Kansas City Chiefs (5-3 SU, 6-2 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date and Time: Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KC pk/BUF pk
Over/Under Total: 42
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In a big AFC matchup, the Kansas City Chiefs make the trip east to face the Buffalo Bills. Both teams have rather quietly worked themselves into contention with a 5-3 mark. The winner of this game goes to a promising 6-3, so there is a lot on the line for both teams, who both struggle to be taken seriously. The Chiefs are really looking good, after beating the Jets 24-10, to win their 5th in 6 games after a rough 0-2 start. Buffalo, meanwhile, is coming off the bye week, which followed 2 straight wins. Each team has some good momentum heading into this game.
Buffalo has seen things go their way since putting Kyle Orton in as their starting QB. Against the Jets in their last game, he was only 10-for-17, but still threw 238 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is 3-1 as a starter, with the only loss coming to the red-hot Patriots. In wins over Detroit, Minnesota, and New York, Orton has shown himself to be very capable.
The problem moving ahead for Buffalo is their injury issues. Running backs CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are both out, putting a major hurt on the Buffalo run-game. Anthony Dixon only ran for 44 yards on 22 carries against the Jets, meaning this part of their offense may likely continue to struggle. WR Robert Woods is questionable for Sunday. With 279 yards receiving in the past two games, rookie WR Sammy Watkins is becoming major playmaker in this offense. But with most of their big guns hurt, what will this offense look like moving forward in the second half of the season?
Kansas City is playing about as well as anyone in the league. Their only loss in their last 6 games was a 5-point loss at San Francisco. Along the way, theyve scored wins over Miami, New England, and San Diego–by a combined 49 points. Theyve allowed only 37 points in their last 3 games. The defense is doing a great job on opposing quarterbacks, being the leagues top-rated defense against the pass. How will this translate against a compromised Buffalo offense?
Kansas City is a team where their home vs. away form can vary more than some other teams. On the road, theyre 2-2, but did score high-quality wins over Miami and San Diego. They travel pretty well. What really needs to be accounted for is their character. A lot of talking heads were forecasting a Kansas City downturn and when they started the season 0-2, including a bizarre 16-point home loss to the Titans, it looked like the cynics might be right. But after 5 wins in 6 tries and considering some of the teams theyve beaten, no one is saying that anymore.
QB Alex Smith is completing 67% of his throws and can add some useful runs from time to time. Hes making use of a blossoming run game, which now features a two-pronged approach with Knile Davis and Jamaal Charles. Theyre even starting to make better use of speedy rookie DeAnthony Thomas, who will sprinkle in the occasional big play. Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano give Kansas City two productive tight ends and were seeing signs of life from under-performing WR Dwayne Bowe. The aerial attack is toward the bottom of the league, but the run-game really helps bring everything together.
Buffalos defense is solid in all areas and has been pretty stout lately against the run, something that will come in handy against the Chiefs. At home, Buffalo has been up-and-down. They smoked Miami, 29-10, before barely offering a whimper in protest as they were dominated by San Diego. In more recent home outings, they were lit up by New England, 37-22, before barely escaping Minnesota, 17-16. Both teams are 5-3, but Kansas City has clearly faced the tougher schedule.
Expect a home Buffalo team to recognize the importance of this crossroads game. A win adds instant credibility to their 2014 season, as they will be 6-3 and a team with possibilities. For a team that has been waiting so long for something good to happen, youd think they would go for the gusto in a spot like this. And they still might. But they are going to need some big performances from players who arent normally counted on to produce. A team like Buffalo that had to scratch and claw their way into relevance might not be able to absorb all these key injuries without a major drop-off in form.
Nothing against Buffalo, as they have shown a lot of pluck and a balanced defense to get to the mid-season point as a potential playoff contender. But even as KC has won 5 of 6, people may not be fully grasping how good they really are. Going into Buffalo, especially against a pretty good Bills team, is never an easy proposition. But in a close game, I see the Chiefs getting the narrow win and the cover.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Kansas City Chiefs in a pick-em.