Preview and pick for rescheduled Chiefs at Bills game
The Buffalo Bills probably got off lucky a little, as they had a Thursday game against the Kansas City Chiefs delayed because of the COVID-19 concerns that plagued the Tennessee Titans. But BetOnline customers realize that a date with the Super Bowl champs doesn't present a whole lot of relief.
They'll tangle at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, NY on Monday.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS at BUFFALO BILLS, 5 PM ET (Fox Network)
Here's a game where both teams are on the "rebound." The Chiefs ran into a very efficient Las Vegas offense (that's the Raiders, in case you haven't gotten used to it yet) and lost at Arrowhead, which really smarted. The Bills saw a Sunday game moved to Tuesday in Nashville, and while they should have had all the advantages because the Titans had only been able to practice once in a two-week period, they showed no inclination to stop Ryan Tannehill or Derrick Henry and lost 42-16.
That was the first defeat; prior to that it was a celebration of all things Josh Allen. Not that such a thing wasn't warranted; Allen has been primarily responsible for making this offense lethal. His 8.4-yard per throw average is almost two yards above the 6.6 he had last year. And his completion percentage is up eleven points.
The Bills' 57.8% conversion rate on third down is easily the best in the NFL. Allen neatly distributes the ball; Gabriel Davis, Cole Beasley, John Brown and Stefon Diggs are all around 13-14 yards a catch. And he has thrown for 726 yards off play action; that's more than any other quarterback in the league.
To be able to do something like that, you got to get the respect of the opposition in the run game. Buffalo, prior to this season, had been recognized as a team that could grind it out. But in 2020 they have run the ball only 37% of the time and averaged less than four yards a carry. So perhaps they have gotten a little pass-happy. But you can't blame them because the pilot had matured.
And by the way, KC looks like it might be accommodating with its defensive line, which has allowed five yards a carry and is dead last when it comes to the "stuff rate," which measures the frequency with which you can hold the opponent to no gain or tackle them for a loss. The Chiefs' stuff rate is 9%; to give you some perspective, Pittsburgh's stuff rate is 33%.
NFL Betting Odds From BetOnline:
Kansas City Chiefs -5.5 (-111)
Buffalo Bills +5.5 (-109)
Over 56 points (-105)
Under 56 points (-115)
So why is it that when a team becomes more proficient on offense, they seem to lose some defense? Last year Buffalo was second-best in terms of points allowed (16.2). This year they are 21st (28.4). And in total defense they were third last year and down to 19th as we speak.
To continue with the numbers, the Bills are 20th in yards allowed per drive, and a very mediocre 26th in efficiency preventing touchdowns in the red zone (71.4%).
Are you looking for a bad combination? To use a little country twang, the Bills are the third most-blitzingest team in the league, as they have called 84 blitzes (that's 40.6% of dropbacks), yet have just ten sacks and ten hurries to show for it.
We wonder if defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is going to choose to get that aggressive against Patrick Mahomes, who over the course of his brief career has thrown 21 TD passes without an interception when facing a blitz.
We would tend to favor Kansas City here, because they defend the pass well, and that seems to be the way Buffalo leans heavily these days. But we think the conditions are optimal for some scoring, so while we understand that in games like this numbers become bloated, we're going to move with an OVER play.
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