The NFL season begins on Wednesday, September 5, with the Kansas City Chiefs schedule starting four days later. This article is the second of a series where we walk through the Chiefs’ 2012 opponents on a game-by-game basis to see how the matchup might unfold. A link to the Week 1 walkthrough against the Atlanta Falcons is below. Today we focus on Week 2’s game on the road against the Buffalo Bills.
This is the game the Kansas City running game really has to emerge. Buffalo’s defensive front seven is an absolute sieve. They ranked 28th in the league a year ago and there’s no real reason to think 2012 will be much better. If those of us who are optimistic about the return of running back Jamaal Charles, the signing of offensive tackle Eric Winston and the promotion of young center Rodney Hudson are right, then the Chiefs will obliterate the Bills at the line of scrimmage and control the pace of the game.
Buffalo’s pass defense isn’t bad, but it’s not nearly good enough to hold up when they have to inch closer to protect against the run and get no real help in terms of pressuring the quarterback. This is the second week in a row that Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassell can have a solid game and spread the field out. There’s no reason for the Chiefs offense not to hang 31+ points on the board here.
Defensively this will be a challenge for Kansas City head coach Romeo Crennel. The new boss with the defensive background has his own problems in inheriting a poor rush defense from a year ago. The return of safety Eric Berry from the injured list will help a great deal in run support, but Buffalo is one of those teams you’d prefer to see Berry be able to drop in coverage against. Bills’ receiver Steve Johnson will make new Chiefs’ corner Stanford Routt earn his money and ideally someone like Berry can provide double coverage and enable the mistakes Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can be prone to commit. If the Chiefs can’t at least keep the Bills’ running game, led by veteran Fred Jackson, under reasonable control, this game will turn into a shootout.
Either way, if Kansas City is going to be a good team in 2012, this is one they should win, whether it’s an eye-catching blowout or a big offensive game that’s entertaining, but leaves defensive question marks.
REGULAR SEASON WALK-THROUGHS
Week 1: vs. Atlanta Falcons
Follow me on Twitter @DanFlaherty