Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Prediction, preview, pick to win

By The Sports Xchange
Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Photo by John Sommers II /UPI
Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Photo by John Sommers II /UPI | License Photo


KICKOFF: Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Arrowhead Stadium. TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl (field reporter).


SERIES HISTORY: 169th regular-season meeting. Giants lead series, 98-66-4. The Giants have split the series the last two years. The Giants, who last played on Thanksgiving in 2009 (a 26-6 loss to the Broncos), are 7-4-3 in Thanksgiving games.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Expect the Chiefs to establish the ground game early with Kareem Hunt, but don't sleep on quarterback Alex Smith taking shots deep to wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce.

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The Chiefs' defense struggles at times against mobile quarterbacks, which makes containing Tyrod Taylor a priority. Look for the Chiefs to focus on the running game and force Taylor to beat them with his arm.


Kansas City's pass rush runs through linebacker Justin Houston, whose ability to win one-on-one matchups forces double-teams that free up teammates. The Chiefs must contain Taylor in the pocket and keep him from scrambling for big gains.

And make no mistake about it: Taylor will be calling the signals for the Bills after last week's debacle with rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman. His NFL debut was an absolute nightmare, and Bills coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday that he is going back to Taylor.

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Taylor gives the Bills the best chance to win and to get back on track as the season makes the turn for the homestretch and the postseason. But he has his hands full.

During their three-game losing streak, the Bills have dropped to 27th in yards gained, 30th in passing yards, 29th in first downs, 28th in sacks per pass attempt and 19th in scoring. It will be up to Taylor and running back LeSean McCoy to re-energize the offense as they face a struggling Chiefs defense that ranks last in first downs, 28th in yards, 29th in rushing and 28th in passing.



--Chiefs TE Travis Kelce vs. Bills safeties. 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 trouble because none of their linebackers have the athleticism to cover Kelce. Thus, they'll have to make sure Jordan Poyer or Micah Hyde is on Kelce. Even then, Kelce will have a notable size advantage.

--Bills RT Jordan Mills vs. Chiefs DE 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 in at least three of Nathan Peterman's interceptions, plus Bosa forced Tyrod Taylor to fumble on a sack, and the fumble was returned for a touchdown.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Chiefs CB Darrelle Revis. The Chiefs signed the veteran defensive back Wednesday, adding a seasoned defender to the secondary. Revis brings experience with the Chiefs' defensive scheme. He excelled with the New York Jets under defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, who holds the same position now with the Chiefs. Revis is a seven-time Pro Bowler who knows how to win -- he won a Super Bowl with New England in 2014 -- and should be a steadying influence in the locker room. Coach Andy Reid did not rule out getting Revis on the field on Sunday.


FAST FACTS: Bills QB Tyrod Taylor threw for one score and ran for another last week after replacing rookie starter Nathan Peterman. He has nine games with a passing and a rushing touchdown since 2015, the third most in the league. ... RB LeSean McCoy had 114 yards on the ground and two touchdowns (one via a pass) last week. He is tied for the most 100- yard rushing games since entering the league in 2009, with 36. He ranks fourth in the AFC with 974 yards from scrimmage. ... WR Brandon Tate had a receiving touchdown in his last game against the Chiefs as a member of the Bengals on Oct. 4, 2015. ... DE Jerry Hughes had two sacks last time the teams met on Nov. 9, 2014. ... LB Preston Brown had a team-high 13 tackles last week. He is tied for third in the AFC with 83 tackles. ... S Jordan Poyer has more than 10 tackles in two straight games. He is the only safety with more than 50 tackles (61), two sacks and two interceptions. ... K Stephen Hauschka has converted 13 consecutive 50-yard field goals, the longest streak in NFL history. ... Chiefs QB Alex Smith has 558 passing yards and five touchdowns in the past two home meetings with Buffalo. He hasn't thrown an interception in four straight home games and ranks second in the league, completing 69.4 percent of his passes. ... RB Kareem Hunt leads the AFC and ranks second in the NFL with 1,208 yards from scrimmage. He has more than 100 yards in three of the past four home games. ... TE Travis Kelce had 109 receiving yards last week and now has 11 games of more than 100 yards since 2015, most among tight ends. He has recorded a touchdown in three of the past four games. ... WR Tyreek Hill is the only player with more than 1,000 receiving yards (1,278) and 300 yards on the ground since 2016. ... LB Justin Houston has three sacks in his past four home games. He has 67.5 sacks since entering the league in 2011, fourth most. ... LB Derrick Johnson is one of two active players (Karlos Dansby is the other) with more than 1,100 tackles (1,123) and 25 sacks (27.5). ... Since entering the league in 2015, CB Marcus Peters is the only player with more than 15 interceptions (17) and 50 passes defended (51). ... LB Reggie Ragland had a career-high nine tackles and a tackle for loss last week.


PREDICTION: Tyrod Taylor has something to prove. Alex Smith always has something to prove. The Chiefs get Kareem Hunt going again and the return of Albert Wilson injects new life in the Chiefs' offense.

OUR PICK: Chiefs, 38-28.

--Dennis Rudner

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