Three things on my mind as the Bills get ready for their epic clash with the defending champs…
Gotta Get There
The Bills entered week six third in the NFL for blitz percentage. All those blitzes have netted Buffalo the fourth worst percentage of pressures on opposing quarterbacks. Failed blitzes against the Chiefs conclude with the ball in your end zone.
A big reason the Raiders picked off KC last week was because the Raiders were able to get pressure by just rushing four. Pressure doesn’t have to be sacks or a fury of D-linemen collapsing the pocket. All it has to be is making Patrick Mahomes uncomfortable. Get him off his spot. Get him moving. I know he’s a danger ad-libbing out of the pocket, but he’s a danger in the pocket, too. At least the former gives him something else to worry about.
This has to be a game where Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison and probably/especially Ed Oliver have an impact in the pass rush. I counted three pressures for the Bills last Tuesday in 30-plus dropbacks by Ryan Tannehill. Three! If this week is a repeat, then the embarrassing loss will also likely be repeated.
Go Deep, Young Man
Let’s stay with the ‘Raiders win as a blueprint’ thing for a sec. Of the Raiders seven scoring drives in Kansas City last week, five featured a play of 40 yards or longer. A sixth scoring drive was set up by an interception return to the Chiefs two yard line.
The Bills have proven very good on third and a variety of distances. They are also very capable of the 15-plus play drive and can have those against the Chiefs. I just don’t think that should be the gameplan. The Chiefs D isn’t great, but they are 15th in the league for third down and red zone defense. Give them enough chances and they’ll get off the field.
I’d like to see the Bills take multiple shots straight down the field. This hasn’t been their M.O. so far. Outside the Dolphins game, they have one play of more than 40 yards. John Brown’s return would make this easier, but that shouldn’t matter. Shorten the field on offense and if you hit a few, you might even get Andy Reid wondering if his defense has a fatal flaw. Even the champs aren’t above getting rattled.
MVP Or Bust
In week two, the Chargers held KC to just 20 points in regulation. Rookie Justin Herbert, in his NFL debut, went 22 of 33 for 311 yards. He had one touchdown against just one interception. It still wasn’t good enough to win.
Josh Allen has gotta have a big game. It may not need to be the 400 yard masterpiece from Miami, but it’s gotta be way better than Tuesday’s trip to Meh-Ville.
The Bills can’t be counted on to run successfully against even the NFL’s worst run defenses. So, must live and die with the passing game. Injuries aside, it’s hard to imaging a Bills win that doesn’t end with Allen being thrust right back into the MVP conversation.
The Bills are doing a lot of the right things and they are heading in the right direction. The problem is the Chiefs have been doing all of those right things for a lot longer and a lot more consistently. They can beat the Bills at their own game.
No doubt, the return of Matt Milano and Tre’Davious White will help a ton with Buffalo’s coverage ability. However, both played against the Rams and L.A. spent the entire second half running their PAT team on and off the field.
There will be no surprise if the Bills win the game. They have proven the tools are there to compete with and beat the Chiefs. It’s just hard to predict such a win, especially after KC got a “waking up” last week from the Raiders. (To be fair, the Mahomes Chiefs have lost back to back games once in each of his first two seasons). I’ll swim with the current and take KC 35-24.