STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
RB LeSean McCoy is coming off a 114-yard game where he broke a pair of long runs, and with 709 yards he's back on track in his march toward 1,000 for the season.
K Stephen Hauschka is the new NFL record-holder for consecutive made field goals from 50 yards and beyond at 13, six of those coming this season for Buffalo.
WR Kelvin Benjamin did not practice Wednesday due to a knee injury and it's unlikely he'll play Sunday.
WR Jordan Matthews continues to nurse a knee injury and did not practice.
RB Mike Tolbert missed last week's game and Wednesday's practice with a knee injury.
LT Cordy Glenn is still not practicing due to foot and ankle problems. He has played only six games this season.
RG John Miller has been inactive for more than half the season, but last week was the first time he was out because of an injury, and he did not practice Wednesday.
LT Dion Dawkins was sick on Wednesday and was held out of work.
TE Charles Clay is still getting Wednesdays off because he is coming back from knee surgery. He has played in the last two games.
Tyrod Taylor is back in the starting lineup, and he will certainly have a chip on his shoulder as he faces the Kansas City Chiefs. He was essentially benched for only a half last week in Los Angeles due to Nathan Peterman's implosion, and now Taylor is starting once again. He goes against a Kansas City defense that has struggled across the board as it ranks dead last in first downs allowed, 28th in total yards, 29th in rushing and 28th in passing. In other words, bad. Taylor should be able to make plays in the passing game, and use his legs to scramble for additional yardage against a team that has had a tough time stopping people.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: If RB Mike Tolbert can't play, that may not be such a bad thing for the Buffalo offense. The Bills signed RB Travaris Cadet a couple weeks ago, and he made his Bills debut last week against the Chargers. Tolbert is not much of a threat as a runner or receiver, but Cadet, in the right situations, could be a key man when LeSean McCoy needs a breather. In particular, Cadet has always been a good pass-catcher out of the backfield, a skill that is particularly useful in the Buffalo pass offense. He has 111 career receptions with the Saints, Patriots, 49ers, Jets and Bills.
The Bills have to get their act together on offense, and they will have a better chance to do so with Tyrod Taylor back in at quarterback. Taylor may not be the long-term answer, but he's the best option on the roster, and he should be able to make some plays against a sagging Kansas City defense that is struggling in all areas. One key will be for the Bills to run the ball more effectively, especially on first down, something that has been a big problem in recent weeks. Taylor may not have either starting WR Kelvin Benjamin or Jordan Matthews, so the run game will be critical this week.
The Buffalo defense is in shambles. The Bills have allowed 135 points in the last three games, the most in franchise history for a three-game stretch. The Bills can't stop the run, they can't stop the pass, they can't rush the quarterback, and now they come up against a Kansas City offense that has explosive players, albeit players who have struggled lately. The Bills must shut down RB Kareem Hunt and get Chiefs QB Alex Smith into a one-dimensional game. And if they do that, they have to make sure they have two defenders on TE Travis Kelce who has the potential to hurt them badly. Also, they don't have enough speed to stay with WR Tyreek Hill, unless they have CB Tre'Davious White travel with him, something White has done this season.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Bills safeties vs. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce. The one matchup problem the Bills most fear is Kelce running down the middle of the field. If the Chiefs manage to get him matched up with a linebacker, the Bills are in big, big trouble because none of their linebackers have the athleticism to cover Kelce. Thus, they will have to make sure Jordan Poyer or Micah Hyde is on Kelce, and even then, Kelce will have a notable size advantage.
Bills RT Jordan Mills vs. Chiefs OLB Justin Houston. Houston may not quite be the player he once was, but he'll be a handful for Mills, the Bills' very ordinary right tackle. Mills was abused by Joey Bosa of the Chargers and pressure was paramount on at least three of Nathan Peterman's interceptions, plus Bosa forced a Tyrod Taylor fumble on a sack which was returned for a touchdown.