Any source that you consult about Sunday’s matchup between the Bills and Chiefs will most likely indicate that the Kansas City Chiefs are the favored team to win this Week 1 game. With a recent history between these two teams, the Bills look to avenge a devastating overtime loss from last season. Although counted as the underdog, it would not be a wise move to entirely write the Bills off to begin their 2011 campaign 1-0.
Bills Run Defense
The Bills run defense should serve as no surprise as room for improvement after failing to assemble a substantial unit last season. That being said, the Bills rush defense is the most critical element of the defensive gameplan for Sunday’s matchup at Arrowhead Stadium. Facing the Chiefs in week 1 could prove to be one of the strongest running games that the Bills will line up against all season long. It is nearly an impossible task for any defense to eliminate the threat of Jamaal Charles, however the Bills will focus on limiting his damage throughout the afternoon. With the collaborative efforts that have been put forth by Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, and the rest of the front seven, look for a transformed defense to take the field against the Chiefs.
Bills Pass Protection
After perfecting the “offensive line shuffle” Coach Gailey has finally projected his starting five pillars that he will rely upon to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick upright against a vicious Kansas City defense. The aggressive mentality of the Chiefs defense can be highlighted by none other than the play of their Pro Bowl linebacker, Tamba Hali. Hali dominated opposing offensive lines in 2010 while he led the AFC in the sack department as he finished the season with 14.5 sacks. The Bills offensive line will need to respect the versatility of Hali, as he is able to acquire the favorable matchup by lining up at different spots along the offensive line. Expect Buffalo’s offense to counter the success of Hali by placing Fred Jackson in the backfield to block for Fitzpatrick out of the shotgun. If Buffalo decides to rely heavily on the aerial attack, it will be necessary to neutralize Hali in order to create enough time for Ryan Fitzpatrick to distribute the ball.
Executing the Wildcat
To some football fans, the Wildcat offense may come across as trivial, however Buffalo has an opportunity to enforce an exotic offense that creates game changing moments. The dedication to the Wildcat can be directly linked to the offseason addition of Brad Smith and his offensive versatility that he offers. The Bills have flashed various looks out of the Wildcat throughout the preseason that often produced first downs and favorable matchups. I am not saying that the Wildcat should be implemented as the Bills primary offense, rather I am illustrating that Brad Smith, Fred Jackson, and C.J. Spiller present match up problems for the defense because of their elite speed and play making ability out of the Wildcat. If the Bills can properly utilize the Wildcat against the Chiefs, it will ultimately continue to produce first downs and rest a defensive unit that will be aggressively attacking Matt Cassel and company on Sunday. Although the Bills Wildcat offense has already been revealed, look for new wrinkles to be implemented on Sunday that have intentionally not been rehearsed in the preseason.
I believe that the Bills possess the necessary talent to walk into Arrowhead and steal the season opener from the Kansas City Chiefs. It will be a close game between the two teams, but Buffalo will come away with the victory 27-24. Ultimately, I am not concerned with how the Bills produce a win against Kansas City, I just want them to open the season 1-0.