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Buffalo Bills: A Closer Look

Taking a closer look at the Buffalo Bills

The Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) travel to take on the Buffalo Bills (5-3) Sunday afternoon.

"We look forward to the challenge of playing the Buffalo Bills," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "We know they're a very good football team and we've got to make sure that we have a good week of preparation, study the opponent and take care of business, so that's what we're doing."

For the third game in a row, the Chiefs face an opponent who is built upon the strength of their defensive line.

The Bills front four consists of Jerry Hughes, Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus and Mario Williams. They make up a combined investment of more than $155 million for the Bills.


Left to right: Jerry Hughes, Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, Mario Williams

That investment has paid off so far this season as they rank second in the NFL in sacks with 28 and are especially good on third down, where they rank fifth in the NFL by only allowing 36.2 percent of conversions on third down.

"I'm singling out their defensive line but they have a great combination with their secondary, linebackers and front, and they're very explosive in all those areas," Reid said. "Their defensive line, they're quick and athletic and they do have size, so you see them dominate in games at times and again. That's a great challenge for our offensive line."

After playing the St. Louis Rams and New York Jets, both of whom have outstanding players along their defensive lines, Reid says the offensive line has benefitted the past two weeks from the challenge of going against these fronts.

"You come out here and you spend all these hours working your tail off and you love that challenge of being able to play against the best," Reid said. "We've had that opportunity the last few weeks to do that. You have to argue that [Buffalo] is one of the better defenses, if not the best in the National Football League at this point of the season.

"I just think it's a great challenge for the offense and it starts up front. The offensive line, they do take some responsibility for how things go and a lot of pride in what they do."

A look at the starting roster for the Buffalo Bills

Normally when you see a lot of sacks from a defense, the takeaways will be there too. That's the case with the Bills, who have forced 18 turnovers already this season.

They're led in the secondary by cornerback Leodis McKelvin, who has four interceptions this season. But McKelvin is just one of eight defensive players for the Bills defense that has an interception.

"I feel like every week, teams have good fronts and [Buffalo] does," quarterback Alex Smith said. "This group has a really good front. For me, I'm trying not so much to think about those guys but the guys down the field and making good decisions and getting the ball out.

"With that though, you don't want to sit back there and hold onto it and create problems, and when you do, you want to be good with the ball in the pocket and be responsible."

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bills are led by veteran quarterback Kyle Orton.


Since taking over in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions, Orton has led the Bills to a 3-1 record and completed 67 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.

In two of those three victories, the Bills needed a fourth quarter comeback orchestrated by Orton, including an 80-yard drive in just over three minutes to beat the Minnesota Vikings 17-16 three weeks ago.

The Bills top offensive weapon is rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who has come as advertised so far this season. He leads the team in targets (67), receptions (38), yards (590) and touchdowns (5). Although he left practice early on Wednesday with a groin injury, Watkins will be reportedly ready to go on Sunday.

"[Watkins] is a good football player and there was a reason why he was drafted as high as he was and he's producing," Reid said. "They're one of the top long-ball teams in the National Football League and so that's a great challenge for our secondary that way."

The Chiefs defense has been excellent in two of the most important statistics this season, despite having just five takeaways.  

"We've done well in the red zone and on third down," Reid said of the defense. "That's helped us in that area. We do want the turnovers. We would like to be better at that and so the guys are going to keep working at it and making sure that we get better in that area."

The Chiefs defense ranks third in the NFL in third-down conversions allowed at just 33 percent and fourth in red zone scoring at just 50 percent of drives ending in touchdowns inside the red zone. The Chiefs are going for their sixth win in their last seven games.

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