Top 3 Individual Matchups
1. Terrence McGee vs. Chris Chambers –McGee is making his first start since coming off of knee surgery, while Chambers is still settling in with his new team. The two veterans are familiar with each other from their battles when Chambers was with the Dolphins. A competitive and entertaining matchup.
2. Shawn Nelson vs. Mike Brown –Nelson could have one of the better mismatches in this game as he squares off against the veteran safety. Brown's injuries have begun to catch up to him and he doesn't run as well as he used to. That should provide Nelson with opportunities over the middle Sunday.
3. Lee Evans vs. Brandon Carr –Expect to see safety help for Carr in his matchup with Buffalo's deep threat, as Evans will be a handful for the second-year corner. Evans had a five catch 110-yard receiving performance against the Chiefs in last year's matchup.
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage –punt coverage – Buffalo's special teams are again peaking heading into the final quarter of the season. They rank ninth in the league in punt coverage allowing just 7.2 yards per return. Kansas City's Bobby Wade hasn't had much success for the Chiefs this season with 11 fair catches on 20 attempts as they average less than seven yards a return.
Best advantage –pass defense – The Bills rank fourth in the league in pass defense and it's not just because teams have had success running on them. Buffalo is tied for seventh in the league in passes defended with 65. They're facing one of the worst passing offenses in football as the Chiefs rank just 29th in passing this season.
Bills Number 1 Must
Red zone scoring –Buffalo's offense must outperform Kansas City's attack in the red zone. The Bills rank 31st in the league in red zone touchdown percentage (33.3%), but they have to be better than the Chiefs in this game as they rank 14th (51.9%). If the Bills can run more effectively in the red zone and finish more red zone possessions with touchdowns they should be able to get their first road win since October.
No BoweAs if Kansas City hasn't struggled enough on offense this season with the issues they had with Larry Johnson prompting his release, top wide receiver Dwayne Bowe made it worse getting suspended four games for violation of the league policy on performance enhancing substances. Bowe will miss Sunday's game against the Bills as he serves the last game of the four game suspension. Despite missing the last three games Bowe still leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Cassel crashing?Matt Cassel has had a rough go of it in his first season as the starting quarterback for the rebuilding Chiefs. Completing less than 54 percent of his passes, Cassel has more TDs than interceptions (13 to 9), but has struggled due to a lack of a supporting cast, especially in comparison to his New England teammates.
Pass protection has also been an issue as he's been sacked 37 times. It's affected Cassel's internal clock and passing instincts as evidenced by his 10-29 passing performance for 84 yards and two interceptions. His latest outing earned him a seat on the bench in the Chiefs 44-13 blowout loss to the Broncos last week. He will start on Sunday.
Charles in chargeKansas City RB Jamaal Charles has shouldered the load for the Chiefs ground game since the release of Larry Johnson earlier this season. More of a bounce rusher to Johnson's between the tackles power style, Charles has averaged almost five yards per carry and has the team's only three rushing touchdowns of the season. He also stands fourth on the team in receptions and handles kick return duties as well, which includes a 97-yard return for a touchdown.
Prince HaliChiefs OLB Tamba Hali may be finally adjusting to his new role as an outside linebacker in the Chiefs 3-4 defensive system. A former defensive end Hali has been making a transition this season and his coming out party was last week in the loss to Denver. Hali had three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles along with 10 tackles in the game. He's the team's primary pass rushing threat.
Not much pressureThe only problem for the Chiefs is creating pass pressure has been a persistent problem. Kansas City ranks just 30th in sacks per play. They have just 17 sacks on the season with Hali accounting for 6.5 to lead the club. It's one of the reasons why Kansas City allows opponents to complete more than 59 percent of their passes. They also surrender more than eight yards a pass attempt and 26 plays of 25 yards or more on the season through the air.
Slow startersThe Bills have had their share of troubles scoring this season, but in the first half they've only been outscored by 21 points this season, and they've bettered their opponents on the scoreboard in the first quarter (57-30). The same cannot be said for the Chiefs attack. Slow out of the gate all season, Kansas City has been outscored in the first half this year by a better than 2:1 margin. The Chiefs have been outscored in the first half this season 160-72, and 76-19 in the first quarter.
Third down disasterPart of the reason the Chiefs have so much trouble scoring is they can't stay on the field and sustain drives. As bad as the Bills offense has been this season in converting third downs, Kansas City is the league's worst making good on just 24% of their opportunities this season. The main problem begins on first down where the Chiefs gain a league worst of 4.06 yards per first down play. The league average is 5.41.
Quote of the Week"In order to get what you want in life you have to have enthusiasm and vision. And our vision is to win. There's no quit in these guys. These guys have a vision to win, I have a vision to win and that's our intention for the next four weeks."*--Interim head coach Perry Fewell
*Stat of the WeekThe Chiefs and Bills have each been involved in five games decided by seven points or less this season. Their combined record in those games is 3-7 (Bills 1-4, Chiefs 2-3).
Milestones in reachJairus Byrd needs one interception to tie for the second most INTs in one season by a Bills player (9).
Lee Evans needs 77 receiving yards to move into third place on the Bills all-time receiving yardage list.
Terrell Owens needs six receptions to become the sixth players in league history with 1,000 in his career.
Final noteFred Jackson averages 6.2 yards per carry against Kansas City.