The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs each hope they have put Week One of the 2012 NFL season forever in the history books. Both were blitzed—the Bills 48-28 at the New York Jets and the Chiefs 40-24 at home against the Atlanta Falcons. But Sunday, these winless squads will butt heads at Ralph Wilson Stadium in upstate New York where the home-team Bills will be laying the obligatory 3-points in a seemingly otherwise pick’em game.
For the Buffalo Bills, things could not have gone much worse than they did against the Jets in the opener. A defense that was revamped in the offseason laid an egg, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions while providing little spark, and the special teams chipped in by allowing a punt return for a touchdown.
To add injury to insult, the Bills suffered some key losses on offense. Starting running back Fred Jackson suffered a strained knee ligament and will be out the next six weeks, while wide receiver David Nelson—a primary target of Fitzpatrick’s a season ago—was placed on injured reserve also because of an injured knee ligament suffered against the Jets.
The Chiefs were never a threat against the Falcons in the season-opener. Quarterback Matt Ryan and Atlanta had little trouble moving the ball against a porous Chiefs’ defense that had several missing starters—some of whom are likely to be out again this week against the Bills. Three notable contributors out with injury last week—safety Kendrick Lewis, cornerback Brandon Flowers and defensive tackle Anthony Toribio—are only optimistically listed as questionable against Atlanta.
Buffalo may be laying the three points in the NFL odds, but the steam appears to be building on the side of the Chiefs. One reason for that is All-Pro linebacker Tamba Hali will be back following a one-game suspension for a substance abuse violation. The defensive stalwart from Penn St. has provided 26 sacks to the Chiefs over the last two year, including 12 last season.
The Bills spent plenty of money on personnel this off-season—especially on the defensive side—and there’s no question results are expected sooner than later. Fitzpatrick needs to find a way to get it done this week, at home, against a seemingly mediocre intra-division foe.