This is the team the Bills have to prove they can beat because until they do, this is still the Chiefs’ conference to lose, not Buffalo’s.
“Any time you lose a game, you’re angry; any time you lose the AFC Championship Game, you’re a little angrier,” safety Micah Hyde said. “But I think at the end of the day we’re going to come in here and watch this film, we’re going to correct it, and then watch film on (the Chiefs) and see what we can do to get better.”
“We’ve got work to do,” McDermott told local reporters after his team’s latest blowout, a 40-0 rout of the Texans. “It’s Week 4. We’ve come out of the first quarter of the season 3-1. So it’s how you improve every week ... The rankings don’t matter.”
That’s a critical perspective to have as the Bills prepare for their Sunday Night Football matchup in Kansas City. Buffalo has made huge strides as a franchise over the past two years, earning a wild-card spot in 2019 and claiming the AFC East title in 2020. What they haven’t been able to do is figure out the Chiefs. These teams played twice last year — once in the regular season and again in the AFC title game — and both contests ended in Buffalo defeats.
One of the major takeaways from last year was that the Chiefs had an answer for every option the Bills tried. Kansas City ran for 245 yards in the regular-season game, then passed for 325 in the playoff win. Both occasions revealed a disconcerting fact for Buffalo: that they simply weren’t going to beat the Chiefs until they had the ability to slow them down. This could be the season when that happens, if the Bills’ defense lives up to the hype.
The Bills have benefitted from new faces in their defensive front (like rookie defensive end Greg Rousseau) and familiar faces returning (like defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who opted out of last season because of COVID-19). They also have a knack for creating more pressure and turnovers (heading into Monday Night Football, Buffalo led the league with 11 takeaways). Like Kansas City, the Bills have no problems generating points. The nice part about their defense — which ranks first in the NFL in points and total yards allowed — is that it’s taking pressure off star quarterback Josh Allen.
Bills (3-1) at Chiefs (2-2)
Opening line: Chiefs -3.5
The “Sunday Night Football” head-to-head is a rematch of the AFC Championship from last season. While Kansas City opened as a 3.5-point favorite, this advantage has since fallen under a field goal to 2.5. That could be thanks to Buffalo’s dominant past three weeks where they’ve outscored their opponents 118-21. Of course, the Chiefs are a much different beast than the likes of Washington, the Dolphins and the Texans, so Buffalo will still have plenty to try and contain in this matchup. The Bills are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games, while Kansas City is 1-7 ATS in their last eight games at Arrowhead.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
For the Chiefs, it all comes back to Patrick Mahomes. The 25-year-old Mahomes is the face of the NFL, and still has elite players Tyreek Hill (27) and Travis Kelce (31) in great condition. The offensive line was rebuilt with youth in the offseason, which seems like a smart investment to protect Mahomes. The defense could be set for an identity crisis in the next few years with the potential for Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark to depart, but the team will have Chris Jones and promising youngsters on the second and third levels for a while. After making three consecutive AFC Championships and two consecutive Super Bowls, the Chiefs are on the cusp of a true dynasty.
As for Reiter, he was forced to wait months in free agency before any real interest came his way (or maybe he was just wanting to wait himself for the right opportunity). Either way, he visited with the New York Giants and Houston Texans before signing with the New Orlean Saints, who had lost Erik McCoy to injury. From there, however, he’s sat on the practice squad after being active for a single game this year. Now he gets a chance with the Dolphins.
• I’m not sure there’s much to say from Chiefs-Eagles. Patrick Mahomes is still awesome, and Kansas City’s defense didn’t really resolve concerns on its well-being.
“I want to work with companies which share my values, and that’s why I’m excited to partner with Sodexo because they provide a platform to educate students about the importance of balanced nutrition,” Duvernay-Tardif said via phone from Kansas City.
Sodexo is an international leader in providing food and managing school cafeterias, and Duvernay-Tardif will be involved in two programs designed to promote the relationship between healthy eating and success.
“When I was at McGill, I had to balance the demands of medical school with playing football, and I know that eating right was one of the keys to performing well on the field and in the classroom,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “In addition to increasing your peak performance, balanced nutrition is key to preventing potential health issues like hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the future.”
Around the NFL
I don’t care if it’s repetitive at this point: Justin Herbert is the real deal. The second-year quarterback posted yet another excellent statistical performance, completing 25 of 38 passes for 222 yards, three touchdowns and a 107.6 passer rating. His first impressive throw of the night was a rope to Donald Parham in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, and he put another one through a tight window up the seam to Jared Cook for his second score of the game. Herbert made it a trifecta with a perfectly placed pass over the head of linebacker K.J. Wright to Austin Ekeler, whose beautiful wheel route paired with Herbert’s throw better than the finest steak and glass of Cabernet and capped a dominant first half. It wasn’t until the Chargers essentially left Herbert on an island with free-rushing Raiders bearing down on him that he experienced a lull in his performance. While the Chargers needed Herbert to go win them the game last week, he did enough early to build a lead that Los Angeles simply needed to hang onto. Thanks to a complete team effort, they did just that and moved to 3-1 with the look of a legitimate contender.
The Cowboys are legitimate Super Bowl contenders
The verdict: Oh, man, I can’t believe I’m going to do this ... NOT AN OVERREACTION. I know. It’s the Cowboys. As soon as we start thinking they’re for real, they go out and lose some dumb game they have no business losing and we have to castigate ourselves for falling for it again. Tale as old as time. And yeah, they came perilously close to letting Carolina back in the game with a leaky fourth quarter. And yeah, it’s possible that the Panthers were a bit overrated based on their September schedule.
After an interception with three seconds remaining in the double-digit win, the Ravens didn’t perform the perfunctory kneels — the safe gentleman’s agreement that usually closes out contests. Instead, Lamar Jackson ran to the left edge before sliding down after earning five yards.
The reason for the run play was to keep Baltimore’s 100-yard rushing streak alive at 43 games, tying the record set by the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974-77. The Ravens sat at 97 rushing yards before the final play. Coach John Harbaugh said keeping the streak alive was meaningful for his club.
“One hundred percent my call,” he said, via the team’s official website. “That’s one of those things that’s meaningful. It’s one of those things that, as a head coach, you’ve got to be mindful of your team and your players and your coaches and what it means to them.
Coach Matt Nagy said the pecking order hasn’t changed from a week ago and Andy Dalton will start Week 5 against the Raiders — if he’s available.
“We’ve gotta see where Andy’s at health-wise,” Nagy told reporters Monday, adding that he should know better by Wednesday. “When Andy’s healthy, he’s our starter. Justin’s the 2. Nick (Foles) is the 3.”
Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said Monday he apologized to his team, his family, and owner Shad Khan after a viral video surfaced over the weekend that showed a young woman dancing close to his lap at his restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
Meyer, 57, apologized in a team meeting on Monday and also said multiple times it was stupid to put himself in such a compromising position last Friday, one day after the Jaguars’ 24-21 loss at Cincinnati.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
2) Chiefs’ offense has fourth-highest yards-per-carry rate in NFL
At 5.1 yards per rushing attempt, the Chiefs’ offense has become one of the most efficient ground games in the NFL. Most of the credit goes to the Chiefs’ offensive line: it has been dominant on run plays, creating huge holes for running backs in the past few weeks.
The Chiefs defense has been very good in short-yardage situations: It has a 100% “Power Success Rate,” a statistic from Football Outsiders that focuses on short-yard runs on third downs, fourth downs or goal-line scenarios.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire deserves credit, too. He has averaged 3.5 yards after contact per rush attempt over the last two weeks; that rate was just 1.4 yards in the two games prior.
A tweet to make you think
Patrick Mahomes through 50 starts -- #NFL history— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) October 4, 2021
Pass yards -- 15,370 (1st)
Pass TD -- 128 (1st)
Passer rating -- 109.5 (1st)
INT thrown -- 28 (fewest)
QB wins -- 40 (2nd)*
*Super Bowl era
Only Daryle Lamonica was faster to win 40 games all-time (45 games). #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/lD4XZt1EMV