First and Five against the Chiefs
I’d like to introduce myself as a new writer for the Buffalo Bills. Each week I will break down the upcoming game and list the five key components that the Buffalo Bills will need to accomplish in order to mark a tally in the win column. This week, the Bills head off against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Ralph.
1- Must win the turnover battle.
The Bills’ biggest weakness against the New York Jets was their inability to win the turnover battle. The Bills defense only managed one interception that took place in the first quarter by Bryan Scott. To make matters worse, the offense was invisible as they failed to get anything going until garbage time. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three key interceptions that stopped the Bills before they were able to get started. Not only did he throw three interceptions, the Jets scored 21 points off of those turnovers. While I’ve given up hope that Fitzpatrick can be consistent, the defense can salvage what went wrong last week as they go up against a quarterback who threw three picks himself in week one. Matt Cassel has struggled since he moved out West and he is already struggling in 2012. The front seven must create pressure and get to Cassel in order to help the secondary gain some confidence back before it is too late.
2- Stop third down conversions.
If there was any good to come from the Jets game, it was that the Bills were humbled early. Had the Bills won against the Jets, I would have said this game against the Chiefs was a trap game but now it is a must win. Now the Bills have the loss out of the way and they can go back to being invisible in the media, which is when they seem to perform the best. The Bills can focus on what the Chiefs did well in week one and plan how to stop it. Surprisingly, the Chiefs were able to convert 11 of their 16 third down conversions. One thing the Bills can plan on is passing on third and long. Of the sixteen third down conversions, eight of those involved 6 or more yards. The Chiefs threw the ball on all six of those with 5 of 7 completions. One thorn in the side of Buffalo, is their failure to stop the ball on third down. The Jets converted 10 of their 14 third down conversions giving them the highest conversion percentage in the league for week one on third down.
3- C.J. Spiller needs to find holes.
The bright spot of the game against the Jets was the spectacular play by C.J. Spiller. Spiller has proved that he can step up when necessary and take the place of Fred Jackson. Last week, Spiller ran for 169 yards and recorded a touchdown with an average of 12.1 yards per carry. The offensive line has the ability to create holes and, with the inconsistency of Fitzpatrick, and the lack of depth at wide receiver, the Bills can stay in the game if Spiller is able to run on the Chiefs. It won’t be easy, as the Chiefs held the Atlanta Falcons to only 84 rushing yards despite their huge 40-24 win over the Chiefs. If Spiller can create room on the ground, it should build some confidence in the young receivers out on the field.
4- Mario Williams needs to perform better than Tambi Hali
As The Chiefs anticipate the return of suspended pass rusher Tambi Hali, the Bills are trying to ignore the excuses that Mario Williams provided after the game against the Jets. Williams had a stellar performance recording one measly tackle with no sacks, and then went on to whine about getting punched in the mouth illegally. You can bet Williams will hear his first round of boos loud and clear at Ralph Wilson Stadium this weekend if fans don’t see Cassel on the ground. The Bills defense has shown signs of success against the Chiefs in recent years. Cassel has played eight times against the Bills, throwing five interceptions, so Williams needs to stop whining and create pressure in order to force turnovers and help the offense. With Hali being back on the field, it should pressure Williams to step up and perform. If he doesn’t, than Bills fans may have to begin accepting the reality of the statements made by Rodney Harrison this week.
5- Stevie Johnson needs to be a leader.
Many critics question whether Stevie Johnson is a number one receiver in the NFL. After last weeks’ showing, that question still looms. With the season ending injury of David Nelson, Stevie can no longer hide behind the group anymore. He needs to step up and he needs to motivate the young guys he has below him. Still nursing a nagging groin injury, Johnson must fight through the pain and lead the charge, as they say in Buffalo, by scoring points and making up for any of Fitzpatrick’s mistakes. Of the other four wide receiver options, Donald Jones, Ruvell Martin, T.J. Graham, and Brad Smith have a combined total six years experience with the Bills and combined career total of ten touchdowns. It can be assumed that the Chiefs will be focusing mainly on Spiller and the run, so if the wide receivers can sneak up on the Chiefs and put points on the board, the Bills will win in week two.
Do you think there are other things the Bills need to focus on in week two that are more important? I’d love to hear your opinions. You can also find my articles on twitter @christynepolle.