Who: Kansas City Chiefs (8-0)
When: Sunday Nov. 3, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.
The Line: Kansas City (-3.5 – 5)
Buffalo Bills Offense vs. Kansas City:
This hinges on whether or not Thad Lewis can go on Sunday. He’s dealing with a rib contusion and some sort of flu virus heading into the weekend. He’s 50-50 at best.
It’s bad enough with him in the lineup (he’s still the backup, after all), but if the Bills are forced to start Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn? Against the NFL’s last unbeaten team and best pass rush? DOOM. DOOM FOR US ALL.
Operating under the assumption that Lewis is starting (mostly because my brain can’t comprehend a situation where one of the other two starts just yet), it’s still going to be tough sledding. He was nearly melded with the Superdome turf when they played the New Orleans Saints last week. Keeping Lewis upright is already an issue, but with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali screaming into the backfield regularly, it will get downright terrifying.
Fortunately, it seems as though C.J. Spiller will be back in the lineup, taking some pressure off of the banged up Fred Jackson. If the Bills can get something going on the ground, it will take pressure off of Lewis and allow him to make some plays. If the run game can’t get going and the Bills fall behind early, we could end up seeing Flynn or Tuel before long.
You know what would really help Lewis out? If Stevie Johnson could make it through a game without hobbling. He gutted out an admirable performance last weekend, but that can’t be expected again. Not if he’s in that bad of shape. Now would be the time for Robert Woods to re-emerge or for T.J. Graham to do something more than catch one deep ball every three weeks.
Someone help out poor Thad before we have to scrape him off the turf.
Key: Offensive line vs DOOM
Bills Defense vs. Kansas City:
On paper, this is one of those matchups that could really help the Bills. Their pass defense is pretty solid now that everyone is healthy and back in the lineup. Not to mention the fact that Alex Smith is merely OK (Game Manager©).
The offense heavily relies on running back Jamaal Charles and they’ll likely try to test the Bills’ mediocre run defense. Buffalo will no doubt stack the box and make Smith beat them; if he gets going, it could spell disaster for the defense.
Getting penetration from the front four and being responsible with running lanes will be the biggest key to shutting down Charles. They cannot let him be effective if they hope to win this one.
Key: Run defense vs Charles
The Bills do a fairly good job limiting Charles, but Smith tops 200 yards and throws three touchdowns.
Spiller has his first 100-yard day in ages.
Four or more sacks on Lewis/whoever for the game.
It still takes a last-second field goal for the Chiefs to pull this one out.
Prediction: 23-20, Kansas City