The game of the week is finally upon us. Originally this game was going to be last Thursday but due to 2020 being 2020, it was moved to Monday Evening Football. Both the Bills and Chiefs are coming off a loss where it appears they were looking ahead. Neither team wants to have a two game losing streak this early in the season. This game is a key early season matchup that might impact who gets a first round bye in the playoffs.
When the Bills Play Offense
The Bills passing attack has been one of the best in the NFL so far led by the worst QB in the NFL in Josh Allen. Through five weeks, Allen was the second leading passer, second in touchdown passers and more impressive, only has thrown one! interception. Brian Daboll, who some wanted fired after last year for “reasons”, has done a masterful job scheming the passing game around Allen’s abilities by using more quick passes and limiting the deep shots. Daboll has also done a goo job scheming guys open and giving Allen a better picture of what he is seeing in front of him. The offensive line has been playing at a top 10 level as Allen is hardly seeing pressure.
Last week against the Titans was where Allen took a slight step back (though the other 3 AFCE teams would gladly take that performance) as he finally threw his first interception and the offense struggled to score 20 points. The Titans took an interesting approach of running primarily zone coverage so the advantage of the Bills receivers would be mitigated. The loss of John Brown hurt the Bills the most last week as without his speed, Daboll could not scheme the passing attack as well as it has been the past few week. Outside of Diggs, the Bills had no receiver that could scare the Titans deep and they didn’t do a good job attacking the zone by sitting in the holes zone coverage created. I expect the Chiefs to run a lot of zone coverage to mitigate what the Bills do best. If John Brown is healthy, I expect the vertical passing attack will be featured as the lack of it really stunted the offense last week. The Chiefs are horrible against the deep pass, shown last week when Deep Ball Denier Derek Carr actually threw the ball deep with success. Allen is a better QB than Derek Carr (though that isn’t saying much) so he should have those opportunities to take shots deep with Diggs and Brown.
While the pass game has been really good, the run game has been equally as bad. It is a polar opposite of last year (2020 in a nutshell) as last year the run game carried the pass game but now the roles have been reversed. Despite having pretty much the same line as last year (and an upgrade at RT), the offensive line has struggled to create a push up the middle. Every run up the middle has led to a 1 or 2 yard gain and Singletary has had to make things happen on the outside runs. The run game looked its worst last week as the Titans played a lot of contain to keep Allen in the pocket who right now is the only player that is able to make things happen despite the bad run blocking. The Chiefs have the 2nd worst rush defense (behind only the Texans) and are giving up five yards a carry. If there is any week to kickstart the run game, this would be the week as keeping the ball away from the Chiefs offense would be a good idea. I believe the Bills will try to get Allen involved in some designed run plays to keep the defense honest and try to run on the outside where they have the most success. I don’t expect the Bills to all of a sudden have a great rushing attack, but just enough to keep opponents honest.
When the Bills Play Defense
The defense has been another example of 2020 being 2020 as what was a top 5 defense last year has been one of the worst in the NFL this year. The linebackers have taken a step back as AJ Klein is just a warm body at this point and Edmunds has regressed without Matt Milano being out there all the time. The secondary took a step back as they replaced Kevin Johnson with Josh Norman and Levi Wallace went from slot corner to outside corner where he is not a fit for. Norman is not as good as Johnson (Johnson signed with Cleveland for 3.5 million, Norman signed for 6 million) and the depth is lacking as Taron Johnson is not even good enough to play for the Jets. Usually the Bills are able to scheme around Tre White who locks up one side of the field and lets the Bills roll coverage elsewhere. That is not working this year as with Milano being out and the backup LBs not even worth playing, the middle of the field is free real estate. I expect the Chiefs to continue the trend of attacking the middle of the field with Kelce and the Bills really won’t have an answer for it. Tre White being back (hopefully) will help the secondary out but right now our third string CB is Taron Johnson which does not help when we go in nickel sets. Mahomes will have a nice game in fantasy.
The run defense for the Bills is not as bad ranking wise and are middle of the pack. Star opting out has hurt in general as he was able to take up blockers to help the linebackers. Pressure wise the Bills are middle of the pack with 12 sacks but the issue has been getting pressure but not finishing the deal. Jerry Hughes is having Clowney syndrome where he gets a lot of pressure but doesn’t finish the deal. However, the Bills should not try to add more pressure with blitzes since that is not a good idea against Mahomes. The Chiefs will use their run game like the Bills do and just use it to keep defenses honest. The Bills will need to generate pressure with just the front four as the back seven will be needed in the coverage game. The Chiefs will probably get around 80-100 yards rushing which will be a 4th of what they will get passing.
The Bills and Chiefs on offense are surprisingly built similar with two very similar QBs in playstyle. Both teams don’t really care about the run game and have stocked up on receiving options to take advantage of it being a passing league. The Bills have the advantage at WR but the Chiefs have the advantage of TE so we will call it a draw. The key will be which defense makes a key stop first as that will determine who wins. If the Bills had fans at the game (thanks 2020) I could say that makes a difference but right now I will say the Chiefs are slightly better. Hope I’m wrong.
Chiefs: 40 Bills: 38
In Other News
The Jets might be the worst team in NFL history. The team has no motivation to play and they are starting to trade players away. The Jets need to fire Gase and Gregg Williams as both of them are destroying the Jets.
Also the University of North Carolina was the most fake top 5 team this season as they lost to the worst FSU team in 40+ years. Losing to this FSU team should guarantee your coach gets fired.