Three-Phase Thursday: Chiefs Coordinators from The Mothership
While the less-than-favorable weather continued outside Thursday morning, the Kansas City Chiefs resumed practice inside, at their training complex, three days shy of facing the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
After the team's morning walkthrough, Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub, offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton completed their weekly press conferences, previewing their tough AFC East showdown this Sunday in Buffalo.
It's a situation the Chiefs faced last week against Cleveland and the week before against Houston when those teams made quarterback changes the week of a Chiefs game.
"We're not sure which one (will play)," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "It doesn't dramatically change what they do. There's always a little slant to what they think whoever the quarterback is going to be does maybe something better or is more comfortable than one of the other quarterbacks.
"But I think we have a good chance to get (Lewis). He's a tough guy on video. He stands in there in the pocket. I can't imagine, unless he's in really bad shape, him not playing on Sunday against us."
Inside The Lines: Chiefs vs. Bills from The Mothership
Jamaal Charlesowns 193-career receptions, the fifth-highest total for a running back in team history. He needs five more catches to pass Abner Haynes (197) for fourth.
Tamba Halihas 28-career forced fumbles, the third-highest total in team history, needing two more to pass DE Neil Smith (29) for second.
Ask players about Eric Bieniemy, and it becomes apparent the Chiefs' energetic running backs coach believes in hard coaching.
"Knile hears from E.B. every day, every period, any chance that he gets," Opurum said with a chuckle. "You can tell E.B. is obviously harder on Knile because he's got a lot of potential and he's a guy they've drafted high this year. They have high expectations for him."
McCluster Visits Children's Mercy Hospital from The Mothership
The Chiefs Community Caring team, including Chiefs WR
Dexter McClusterput smiles on the faces of children receiving treatment for various health issues at Children's Mercy Hospital.
McCluster, who has a huge heart and is always willing to reach out to the community, visited the hospital on Tuesday, flashing his trademarked smile and up-beat attitude to help cheer up several young Chiefs fans.
Cowher, a studio analyst for the CBS pregame show, said: "The defining moment to me so far is the Kansas City Chiefs' season - from worst to first. It defines the NFL. The two biggest keys to their success are the head coach, Andy Reid, and the quarterback, Alex Smith. That's pretty much the only difference between last year and this year."
Since the Chiefs' season opener against Jacksonville - when the combination of the heat and a blowout win kept any player from logging every snap on his side of the ball - only five Chiefs have managed to play every snap.
On offense, the list begins and ends with center Rodney Hudson. On defense, safety Eric Berry, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, and outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have managed to accomplish the feat.
Hamza Abdullah, a former safety who played for three NFL teams from 2005 to 2011, unleashed an expletive-filled rant on Twitter in which he also called the NFL modern-day slavery and criticized the league for creating a system that encourages players to play through their injuries.
"The reason players cover their injuries up, is because the contracts aren't guaranteed," Abdullah tweeted.
But that was one of his tamer thoughts. In a series of tweets that began "F--- you NFL" - which were actually preceded by a similarly angry rant against "fake" Muslims - Abdullah said the NFL Scouting Combine strips players of their manhood. He also criticized the league for making it difficult for former players to get benefits once they leave the game.
Chiefs History: Comparisons Aside from The Mothership
It was inevitable that this Chiefs season would be viewed by some people through the lens of 2003.
But the 2003 Chiefs were a far different team than this year's group by makeup and design. For starters, the team is much younger than Dick Vermeil's veteran-led squad. The strength today is defense, the strength then was on offense, by a fair margin and one might argue by focus.
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs Live! Week 9
KCChiefs.com Video: Doug Pederson Thursday Press Conference
KCChiefs.com Video: Bob Sutton Thursday Press Conference
KCChiefs.com Video: Dave Toub Thursday Press Conference
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs Brief: Week 9
NFL.com Video: Heath's Midseason Awards
NFL.com Video: Top 10 Plays Of The Midseason
How Does A Team Go From 2-14 To 8-0? It Starts With That Big Lug On The Sideline from FS Kansas City
The early predictions for Reid's success were modest. Perhaps a four-game improvement over last year? Maybe 7-9? With a few breaks, how about 8-8?
Well, here Reid and the Chiefs stand at 8-0, the NFL's last unbeaten team.
The satisfaction of such an incredible turnaround has to fill Reid inside. But he won't show it.
Nor will he admit to any kind of personal resurrection.
Undefeated Chiefs Instill No Fear from FOX Sports
But here we are: the Chiefs are the only undefeated team in the league, with a better record than the Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers, Packers, Colts, Patriots, Saints, and on. And yet: you might be hard-pressed to find an impartial observer - read: not a Chiefs fan - who thinks KC has a better chance than any of those teams to win the Super Bowl.
But why is that?
WSJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 9 from The Wall Street Journal
The biggest surprise this week is the NFL's lone unbeaten team, the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite their 8-0 record, Massey-Peabody's statistical model predicts the Chiefs to be 1.54 points below average on a neutral field, 20th among the 32 teams. That's after adjusting the Chiefs' statistics for game location (home or away), quality of opponent, league-wide performance and other factors.
Double Coverage: Chiefs At Bills from ESPN
Even though Lewis is still in the bottom third of the league among quarterbacks, the Bills are more than happy with what they're getting from him. Most importantly, Lewis is a heady player with a real strong grasp of the offense. That's what impressed offensive coordinator Nate Hackett when they sat down with Lewis after EJ Manuel's injury and why they chose him. He's physically not the most gifted quarterback, but Hackett likes Lewis' arm strength. We've seen it on some deeper passes Lewis has completed in the past three games, and if he can get the protection, they're going to keep trying that.
Adding Jay Ratliff Would Be A Good Idea from ESPN
The Chiefs are short on depth on the line. The reserves are Allen Bailey, Mike Catapano,Anthony Toribio and Jaye Howard. Bailey is mostly a situational pass-rusher. Catapano is a rookie who has a high ankle sprain and won't be available to play for a few weeks. Toribio and Howard are mostly untested.
So as long as Ratliff is healthy and ready to contribute, his signing would be a good move.
Time was, the Kansas City Chiefs looked ready to give up on rookie running back Knile Davis, at least for this season. A prolific fumbler who would also occasionally line up in the wrong place or run the wrong play, Davis at times disappeared from the game plan.
Kansas City certainly haven't found things easy of late, but their excellent defense, productive running game with Jamaal Charles and the cool head that is Alex Smith at quarterback have seen them over the line every time things have got close.
Their defense ranks fourth against the pass and fifth overall this season. After this away day in Buffalo the Chiefs head into their bye week before two titanic tussles in three weeks against the Denver Broncos. What a wonderful psychological edge it would be for Kansas City if they could head to Mile High still unbeaten.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) At Buffalo Bills (3-5) from Lindy's Sports
The Chiefs don't blow a lot of teams out of the water, but they do have an NFL-best plus-12 turnover margin and lead the league by a wide margin with 36 sacks. Meanwhile, Buffalo has two ailing running backs and a third-string quarterback who is iffy due to his own injured ribs.
*Our pick: Chiefs 27-13
Extra-Loud Chiefs Sure Impress This New Jersey Fan from KC Star
Here are five things I learned about Kansas Citians by attending the Oct. 27 game:
1. They are loud. Wow, are they noisy. Beforehand, I figured maybe the loudest-stadium claim was a bit of hype, despite the Guinness Book of World Record. But as the racket rose on a defensive third down and "137.5" kept flashing on the Jumbotron, my head started to ache and I felt like I was starring in a pain reliever commercial.
Chiefs' Johnson Having Another Starring Season from The Associated Press via The Miami Herald
This is precisely what Derrick Johnson envisioned when he first stepped into the Kansas City Chiefs locker room as a wide-eyed rookie coming off a record-setting career at Texas.
He expected to be a Pro Bowl player. He expected the Chiefs to win more than they lost. He expected to be the face of the team, the best player on the field, just as he'd been going back to his schoolboy days running around the worn and weathered fields of Waco.
How he got here, though - that was entirely unexpected.
When leading by seven points or less in the final quarter, Kansas City has allowed only 12 first downs and one field goal on 17 drives while forcing three interceptions, two fumbles and one turnover on downs. In their last four games, the Chiefs haven't allowed a point on 13 fourth-quarter possessions in which opponents needed a touchdown to tie or take the lead.
While Reid, 55, gets much of the credit for the Chiefs' turnaround, the hiring of Sutton, a former coach at Army and defensive assistant for the New York Jets, has proven to be one of Reid's best moves since taking the reins in Kansas City.
It's Reid To The Rescue For 8-0 Chiefs from The Buffalo News
You're reading those NFL standings correctly.
The Kansas City Chiefs come to Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday as the only team in the league with a "0" in the loss column. Yes, the same Chiefs (mostly) who drafted first overall in April after a woebegone 2-14 season are now the class of the league at 8-0.
It raises the question - just how the heck did they do it?
How The Chiefs Stopped Sucking In One Offseason from Deadspin
Before Week 1, if you'd said that the Kansas City Chiefs would be undefeated halfway through the season, you'd have been chased up and down Blue Parkway by men with butterfly nets. Yet here we are, on the cusp of November, and the last undefeated team in the NFL plays at Arrowhead Stadium. How'd the Chiefs go from a 2-14 season to possible top playoff seed in the AFC?
Mainly, it's talent. Even when the Chiefs were horrible, viscous shit, they still had the makings of competence, on both sides of the ball. But it's also a near-perfect fit of roster and coach, on both sides of the ball.
Out Of Bounds: Defending My Chiefs Bandwagon from The Lamron
I get it, though. I'm probably the lone Chiefs fan in Geneseo, maybe even Western New York. I'm probably even the only person in the region who cares about the Midwest team's success. Because really, why would any New Yorker cheer on the Chiefs?
Before you judge my taste in sports teams, let me explain; I didn't have a choice. I spent last summer in Kansas City writing about sports for a newspaper. It made me a devoted Kansas City fan - Chiefs, Royals, Sporting KC, you name it.
Whether you understand or agree with my allegiance to the Chiefs doesn't matter. Just understand how amazing this season is.
Bills Pregame: Q&A With Chiefs Beat Writer Randy Covitz from The Daily Messenger
A big part of the turnaround is Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who joined the team after being fired by the Eagles. Kansas City went 2-14 under Romeo Crennel in 2012, earning the top pick in the draft.
Defensively, the Chiefs are allowing the fewest points-per-game in the league (12.3) and have a league-best turnover differential of plus-12.
The Daily Messenger asked Randy Covitz, a Chiefs beat writer for the Kansas City Star, some questions about this year's Chiefs.
Bills Are Kansas City's Chiefs Concern from The Saratogian
This is no time for the Chiefs to peek ahead to their upcoming bye week, followed by an AFC West showdown against the Peyton Manning-led Broncos. And it's immaterial to Kansas City's stingy and sack-happy defenders that Buffalo could be down to its fourth-string quarterback - undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel or newly signed free agent Matt Flynn - with interim starter Thad Lewis nursing bruised ribs.
"We're not satisfied," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "Buffalo is a good team. We're not going to overlook them at all. That's not even a conversation."
Bills Face Tough Choice For QB from The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
There is no truth to the rumor that Doug Marrone has a wheel in his office that he spins to determine who his starting quarterback is going to be each week.
Given what's gone on this injury-ravaged season, it might not be a bad way to make the choice.
Local Chiefs Fans Honored By Favorite Team from The Maryville Daily Forum
McPherson has been cancer free for the past six years, but even when she was actively battling the disease she managed to make every single home game.
In order to celebrate her commitment to the boys in red and gold during a time of personal adversity, McPherson's husband nominated her for the Tony Dipardo Fan of the Year Award. And on Oct. 13, during a game against the Oakland Raiders, McPherson was honored as one of seven Fans of the Game that will be chosen this season.
Buffalo Bills Need Consistency On Offensive Line from The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
And Sunday afternoon, the Bills are going to need Glenn to be at his very best when they host the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, owners of the most fierce pass rush in the NFL.
Coming from Glenn's side will usually be Tamba Hali who has nine of Kansas City's league-leading 36 sacks. And lining up opposite right tackle Erik Pears will be Justin Houston who has 11 sacks, tied for second-most in the NFL with Buffalo's Mario Williams.
"(Glenn) has a great challenge; both of our tackles have an unbelievable challenge this week," Marrone said.
Call On Lewis Pushed Back; Spiller Expected To Go from BuffaloBills.com
The Bills head coach at this point feels it's a toss-up as to whether Lewis will start at quarterback on Sunday against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. There was a media report that Lewis would play this weekend, but that is news to Marrone.
"Fifty-fifty," he said of Lewis' chances of playing Sunday. "I spoke to Thad and I spoke to the trainers and I know there was a report out there with a league source. I'm hoping the league source is right because I really don't know right now. It's 50-50. Trust me."
NFL Talkboard: Week Nine from The Guardian
This has ‘trap game' written all over it. The Chiefs are a better team than the Bills but after eight consecutive wins, there exists a very real danger that they start to believe their own hype. They are not so good that they can afford to take opponents lightly - as last week's narrow victory over the Browns, who had a chance to win the game on their final possession, demonstrated. Everyone is talking about Denver in week 11 as the first real test of Kansas City's mettle, but the Bills are no pushovers. As well as winning three games this season, Buffalo have played both New England and Cincinnati extremely close, forcing the Bengals to overtime. There is a reason why the Las Vegas bookies have Kansas City as only a three-point favourite. Even so, I will side with the unbeaten team until I have a compelling reason to do otherwise.
Chiefs to win
Chiefs Owner's Plan Yields Quick Fix (But Not A Hasty One) from The New York Times
Last season, as the team stumbled to a 2-14 finish, the negative mail spiked. A fan group, Save Our Chiefs, urged ticket holders to wear black and flew banners over the stadium calling for the general manager to be fired.
While Hunt is the face of a very public institution, he is reserved and unassuming. Still, rather than duck for cover, Hunt, unbeknown to some of his top advisers, invited several of the most disgruntled season-ticket holders to lunch to hear them out.
"I wanted them to understand that I cared and it was hard for me, too," he said before the Chiefs defeated the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
NFL MVP Projection: Lions WR Calvin Johnson Shoots Up The List from CBS Sports
6. Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali: Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes in the entire month of October, so we know the Chiefs aren't exactly winning because of him. Kansas City's winning because of Jamaal Charles and the defense. I'm choosing not to reward Charles yet, instead I'm rewarding the Chiefs defense and Hali for only giving up an NFL best 12.3 points per game this season. When you're only giving up 12.3 points per game, you can stay undefeated with only two monthly touchdown passes from your starting quarterback.
NFL Week 9 Off-The-Cuff Picks: We're Getting Good At This from FOX Sports
Kansas City at Buffalo: Tough one here. I grew up a Bills fan but last week I professed my love for the Chiefs because of that whole 1972 Dolphins thing. Now I learn the Bills have signed my favorite superhero. Holy conundrum. Chiefs 27, Bills 10. (Sorry, Buffalo.)
Few Teams Stand Out, Too Many Fall Down from The San Francisco Chronicle
The Chiefs are for real: The first team in the history of sports to go from last place to 8-0 is the poster boy of this topsy-turvy season. The best team in the league is not great, as its offense bogs down and Alex Smith tip-toes the fine line between game manager and scaredy-cat. The defensive line is awesome, though, and the rest of the defense very good. The Chiefs will lose but won't fade away.
Winning Fantasy Calls ForWeek 9 from CBS Sports
I want to say the Bills knock off the Chiefs in a low scoring game but I'm just not sure how they'll put points up on this defense. Mediocre quarterbacks have played moderately well against the Chiefs in their last two but the Bills' identity is with their ground game, which the Chiefs should extinguish rather quickly. Thad Lewis has shown flashes through his three starts and will have to bring his A-game, along with the deep ball, to try and upset Kansas City.
Fantasy Football Tips, Week 9 from The San Francisco Chronicle
Stevie Johnson, WR, Bills vs. Chiefs: There's no telling who will be under center for Buffalo on Sunday, but whoever it is will be rattled by one of the league's elite defenses. Johnson is coming off a strong outing against the Saints, but he'll have a much tougher time finding daylight against Kansas City's ball-hawking secondary.
Kansas City at Buffalo: Upset special! Kansas City's favored on the road and is No. 1 on the all-important "POWER RANKINGS" across the Internet, but I've got Buffalo here. The Bills are as tough as nails at home. Kansas City's been a nice first-half story and Andy Reid's your Coach of the Year thus far. But I'm looking at the schedule, and I'm a little nervous about trips to Buffalo and Denver, home games against San Diego and Denver and then a game at Washington. Let's check in on Dec. 9. The Chiefs could very well be 9-4 or 8-5.
The Pick: Bills 23, Chiefs 17
John Elway Builds Broncos Roster, Lets John Fox Run The Team from The Denver Post
"We're 7-1, and it looks pretty, but the encouraging thing is I think everybody realizes we still have a lot of areas where we can get better," Elway said. "We've turned the ball over too much. I think we're a minus 1 in the turnover ratio. And Kansas City is what?"
He dumped his plate of half-eaten food and started flipping through an NFL statistical document that showed Kansas City leading the NFL with a plus-12 turnover ratio, while the Broncos lead the NFL with 11 lost fumbles.
The Chiefs are 8-0 and lead the AFC West. The Broncos are right behind at 7-1. The teams play twice in the next four weeks.
"What's encouraging is there's a lot of room for improvement," Elway said. "We have not peaked out yet."
Top Ten With A Twist: Second-Half Predictions from CBS Sports
The Chiefs will lose a game (or two): Yep, Kansas City is 8-0, and the season has been magical for the Chiefs. But the combined record of their opponents' record is 20-41, and they haven't faced a single team with a winning record. After the Bills this week and nex week's bye, they'll have to face the 7-1 Broncos, the 4-3 Chargers and the 7-1 Broncos. My guess is they'll lose at least two.
Can Kansas City survive another close call? The Chiefs took all they could handle in successive weeks against the Texans and Browns. Now Andy Reid's 8-0 club must play the Bills in Buffalo, where the Patriots and Bengals nearly fell -- and the Panthers actually did. While we're at it, so did the Ravens, thanks to five Joe Flacco picks. Of course, Alex Smith hasn't thrown more than five picks in a season since 2010. Expect the Chiefs to try to negate the Bills' pass rush -- which has the second-highest sack total (27) in the NFL -- with a healthy dose of Jamaal Charles, who has, somewhat quietly, run for 635 yards.
QB Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: Even though Smith boasted a pristine rating at the time of his 2012 benching, smart fans supported Jim Harbaugh's switch to Colin Kaepernick because of Smith's severe limitations as a downfield passer. Smith embodied the "game manager" cliché, while Kaepernick's upside was simply too great to ignore. Nevertheless, Smith WAS spectacular exactly once last year: against the Bills, whom he'll face again this Sunday.
In that 2012 contest, Smith passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns, amassing 28 fantasy points in by far his best outing of the year. The 2013 Bills have surrendered a whopping 11 touchdowns and an average of 24 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks over the past three weeks, so if Smith isn't owned in your league, he'll make a fantastic bye-week replacement for Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, or Kaepernick.