Coming into the season, many expected the Kansas City Chiefs to be a mediocre team, brought back to Earth with a tough schedule. Those folks seemed correct after two weeks, when Kansas City was winless and crushed by an avalanche of key injuries.
Fast forward two months, and the Chiefs are sitting in an AFC playoff spot. Kansas City is 5-3 and tied with a litany of teams, one of which is the Buffalo Bills. Kansas City and Buffalo tangle this Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, playing each other for the seventh consecutive season. The Chiefs won in Buffalo last year, riding two defensive touchdowns to a 23-13 victory.
Will Kansas City walk out of Buffalo with another win? Let's go to the panel:
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills (EVEN)
Matt Verderame: Chiefs 20, Bills 16
This is not going to be easy. Buffalo has a great defensive line and a stud receiver in Sammy Watkins. For the Chiefs to win, they need to block up front and Alex Smith needs to read his keys and deliver the ball quickly. Additionally, the defense has to stay over the top of Watkins and choke off the short routes. Kyle Orton loves to throw underneath and will take sacks if nobody is open. Kansas City is the better team but this isn't a cakewalk by any means.
Seth Keysor: Chiefs 27, Bills 20
I'm so tired of playing the Bills. Every time we do Kyle Williams does insane things that make me wonder why more people don't talk about him when discussing the best DL in the NFL. The man is a freaking monster. In the end, though, Kyle Orton isn't going to get it going against the pressure our defense brings. He's also due for a game where he goes full Kyle Orton.
Joel Thorman: Chiefs 16, Bills 13
A game of field goals the Chiefs are able to pull out.
Clay Wendler: Bills 24, Chiefs 13
The Chiefs struggle against Buffalo's front four, prompting Alex Smith to ask his offensive line to return the Rolex's he purchased for them earlier this year. Kyle Orton throws three touchdowns, one for every bottle of Jack Daniels he consumes postgame. Pandemonium!
Matt Conner: Chiefs 20, Bills 13
If I had to choose which AFC team was more pretender than contender, it's not a contest. The Bills have some nice talent, but they're a mess in other places. And Andy Reid vs. Doug Marrone is a no contest for me.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)
The Battle of Ohio is actually a solid matchup. Brian Hoyer isn't great for Cleveland (5-3) but he does enough in the clutch. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton is making things happen without A.J. Green and with Marvin Lewis. I'm not sure which is more impressive. In any event, Cincinnati (5-2-1) is at home and the better team.
Pick: Bengals 24, Browns 20
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens (-10.5)
Baltimore (5-4) is not losing three consecutive games with Tennessee (2-6) in the house. The Ravens are great at home and will brutalize the Titans, who are clearly one of the worst five teams in the NFL. I'm done with this game. Otherwise I'm going on a tirade about Week 1.
Pick: Ravens 34, Titans 10
Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions (-2.5)
I was surprised to see Detroit (6-2) favored by less than the customary three points for a home team. The Lions are always a shaky bet, but they have been finding ways to win this season. Miami (5-3) does look excellent recently and is coming off a glorious 37-0 pounding of the San Diego not-so-super Chargers.
Pick: Lions 24, Dolphins 21 *PICK OF THE WEEK*
Dallas Cowboys at Jacksonville Jaguars (NO LINE)
If Tony Romo can't go in London, does Jerry Jones cut Brandon Weeden and suit up himself? Jones is certifiable but might be a better option than Weeden, who is truly one of the worst quarterbacks in the league over the last 10 years. Dallas (6-3) will win regardless, because Jacksonville (1-7) is beyond rancid.
Pick: Cowboys 30, Jaguars 13
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-4.5)
New Orleans (4-4) is awesome at home and smells the NFC South title after beating Carolina on the road. San Francisco (4-4) is struggling mightily and is going to have all kinds of problems slowing down Drew Brees. Frrankly, Colin Kaepernick is not good enough to win this game.
Pick: Saints 34, 49ers 24
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) at New York Jets
Over the last two games, Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 12 touchdowns. Against New York (1-8), does Roethlisberger become the first quarterback to throw for 600 yards? I'm not even kidding. Antonio Brown is going to become a household name after this shelling. Pittsburgh (6-3) easily rolls against this joke.
Pick: Steelers 38, Jets 17
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (EVEN)
This is the dumpster fire of the week. The best part of this game is watching the coaches. Who flashes a vacant stare first, Mike Smith or Lovie Smith? If Atlanta (2-6) is losing, does Arthur Blank fire everyone in the third quarter? If Tampa Bay (1-7) is down 80 at halftime, does Lovie put start punching his own players? Fantastic watch.
Pick: Falcons 30, Buccaneers 24
Denver Broncos (-12.5) at Oakland Raiders
Denver (6-2) is coming off a loss and Peyton Manning spent his postgame presser saying he stunk. Does anybody believe Oakland (0-8) is going to rise up and even cover the spread? This is going to be an absolute slaughter of the highest order. Hide the women and children.
Pick: Broncos 51, Raiders 17
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-8)
Arizona (7-1) is legitimate and proving in on a weekly basis. The Cardinals are the most blitz-heavy team in the NFL and will rattle Austin Davis. St. Louis (3-5) is a decent team but it is asking a lot for the Rams to beat Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle.
Pick: Cardinals 23, Rams 13
New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks (-10)
Seattle (5-3) looks like crap but New York (3-5) is complete and utter trash. The Seahawks are a better team and very difficult to beat up in Seattle. The Giants are on life support but simply don't have the talent to win in this spot. New York struggles to move the ball and won't do much against this secondary.
Pick: Seahawks 20, Giants 13
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-8)
This will be fun for those in Wisconsin. Green Bay (5-3) is going to hammer the Bears. Why? Because Chicago (3-5) couldn't stop a high school team and the Packers are revving the engine after a humiliating loss against the Saints. Aaron Rodgers is going for 400 yards and four touchdowns in the game; book it.
Pick: Packers 41, Bears 20
Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5)
Even with Mark Sanchez, the Eagles are better than the Panthers. Has anybody watched Carolina this season? The defense stinks, Cam Newton stinks, and the offensive line is a sieve. Philadelphia will figure it out thanks to elite offensive talent and Chip Kelly.
Pick: Eagles 30, Panthers 20
Last Week: 10-3 (Also, 10-3 ATS!!!)