans – Flowers has undergone a baptism by fire this season and has taken his rookie lumps. But he has also made plays including a 91-yard interception return against the Jets earlier this season. Evans, however, has the edge in this battle and Flowers is likely to get safety help over the top as a result.
  1. Rudy Niswanger vs. Marcus Stroud – The Chiefs center will need some assistance from Adrian Jones in this matchup. Niswanger, a former undrafted free agent (2006) is a cerebral player, but he will have their hands full with the Bills disruptive defensive tackle. Jones also may not play meaning veteran backup Wade Smith may be the one helping the young center.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Marshawn Lynch – The run game found new life last week against the Browns and Kansas City has trouble stopping anyone. The Chiefs rank 31st against the run and are giving up over 165 yards on the ground per game. Lynch reminded the league last week on national television that he can be a handful.

Best advantage – Kick return – The Bills kick return unit has been blowing up with long returns in each of their last three games (44, 85, 98) including Monday night's return for a touchdown. Ranked first in the league Buffalo's return team has to look downright scary for the Chiefs' 29th ranked coverage unit.

Bills number one must
Pound the run – The Bills rediscovered their running game last week and need to continue with that approach. With a struggling quarterback, Buffalo needs to grind out yards on the ground, protect the football and use Trent Edwards as a complementary play action passer, who takes the occasional shot downfield to keep the Kansas City defense honest.

Scouting eyeKansas City Thiefs: Yes, I know the plural of thief is thieves, but humor me here. The Chiefs have their problems, but when it comes to taking the ball away they're one of the best in the league. Kansas City is second in the league in takeaway-giveaway differential behind Tennessee with a plus-9, and only Arizona (22) has more takeaways this season than the Chiefs (21) with 10 of those 21 coming in the last four games.

More importantly Kansas City's defense is tied for the NFL lead (Green Bay, NY Jets) with five takeaways in the red zone.

Getting closer: The Chiefs have lost six straight, but for a one-win team they've been right in each of their last four games. They dropped a last-minute four-point decision to the Jets (28-24), lost in overtime to Tampa Bay (30-27), lost on a go-for-the-win two-point conversion attempt at San Diego (20-19) and dropped a 10-point decision to New Orleans (30-20).

Those last four games have been lost by an average margin of 4.5 points.

Thigpen throwing: First-year starting quarterback Tyler Thigpen has been very effective in his last four starts. He's completed better than 60 percent of his passes for almost 1,000 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception good for a passer rating of almost 97 (96.9).

Thigpen has benefited from an expanded use of the spread offense in Kansas City's attack. Running the same offense at Coastal Carolina in college, Thigpen has made good decisions in the simplified system, moved the football and put points on the board.

In his last four games the Chiefs have averaged 22.5 points per game, up 12 points from the team's average in the first six games.

Big targets: All-pro Tony Gonzalez is the obvious name that most would get when talking about big targets in Kansas City's receiving corps. At 6'5" 251, he's a welcome target for Thigpen, but he's not alone.

Dwayne Bowe (6'2", 221) is tied with Gonzalez for the team lead in receptions with 55 and both have five receiving touchdowns to lead the Chiefs as well. In addition Kansas City has rookie tight end Brad Cottam (6'7" 269) who has been sprinkled into the passing game too.

Bad pressure: Despite getting Thigpen out on the move with bootlegs the past few games the Chiefs have still have their problems protecting the quarterback. Kansas City has surrendered 28 sacks this season good for eighth most in the league this season.

Even worse is their inability to generate a pass rush against their opponents. The Chiefs have a paltry six sacks in 10 games, making them the worst team in football at getting to the quarterback.

3rd down in the dumps: Kansas City's defense has enough problems stopping the run, the pass, points allowed, sacking the quarterback and it all contributes to making life easier for opponents in converting on third down.

Through the first 10 games, the Chiefs are allowing opponents to move the chains more than half the time on third down (50.8%). It's feast or famine in terms of getting off the field for Kansas City. They either get a turnover or surrender points.

That's why their opponents have made the second fewest punts this season (34). Only the opponents of Indianapolis have made fewer punts this season (29). 

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week
"I can speak for everybody in that locker room, we don't like the slide we are on, so we definitely are going to have to get that confidence and swagger back and believe we can pull a close game out." 
-- DT Marcus Stroud

Stat of the weekThe home team has won 10 of the last 11 games between the Bills and the Chiefs.

Milestones in reach
Leodis McKelvin needs 133 kick return yards to pass Eric Moulds (1,205) for most kick return yards by a rookie in a season.

Roscoe Parrish needs one punt return for a touchdown to take sole possession of first place in franchise history with four in a career.

Josh Reed needs 25 receiving yards to reach 3,000 in his career.

Final note
Under Dick Jauron, Buffalo is 11-5 (.688) with a positive turnover margin and 2-15 (.118) with a negative turnover mark.

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