Anybody who monitored the Buffalo Bills-Baltimore Ravens game knows that the winless Bills didn’t make it easy for the Ravens in Baltimore. Having Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm prevents the Bills from being the pushover that they have been at the beginning of the season. I can’t call the Bills a pushover anymore but the Vindication of Last Year’s Garbage Losses Tour is still rolling and the Kansas City Chiefs will try to avenge last year’s 16-10 loss in Week 14 in Arrowhead. Also, if you have a strong stomach, dare to remember the 54-30 loss to the Bills in Arrowhead in 2008. I paid good money to have memories from that year professionally removed but, thankfully, much of that pain is gone.
I cannot believe how well the running game is working for the Chiefs. The three-headed monster was firing on all cylinders in this game and teams are not stopping them. This running success certainly wouldn’t be possible without a great offensive line. Every member of the Chiefs’ OL has shown that he can create running lanes and has prevented Matt Cassel from being touched thus far.
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Look around at the best teams in the NFL. Sure, the teams with the best QB’s are up there but running the football is not as dead as I thought it was. The Chiefs aren’t far back in the NFL ranks from the best teams in football: the Steelers, Jets, Ravens and Titans, all of which can run the ball well. The way the AFC is, Matt Cassel may not have to be Peyton Manning or Tom Brady but he has to be competent as Ben Roethlisberger, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco and Vince Young have been. I think he is in that company.
Todd Haley’s gambles were not a point of controversy this week. However, they may just be something Chiefs fans will have to live with yet Haley might be onto something says Kent Babb. I agree that Haley might have the numbers on his side on fourth and short in some cases but surprise onside kicks should be attempted as a result of something seen on game film and not because the odds gleaned from a small sample pool say that attempting an onside kick is a good idea. I agree with KCSP’s Nick Wright and his belief that Haley goes beyond playing the percentages. That said, the Chiefs have a gambler for a coach and we just have to deal with it. His job may depend on how much more he ends up being a genius than an idiot. I am impressed with the job Haley has done so far this year.
Kansas City Chiefs 42, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
Yes, the running game is working well but please don’t take a time out and then run on 3rd and 5. C’mon, Charlie Weis!….Dwayne Bowe was in top form this week. D-Bowe is better than a hot-cold player; he is an enigma and he might be a star. He can also block well….Those pass interference calls on Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry were total BS (yes, Rich Gannon, they were looking for the ball) but the current rules in place heavily favor the offense. If the Chiefs throw the ball a little more, they will get those calls too….Tamba Hali came back and he eventually led the charge to wear Todd Bouman down. Oh, Hali is really awesome, too….Derrick Johnson had one pick-six but he could have had two. Todd Bouman managed to thwart Eric Berry’s winding attempt at getting a pick-six of his own….Mike Vrabel still has value to the Chiefs but why not put Andy Studebaker in on the majority of passing downs? It seems necessary at this point because Vrabel can’t cover anybody lately.
Today’s game: The Bills vs. the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium
The Bills are a lot like the Jaguars but they have a better quarterback in Fitzpatrick. If Bouman scored on the Chiefs, Fitzpatrick should put some points on the board as well. If the Chiefs can manage to build a lead on the Bills, they won’t find themselves in the same bind as the Ravens did. That means the Chiefs have to extend drives and take care of the ball. The Bills are going to be focused on Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones but the run should set up the pass. Even if the Chiefs end up behind, the Bills’ bad defense will let them back in.
I will be watching the right guard position (either a dinged up Ryan Lilja, questionable for Sunday, or a promising Jon Asamoah will be playing there), Javier Arenas (he’s due for a big return and he is key in the nickel formation) and the fullback position (perhaps Tim Castille should be the fullback this week). I would like to see Dexter McCluster on the field but I don’t think he will be playing at all today or for a while. Bummer.
Here it is, my prediction: Chiefs 35 Bills 27
Game Day Update 1, 10:30am CT: per Josh Looney’s Twitter, Ryan Lilja and Dexter McCluster are out for today’s game. Also out are Bates. Langford. Anderson. Cole. Toribio. Simoneau