Three to Focus on – Bills @ Chiefs

| September 9, 2011

The Chiefs and Bills open the season with a repeat of a Week 8 matchup from last season. On that day, the Chiefs subjected the Bills to their seventh-straight defeat to open the season. However, with a score of only 13-10 in that game and an offseason of building for both squads, this should be an interesting game.
.
Both sides have offensive systems and skill position players that could ignite opening weekend with outstanding plays. Jamaal Charles is one of the most dangerous backs in the league and, on the opposite side, Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller are both multi-talented backs who could hurt the Chiefs from the backfield or while lined-up out wide. At wide receiver the likes of Steve Breaston, Dwayne Bowe and Steve Johnson could light up the airways inKansas City. So with all of those exciting possibilities, let’s take a look at three matchups in the trenches that will set the platform and allow those skill position players can lead their team to victory.
.
.
.

1) Eric Wood’s first test … Kelly Gregg
.

Eric Wood enters his first full campaign as the Bills’ starting center with a tremendous challenge in the shape of Kelly Gregg. Gregg has been one of the best nose tackles for the better part of the last decade and even with his advancing years and plenty of miles on his tires, he’s still capable of top quality performances. Gregg ranked among the Top 25 defensive tackles in the league in our run defense grading last season, grading +1.0 or above in run D six times. The challenge for Wood here will come not necessarily in terms of Gregg’s physical prowess but in terms of leverage. Leverage is king in the NFL and few defensive tackles play with it better than Gregg. Combine that with his still outstanding motor – even at the age of 34 – and Wood is sure to have his hands full this Sunday. The Bills have a creative offense but will still need to establish the running game and Wood being able to handle Gregg one-on-one will go a long way towards them being able to do that.
.

2) Containing Tamba Hali
.

The Bills have an entirely underwhelming pair of offensive tackles in the shape of Demetrius Bell and Erik Pears and this is bad news for Ryan Fitzpatrick with the Bills coming up against our top-rated pass rusher from the 2010 season, Tamba Hali. Hali was simply monstrous last season and the encounter with Buffalo was no different. Rather alarmingly for the Bills, they haven’t made any personnel changes that would fill you with confidence in their ability to keep Hali in check this time around. Hali racked up two sacks, a hit and seven pressures against Buffalo in Kansas City last season and Bell will need help from backs and tight ends to prevent him from having a similar impact this Sunday. Simply put, Bell and Pears need to step up and they’ll need all the help they can get as Hali is capable of single-handedly shutting down the Bills’ passing game.
.

3) Controlling Kyle Williams
.

If Hali is the Chiefs’ defensive game winner then the Bills have a player of similarly destructive capabilities in the shape of Kyle Williams. Williams has shown flashes of dominance in the past but he put it all together in 2010 and was by far the best defensive tackle in the league. Whether playing over the nose or in a four-man line, Williams couldn’t be contained last season. In a matchup between two creative 2010 offenses, the game turned into a defensive stalemate in large part because of the performances of two players: Hali and Williams. Williams “chipped in” with six defensive stops on the day including a pair of sacks. The Chiefs interior offensive line won’t have fond memories of that game and will be keen to improve in this next opportunity. Both offenses have the potential to break loose, but if neither team can control the other’s blue chip defensive talent we could be in store for another slug fest.
.
.
.
Follow us on Twitter: @ProFootbalFocus
.
.

.
.

Comments are closed.