This story was written by Bills 101's Richard Wade
The Buffalo Bills will host the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills at 3-5, are clinging to their slim playoff hopes. The Chiefs on the other hand are undefeated at 8-0, in first place, and atop the AFC West division.
The Bills have struggled to find an identity since starter EJ Manuel went down with an knee injury against Cleveland in Week 5. Manuel has missed the last three games, and he isn't expected to return until after the bye week. Thad Lewis, named the starting quarterback in Manuel's absence, has been spotty. Lewis didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday. His status for Sunday's game is doubtful He was sacked four times last week against New Orleans. The Chiefs lead the National Football League in sacks with 36 sacks. The Bills are second with 27 sacks.
As the Bills wait to see who be their quarterback this week, The Chiefs are undoubtedly led by Alex Smith. Acquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers last offseason, Smith has rejuvenated a career that once saw him as a former number one overall pick. Smith had his starting job supplanted by Colin Kaepernick, who subsequently led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII. Smith isn't a flashy player, he is seen more as a game manager. While at the helm of the Chiefs offense this season, Smith has passed for 1,795 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
One of the few bright spots for the Bills this season has been the play of Mario Williams. Signed to the richest contract in 2012 to a six-year, $100 million contract, the richest in team history. Williams was under intense pressure to justify that contract, and it showed on the field. He under-performed, and the team finished 6-10. This season came with more expectations, and so far Williams has delivered. He is tied for second in the NFL in sacks with 11.
The Bills have relied heavily on their running game this season while less than stellar quarterback play has hampered them. The Bills are 7th in the NFL in rushing, averaging 133.9 yards per game. Despite the lofty rushing stats, the passing game has been nowhere near as efficient. The Bills rank 30th in passing yards per game.
What will happen on Sunday is anyone's guess. The Bills have been hit or miss from game to game. They beat the Baltimore Ravens impressively, sacking Joe Flacco four times and intercepting him five times. The next game against Cleveland saw Buffalo lose 37-24, and any momentum was lost, along with EJ Manuel.
Sunday pits Andy Reid against Doug Marrone. Alex Smith against the Bills improved defensive line. Which offense will make enough plays? Will the Bills will surprise everyone and give the Chiefs their first loss of the 2013 season. The NFL is always called a league of parity. Any team can win any game. Maybe this is the week Buffalo puts everything together and wins a game no one expects them to.
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