The Bills take on the Chiefs at 1p.m. Watch for highlights on EWN at 6 & 11p.m. with Eyewitness Sports Director Jeff Russo and Shawn Stepner on Channel 7, Your Official Station Of The Buffalo Bills.
Here is the latest on the matchups from Buffalo Bills.com
Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Demetrius Bell vs. Tamba Hali – Hali established himself as a premier pass rusher in 2010 with 14.5 sacks, second in the NFL to only Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware. He had 1.5 sacks in last year’s matchup against the Bills. Bell’s new found consistency will have to be at its best Sunday.
2 – Eric Wood vs. Kelly Gregg – Wood has returned full time to his natural position in the pivot, and he faces a solid test in the underrated nose tackle, whom Kansas City signed in free agency from Baltimore. For those that like the trench battles, this is one to watch.
3 – Terrence McGee vs. Dwayne Bowe – The Chiefs top wideout led the league in TD catches with 15 last season and is tough to defend on jump balls with his size and strength. McGee usually doesn’t get enough credit for his physical strength in these matchups, but he’ll only go against him part time as he’ll shift to the slot in nickel packages with Leodis McKelvin or Drayton Florence drawing Bowe as an assignment.
Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good advantage - 3rd down defense – The reason the Bills pushed last year’s game against the Chiefs to overtime was their effectiveness on third down defensively. Kansas City managed just 4-15 third down conversions in what was a five quarter game (overtime). The Chiefs ranked a below average 20th in third down percentage in 2010.
Best advantage - Pass defense – Buffalo’s third-ranked pass defense of a season ago gets zero credit because most assume that with teams able to run at will on the Bills they never had to pass. While there is some validity to that contention, Buffalo’s defensive backfield with a subpar pass rush still allowed the sixth fewest pass plays of 25 yards or more (23) in 2010. And they capably held the Chiefs’ main threats in check last season. With an improved pass rush in 2011 with Shawne Merriman back to form, the secondary should not only have an easier go of it, but possibly some opportunities for takeaways.
Bills Number 1 Must
Neutralize Charles – Jamaal Charles is the engine of the Chiefs’ offense, which doesn’t play high risk football. Buffalo will have to get to set the edge quickly to contain one of the fastest backs in football and gang tackle. If they can hold him to around 100 yards from scrimmage, they have a very good chance of posting a win in the opener.
The Chiefs will never confirm it, but there are reports that Cassel sustained a cracked rib in Kansas City’s preseason finale against Green Bay when Packers DT Howard Green came down on him with his full body weight. Cassel is expected to play, but getting hits on him early could render him ineffective. If he does in fact have a cracked rib, getting the proper hip torque on his passes could prove difficult, which may affect Kansas City’s downfield pass plays.
Before the season even started the Chiefs lost a free agent acquisition on defense and a weapon on offense for the year. LB Brandon Siler, who signed with Kansas City after playing for the Chargers the past couple of seasons, was lost for the year after tearing his Achilles. He was expected to be a reserve linebacker and valuable special teamer.
Moeaki’s loss could prove more detrimental. The team’s starting tight end, Moeaki suffered a torn ACL in the preseason and he too is on injured reserve. He had 47 catches and three touchdowns as a rookie last season.
Rookie WR Jonathan Baldwin is also not expected to be available this week with a thumb injury.
The Chiefs will no doubt be looking to protect the ball in 2011 as well as they did last season. Despite the fact that Kansas City ran the ball more than anyone last season (556 rushes) they lost just six fumbles in 2010. Combined with eight interceptions, the Chiefs had the second fewest giveaways in the league last year (14). Only New England (10) had fewer.
The league’s number one rushing offense a year ago added a valuable piece to their ground game this past offseason. Known primarily as a perimeter run team due to the speed of Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs diversified their rushing attack by signing free agent FB Le’Ron McClain.
McClain is expected to help Kansas City’s inside run production, Known as a premier lead blocker in the league he gives the Chiefs something they haven’t had in their offensive backfield in a while.
Coaches feel more comfortable with players they know and Todd Haley is no different. The Chiefs head coach successfully recruited a receiver he had when he was offensive coordinator in Arizona in free agency. Steve Breaston signed with Kansas City this offseason and is expected to be the Chiefs number two receiver opposite Dwayne Bowe.
Breaston averaged over 15 yards a catch last season for Arizona with 718 yards on 47 catches including a touchdown.
A year prior Haley successfully recruited another former Arizona receiver to come to Kansas City in Jerehme Urban, who runs as the team’s fourth wideout.
Quote of the week
“I want to win them all, but when you’ve been somewhere and they fired you? Yeah, if you said it didn’t mean a little more you’d be lying. But I want to win them all. This is one of 16. I want to be 1-and-0 when this is over.”
--Head coach Chan Gailey
Stat of the week
The Chiefs were the fifth-highest scoring team in the second quarter last season with 137 points. The Bills allowed their opponents to score a league-high 166 points in the second quarter in 2010.
Milestones in reach
Ryan Fitzpatrick needs 21 completions for 700 in his career.
Fred Jackson needs 37 yards from scrimmage for 4,000 in his career.
Chris Kelsay needs a half sack to break a tie with Fred Smerlas for 10th on the team’s all-time sack chart.
Stevie Johnson needs six receptions to reach 100 in his career.
The Bills have won three of their last four meetings with the Chiefs including two of the last three in Kansas City