Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Ralph Wilson Stadium – Orchard Park, New York
Sunday, November 9, 2014, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Kansas City -1 (-115)
Current Line: Kansas City -1 (-115)
Opening Total: 43
Current Total: 42
Opening Money Line: Chiefs -130 / Bills +110
Current Money Line: Chiefs -125 / Bills +105
Midway through the NFL season, the AFC Wild Card race is a jumbled mess. Seven teams are either 6-3, 5-3 or 5-3-1. Two of those teams meet Sunday as the 5-3 Kansas City Chiefs travel to the 5-3 Buffalo Bills in a key contest. Kansas City currently holds the #6 seed and final playoff spot in the AFC and Buffalo would currently be out of the playoffs. Obviously we still have a long way to go though.
Since 2001, Buffalo leads the series 5-4 against Kansas City. By a schedule quirk, this is the seventh straight season that Buffalo and Kansas City have played. That doesn’t usually happen with non-division rivals. The Chiefs travel to Buffalo for the third straight season. Kansas City won last year 23-13.
Kansas City is coached by Andy Reid. After an 0-2 start, Kansas City has won 5 of their last 6 games including 3 straight. The Chiefs have a home loss to the Tennessee Titans 26-10 and road losses at the Denver Broncos 24-17 and San Francisco 49ers 22-17. Kansas City has road wins over the Miami Dolphins 34-15 and San Diego Chargers 23-20, along with home wins over the New England Patriots 41-14, St. Louis Rams 34-7 and last week against the New York Jets 24-10. The Chiefs are 6-2 ATS and the total is 2-6 this season. Kansas City was a 9.5 point favorite against the Jets and the total was 41.5.
Buffalo is coached by Doug Marrone. The Bills have home losses to the Chargers 22-10 and Patriots 37-22, along with a road loss at the Houston Texans 23-17. Buffalo has road wins at the Chicago Bears 23-20 in overtime, Detroit Lions 17-14, and two weeks ago against the Jets 43-23. The Bills have home wins over the Dolphins 29-10 and Minnesota Vikings 17-16. Buffalo is 4-4 ATS and the total is 2-6 this season. The Bills were 3 point underdogs against the Jets and the total was 40.
Kansas City is outscoring teams 25-17 this season. The Chiefs are #2 in points allowed. Kansas City is averaging 338 yards per game including 201 passing and 137 rushing yards per game. The Chiefs are #6 in rushing and #29 in passing out of 32 teams. On defense, KC is allowing 316 yards per game including 199 passing and 116 rushing. The Chiefs are #5 in total defense and lead the league in pass defense. Kansas City is 57/110 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 36/107. The Chiefs have forced 27 sacks and allowed 19 this season. Kansas City is -2 in turnovers this season. The Chiefs have 2 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith has completed 67.1% of his passes for 1,692 yards with 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions along with 27 carries for 162 yards. Running back Jamaal Charles has 98 carries for 435 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 17 catches for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. Knile Davis has 102 carries for 410 yards and 4 touchdowns along with 9 catches for 52 yards. He also has a kick return for a touchdown. Tight end Travis Kelce has 32 catches for 419 yards with 4 touchdowns. Receiver Dwayne Bowe has 31 catches for 398 yards. Tight end Anthony Fasano has 19 catches for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. Donnie Avery has 14 catches for 156 yards, but is out indefinitely with a groin injury. Seven defensive players are questionable to out Sunday for Kansas City.
Buffalo is outscoring teams 22-21 this season. The Bills are #7 in points allowed. Buffalo is averaging 327 yards per game including 228 passing and 99 rushing yards per game. On defense, Buffalo is allowing 326 yards per game including 234 passing and 92 rushing yards. The Bills are #8 in both total and rushing defense. Buffalo is 42/117 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 44/121. The Bills have forced 28 sacks and allowed 23 this season. Buffalo is +7 in turnovers. The Bills have one special teams touchdown and has allowed 2 defensive touchdowns.
Buffalo quarterback Kyle Orton took over for the ineffective E.J. Manuel. Orton has completed 67.4% of his passes for 1,128 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Manuel threw for 838 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and rushed for 52 yards with a touchdown.
Running backs Fred Jackson (groin) and C.J. Spiller (broken collarbone) are both battling injuries. Jackson is questionable to return this week, but Spiller is likely out for the season. Jackson has 239 rushing yards with a touchdown along with 33 catches for 261 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Dixon has been the feature back without Jackson and Spiller. Dixon has 49 carries for 181 yards, along with 3 catches.
Injuries have also hit the Bills’ receiving corps hard. Four Buffalo receivers are listed on the injury report including the top two targets Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. Watkins is questionable with a groin injury, and Woods is probable with a back injury. Watkins has 38 catches for 590 yards and 5 touchdowns. Woods has 28 catches for 294 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Scott Chandler has 23 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown. Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report.
Kansas City is 5-0 ATS against AFC teams, 6-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards and overall, 4-1 against teams with winning home records, after a cover and against teams with winning records, 10-3 in road games, and 3-8 after allowing 15 points or less. The favorite is 6-2 ATS in this series recently. The road team has covered 5 of the last 6 games in this series.
Buffalo is 4-0 ATS after allowing 150 rushing yards or more, 10-24 against teams with winning road records, 7-18-1 after a cover, 9-24-1 after a straight up win, 1-4 after scoring 30 points or more and after a straight up win of 14 points or more, and 1-6 after rushing for less than 90 yards. The under is 9-3 ATS in this series recently. Buffalo is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 games against Kansas City.
Both of these teams have strong defenses and adequate offenses. Buffalo has a ton of injuries especially at the skill positions. Still, I think Buffalo finds a way to win as the home dog in a low scoring game.