The Kansas City Chiefs will once again take the field on Sunday as big favorites when the Buffalo Bills visit The New Arrowhead.
The Bills are trying to recover from an overtime loss to the Ravens in Baltimore as they look to pick up their first victory of the season.
Here are the three players from each team that you will need to keep your eyes on.
Offense: Thomas Jones
The Bills bring with them the worst rushing defense in the league, leaving the Chiefs league-leading rushing attack poised for a huge day. While both Jamaal Charles and Jones will continue to alternate carries, look for Todd Haley to allow Jones to grind it out more throughout the day.
The Chiefs should easily own the time of possession with Jones leading the way and setting things up for Charles to put the game away with the big play.
Defense: Brandon Carr
Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is flourishing in Chan Gailey’s offense and is fresh off of a 382 yard performance against the Ravens, putting a huge target on his back for the Kansas City defense. Brandon Flowers has proven himself this season as being an elite corner, which puts even more pressure on the starting corner on the other side of the field, Carr.
To this point, Romeo Crennel has not assigned Flowers to one wide receiver which will allow the Buffalo offense to decide if they want the proven Lee Evans or the emerging Steve Johnson to go up against Carr. The pressure will be on “the other” Brandon to step up to whatever challenge the Bills throw his way.
Special Teams: Javier Arenas
Though Arenas has been the primary returner, he was still sharing the occasional return with fellow rookie Dexter McCluster. With McCluster out on Sunday, there’s no question which Chief will handle all of the return duties.
After a fast start, Arenas has been fairly pedestrian in the punt and kick return game. The longest he’s taken a kick back in the last three weeks was a 33-yarder against the Texans.
Against the Ravens, Buffalo’s special teams did not allow a punt return and a 22.2 yard average on 6 kick returns. For going up against a team without a win, Arenas will be facing a quality unit.
Offense: Ryan Fitzpatrick
The Bills nearly rode the arm of Fitzpatrick to their first win of the year last week and there’s no reason to believe their approach will change much against the Chiefs.
Since taking over the Buffalo offense, he has moved the ball while throwing 11 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. Even with his nearly 400 yard day last week, Fitzpatrick can also hurt teams with his legs. While he won’t make anyone confuse him for Michael Vick, but he is averaging an impressive 7.6 yards per carry when he does decide to tuck it away and run.
The struggling Chiefs pass rush will need to do a little extra running if they hope to bring Fitzpatrick down though he can be had (8 sacks in 4 games).
Defense: Donte Whitner
The Chiefs are expected to pound the ball on the ground Sunday, but when they do air it out expect to see the Bills leading tackler being the one targeted. Usually you would try to stay away from a player with the kind of stats Whitner has, but not when he has struggled so mightily this season.
In particular, Whitner has played a huge role in opposing tight ends destroying the Buffalo defense. The safety has struggled running the alternating schemes the Bills have employed this season and has constantly found himself out of position leading to 7 touchdowns from tight ends alone.
Special Teams: C.J. Spiller
There are few rookies with the explosive ability Spiller possesses, though for some reason he has yet to be allowed to showcase them on offense. Instead, Spiller’s contributions have mostly been limited to kick returns.
Spiller owns the 8th best kick return average among players with at least 15 returns with 26.1. He has already taken one kick 95 yards to the house and easily leads the league with 20 returns of 20 or more yards.