Game Preview: Chiefs vs Bills from The Mothership
When the clock strikes 12:00 PM CDT on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills will collide for the sixth time in as many years, including last year's road trip to Ralph Wilson Stadium, which ended in Buffalo's favor, 35-17.
However, just like Kansas City's previous eight games in 2013 have been intentionally forgotten, so have the matchups of years past; the Chiefs have moved on.
Sunday's Week 9 contest against the Bills will present a wide variety of challenges, some of which were addressed by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, earlier in the week.
Chiefs Wary Of Bills Defense from KC Star
Nobody needs to tell Chiefs guard Jon Asamoah what to expect Sunday when the Chiefs travel to Buffalo.
Asamoah, after all, has faced the Bills every year since he joined the league in 2010. And during that time, he's gotten his fill of defensive tackle Kyle Williams, a hard-working, lunch-pail type who again anchors a front seven the Chiefs say is one the best they've faced this season, despite Buffalo's 3-5 record.
"You can talk to (center) Rodney (Hudson), you can talk to anybody," Asamoah said. "We turned on the film on Monday and we called each other, like ‘did you see this yet?' We know we've got a challenge on our hands."
Chiefs coach Andy Reid agreed.
Friday Practice Primes Chiefs For Sunday from The Mothership
Game day is one day closer, following the Friday outdoor practice by the Kansas City Chiefs.
In customary fashion, Friday's practice was up-tempo and efficient, according to both the players and head coach Andy Reid. After practice, coach Reid provided the latest injury update and an evaluation of his team's prep work for Sunday's matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
"I've learned a lot of lessons over the years by not making good decisions," said Smith, 29. "As you get older, you get smarter with it. I try not to take unnecessary hits, and there is a risk-reward there pulling the ball down and running as a quarterback, and knowing when to take the chances of ‘Do you go down head first?' ... ‘Do you not slide?' ... When to get out of bounds ..."
The hit he took from St. Louis linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar that led to Smith's concussion last season was an unnecessary gamble.
"I definitely learned from that," Smith said. "I look back on it, and I knew it was kind of a stupid hit to take. It was a first down, it wasn't a third down, it wasn't close to the chains. You live to fight another day, looking back at it."
Andy Reid: Bills LBs 'Extremely Fast And Athletic' from The Mothership
Q: Do you believe in "trap games" or is that something that's overused in sports?
REID: "When you're a coach, you're just kind of going and players do the same thing. You're in such a routine and you just go maximize yourself and make sure that you respect your opponent. That's the only way I know to do it. I don't really think much about that other part."
The NFL's last undefeated team. Best defense in the league. John Dorsey, their new general manager, sometimes hops on calls with season-ticket holders to thank them. Andy Reid, their new head coach, usually begins his news conferences after home games by praising the crowd - you can feel the ground shake.
And yet, some fans aren't happy: The offense stinks. The schedule's been easy. They've played against too many backup quarterbacks.
"I don't want to be that guy," says Pat Carson, a Chiefs fan in the Northland. "But we almost lost to the Browns at home. Case Keenum was great against us. And now we've got three games against Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck."
"It would be a great thing," said Chiefs Hall of Fame guard Will Shields, who played on the 2003 team. "You want them to do even better than you."
Those Chiefs, champions of the AFC West, finished 13-3 and lost the AFC divisional playoff game to the Indianapolis Colts in a wild 38-31 tussle.
The game featured no punts and included such oddities as a 31-yard touchdown pass from Trent Green to Tony Gonzalez that was nullified by an offensive pass-interference call.
That was followed by a rare Morten Andersen missed field goal and, later, a 48-yard Priest Holmes run ending with the ball torn loose from behind.
All of which still leaves Green thinking, What if?
"We're trying to hold out to see if Thad will be ready," Marrone said. "We're going to have discussions ... if Thad can't go which quarterback gives us the best chance to win. That's really not finalized in our minds. Obviously we're trying to hold out to see if Thad will be ready. We feel that if he is and we have the option to play him, if he's healthy enough for us to win ... when you're dealing with muscle injuries they kind of take you all the way up to game time.
"This one is a pain-tolerance situation to see what he can do. Once we get over that hump, (Lewis) should be able to go. He did not practice and throw the football all the way up until Friday at this time ... obviously he's going to have to throw the football a couple times before we get him in there."
There seems to be a tendency for a lot of fans to trash the Chiefs' offensive line when it comes to the passing game's relative struggles. I don't see it, and actually think this is lazy thinking. Fisher has certainly had some rough moments, but the rest of the line holds up OK in the passing game. Albert and Asamoah have been good, Hudson and Schwartz/Allen have been OK. Overall not great, but certainly not terrible. Looks like a league average line to me, with Reid/Pederson using some quick drops and Smith using his legs to get by.
The run blocking, on the other hand ... Charles is running into way too many brick walls. He still hasn't had one of those long runs that have defined his career, and I'm sure it's an oversimplification, but I'm putting a lot of that on the line.
Craig: Thanks for taking questions... Do you think Marcus Cooper will ever have a dual role as DB and WR?
Nope. I think the Chiefs want Cooper to focus solely on developing as a cornerback. He's only played the position for a few years now and isn't nearly polished enough to consider giving him the Deion Sanders treatment, which has been afforded to exactly two players in my lifetime - Primetime and Champ Bailey. Am I missing anyone?
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KCChiefs.com Video: Andy Reid Friday Press Conference
NFL.com Video: 'Playbook': Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills
FOX4KC Video: FOX 4 Morning Show Team Salutes The Chiefs
Chiefs At Broncos Flexed Into Sunday Night Football For Week 11 from CBS Sports
The undefeated Kansas City Chiefs are headed for Sunday Night Football.
The NFL can begin flexing games in Week 11 and on Friday, the league announced that's exactly what its going to do. The Chiefs game in Denver, originally scheduled to be televised on CBS at 4:05 p.m. ET on Nov. 17, has been moved to the 8:30 p.m. Sunday night slot on NBC.
Bengals' Loss Might Help Chiefs from ESPN
In a normal year or maybe in most other divisions, the 8-0 Kansas City Chiefs could already be looking ahead to playoff seedings and trying to secure home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
But since they have a mere one game lead over the 7-1 Denver Broncos for the lead in the AFC West, they're busy right now merely trying to secure a division championship.
Is Bills Game A 'Trap Game'? No, There's No Such Thing from FS Kansas City
You are probably hearing a lot of talk nationally that this Sunday's game at Buffalo is a so-called "trap game" for the Chiefs, that the Bills are better than their 3-5 record and, of course, they'll have the big home-field advantage, and the Chiefs might be overlooking them, and so on.
But if the Chiefs stumble Sunday, it won't be because they fell victim to a trap game or looked past the Bills.
Chiefs players and coaches don't even like the term.
Week 9 Preview: Chiefs @ Bills from Chiefs Spin
Don't be fooled by the Buffalo Bills' 3-5 record; this Bills team is tough.
Entering Week Nine, the Bills have just two double-digit losses to go along with two heartbreaking losses.
The first tough defeat kicked off the season in Week One against the New England Patriots when kicker Stephen Gostkowski booted a 35-yard field goal with :09 remaining in the game. The second hard defeat came in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Six.
Preview: Chiefs Head To Buffalo With Perfect Record On The Line from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
The first team in league history to start 8-0 after owning the worst record the previous season (2-14), Kansas City hasn't won its first nine games since 2003. That year, it matched the franchise record of 13 wins before losing 38-31 to Indianapolis in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Though confident, this year's team won't read too much into its place in history.
W2W4: Chiefs At Bills from ESPN
How do the Bills halt Hali and Houston? The Bills will not face a more capable pass rush this season than they will against Kansas City. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are both near the top of the NFL's leaderboard in sacks, and overall, no other team has taken down opposing quarterbacks more than the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Bills allowed Lewis to be sacked an NFL-high 13 times over his three starts.
Bills Might Not Have Thad Lewis vs. Chiefs from The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Marrone did have some good news on running back C.J. Spiller, who is listed as probable. Spiller sat out last week's game with a high ankle sprain, an injury that has slowed him for a month. Spiller showed improvement all week and he'll play.
"Earlier during the week when I look back and evaluate it, he was obviously very rusty which is normal," Marrone said. "He's really made good strides during this week. I still think there are a couple things that we have to get over the top."
Occasionally, Demps will get caught inside the 20 on kickoff returns, but his decision-making is generally solid and he should continue with his bold choices on returns.
Demps said he's following the orders of special teams coordinator Dave Toub.
"Coach told us to be aggressive, me and (punt returner Dexter McCluster)," Demps said. "That's what I'm doing, being aggressive. It's kind of the flow of the game. Sometimes I won't bring it out, sometimes I will, depending on whether we need a spark or not."
Chiefs' Andy Reid Finds Redemption In Heartland from USA Today
After years of dealing with the ever-expanding expectations of Eagles fans - who never fully embraced the laconic coach despite his largely successful tenure in Philadelphia - Reid also found himself reinvigorated by his welcome in Kansas City, where the Chiefs enjoy a massive and loyal fan base who had not had much to cheer about.
"I've sure enjoyed it," Reid says. "The people are phenomenal. The barbeque is phenomenal.''
The feeling among Chiefs fans is they've got a coach and a team they can believe in.
The Chiefs are allowing 12.3 points per game, fewest in the NFL, and they're the first team in 36 years that did not allow more than 17 points in any of its first eight games.
Since 1950, only the 1977 Atlanta Falcons have a longer such streak to start a season.
Facts And Figures On Chiefs-Bills Matchup from FS Kansas City
Including postseason, the Bills have won 10 of their last 11 home games against the Chiefs dating to the merger in 1970, including six straight. Their 35-17 home win over Kansas City on Sept. 16, 2012, is their second-largest margin of victory against any team since the beginning of last season.
Tuel Is Bills' Likely Starter Against A Menacing Chiefs Defense from The Buffalo News
The Bills have seen three QBs go down with injury, including Kevin Kolb in preseason and EJ Manuel in the fifth game.
The Chiefs are the kind of team that could make it four.
Kansas City edge rushers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali have 11 and nine sacks, respectively. Houston is tied with Buffalo's Mario Williams for second in the NFL. Hali ranks fifth.
Former K.C. Execs Deserve Credit from ESPN
Look at the players Peterson and Kuharich brought to Kansas City. They drafted running back Jamaal Charles, offensive lineman Branden Albert, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, defensive end Tamba Hali, linebacker Derrick Johnson, cornerback Brandon Flowers and punter Dustin Colquitt. Charles is an MVP candidate; Hali, Johnson and Flowers are Pro-Bowl candidates.
Each has played a significant role in leading the Chiefs to an undefeated record for the second time in team history, with eyes on improving to 9-0 Sunday in Buffalo before Kansas City's bye week and a pivotal AFC West game against the high-powered Denver Broncos.
Scouting Report: Week 9 from BuffaloBills.com
Best advantage - Pass rush - Buffalo is second in the league in sacks and the Chiefs pass protection has been less than ideal. Kansas City has surrendered 24 sacks in eight games, good for ninth-most in the league. The Bills pass rushers should be able to get decent pressure on Alex Smith if they can force unfavorable down and distance situations, and Smith has a passer rating of 61 against the blitz.
Instead of laying eyes on a downtrodden Giants squad, viewers have been handed a gem out of the AFC West, pitting Peyton Manning's high-octane Broncos attack against the sack-happy defense of the Chiefs.
Chalk it up as a win for humanity.
All You Losing NFL Teams, Don't Lose Hope from The Chicago Tribune
Most impressive division, top to bottom?
AFC West. Kansas City, Denver, San Diego and Oakland are a combined 22-8 (.733), meaning the group is in the running for the highest winning percentage by a division through the first nine weeks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Mike Garrett, 69, is in his second year as athletic director at Langston University. Garrett wants to make the historically black school a sports powerhouse, which is right up his alley. The Los Angeles native grew up a winner. He was a two-time All-America running back at the University of Southern California, winning the 1965 Heisman Trophy. As a pro, with the Kansas City Chiefs, he played in Super Bowl I and Super Bowl IV, earning a championship ring for the latter after a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Garrett ran for 5,481 yards and 35 touchdowns during a seven-year career, which included a stop with the San Diego Chargers.
NFL's Chiefs Are Team Turnaround from The Toronto Sun
Has Andy Reid rediscovered his football genius in Kansas City, or are the Chiefs just rolling through an undefeated half-season by flattering the new coach against NFL lightweights?
The day(s) of reckoning are coming, though not necessarily this weekend when they visit Orchard Park, N.Y. for a date with the Buffalo Bills.
Reid At The Helm Of KC's Turnaround from The Olean Times Herald
That has to be a misprint doesn't it?
The Kansas City Chiefs at 8-0?
The ones who were an NFL-worst 2-14 only last season?
Yeah, them, the team that will meet the Bills on Sunday afternoon at "The Ralph" and whose impressive, but unexpected, record ensured Buffalo would sell out a fifth straight home game.
You can say what you want about Alex Smith. But after he spent the first six years of his NFL career on struggling teams, it'd be hard now to say you can't win with him.
Since Jim Harbaugh got the San Francisco 49ers job in 2011 -- a turning point in Smith's career -- the quarterback has started 35 games (including playoffs). And he hasn't lost much. In fact, if you put his last 35 starts up against the game's greats, Smith hardly looks out of place. Check it out:
Eight In The Box: Surprising Rookie Sensations At The Season's Halfway Point from Sports Illustrated
2. Marcus Cooper, CB, Chiefs: Cooper was drafted in the seventh round this past April ... by the 49ers. He failed to crack San Francisco's roster, so Kansas City claimed him off waivers. All he's done there is pick off two passes, break up six and rank as Pro Football Focus' fourth-best cornerback in the league this season. Cooper has been a godsend in the Chiefs' secondary, picking up the slack when Brandon Flowers was out of the lineup. The 49ers have to be kicking themselves for letting him get away.
The Sports Guy's Week 9 Picks from Grantland
Chiefs (-4) over BILLS
Yet another break in a season full of amazing breaks for the Chiefs: Now Buffalo's Thad Lewis is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game, which means that mean-spirited Chiefs defense is almost definitely getting either Jeff Tuel (yikes) or Matt Flynn (YIKES!!!!). The Football Outsiders Week 8 DVOA column ranked the 8-0 Chiefs 10th overall because of their cream puff schedule. They also ran numbers on the 14 8-0 teams since 1989 - the Chiefs had the third-lowest DVOA of the 14, besting only the 2006 Colts (won the Super Bowl) and 2012 Falcons (nearly made last year's Super Bowl). So it's both a compliment and an insult. I like the Chiefs a little more than most, but we'll see. Either way, we'll always have this Andy Reid GIF.
Kansas City Chiefs Fans Just Have To Believe from The Desert Sun
"To be happy, you don't have to do anything new. You just have to remember how to believe again ... Believe everything good is possible. Believe in your dreams. Believe in people. Believe in love. But most of all ... Believe in yourself."
Those are the words of Doe Zantamata, well-known author and artist, but they might have come from the mouth of Andy Reid, too.
He has given the Kansas City Chiefs the most incredible experience of their lifetimes even if the bubble bursts this week.