The Kansas City Chiefs’ lowest point in the 2017 season–and maybe since head coach Andy Reid arrived in 2013–came last Sunday. Their strong 5-0 start having sputtered out, the Chiefs were still a solid 6-3 coming out of their bye. Playing against an 1-8 New York Giants squad with the 3rd-worst defense in the league seemed like an opportunity. If the Chiefs could dominate the Giants, they had a chance to reverse their momentum. At the end of overtime (yes, the Chiefs went to overtime with the 2017 Giants) the score was 9-12. To emphasize the point, the Kansas City Chiefs scored three field goals against the 3rd-worst defense in the NFL. Obviously the hope is that they fare better against the Buffalo Bills.
With the final quarter of the season looming ahead, the Chiefs need to at least slow their slide this weekend. Reid and quarterback Alex Smith will lead Kansas City against a Bills squad that has had recent difficulties of their own. Luckily for the Chiefs, they will have a home field advantage at Arrowhead Stadium (provided the fans don’t turn on them). As always, a look at each team’s pressure points should help give an idea of how they will seek to best each other.
For the first time since Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City, the Chiefs look dysfunctional as a unit. Not only was the execution on both sides of the ball lacking, but so was the spirit of the team. It would be a stretch to say that the Chiefs locker room has suddenly become toxic, but the camaraderie that Chiefs fans have grown used to was nowhere to be seen against the Giants. This is probably due to the morale hit due to their slide, so the Chiefs are going to need to win or their team dynamic will only get worse.
Between the offense and the defense, it’s obvious that the scheme and the play calling are failing Kansas City. The Chiefs have one of the league’s fastest players on offense in Tyreek Hill. They have one of the most destructive pass rushers in recent memory, Justin Houston, in their defensive lineup. Yet they haven’t been seeing anywhere near peak production from their talented players. It’s time for the Chiefs to get their act together and make things happen (and tight end reverse pass plays do not count).
The Bills haven’t had a truly top-tier quarterback since Jim Kelly, but they at least had stability at the position over the last few years with Tyrod Taylor under center. Last week they started Nathan Peterman, who threw five first-half interceptions. Even starting Taylor this Sunday, Buffalo will be dealing with some cohesion issues of their own.
Kansas City’s pass rush has been anemic this year, generating just 19 sacks through 10 games. In the same time, Buffalo has gotten to their opponents’ quarterbacks only 15 times. If the Chiefs are going to get any respite this season, it will be against a defensive unit that shouldn’t challenge their weak offensive line.