KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
SERIES HISTORY: 42nd regular-season meeting. Bills lead series, 23-17-1, including a 35-17 victory in the last meeting early in the 2012 season. The Bills also opened the 2011 season with a 41-7 romp in Kansas City.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Watching Thad Lewis slowly scraping himself off the Superdome turf last week after a few voracious hits by the Saints, the Bills’ training staff better get the ice bath ready — if Lewis’ sore ribs don’t sideline him first. Kansas City has 36 sacks — nine more than anyone else in the NFL. RB Fred Jackson is gamely playing through a sore knee, and C.J. Spiller sat out last week as he attempts to regain the burst an ankle injury has robbed of him. With the ground game unable to pave the way, too much is falling on Lewis’ arm. The Bills can keep it a close field position game if they can minimize big negative plays. Chiefs QB Alex Smith is coming off two mediocre games, but RB Jamaal Charles stands to be a significant challenge for the league’s 28th-ranked run defense. Smith doesn’t beat many defenses over the top, but he also rarely costs his teams. The Chiefs will be content to control the ball, work field position and wait for their defense to inevitably provide short fields.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles vs. Chiefs LB Kiko Alonso: Alonso, a rookie out of Oregon, leads NFL defenders with 603 snaps played — most in the NFL. And he’ll be charged with tracking the dual threat that is Charles, who has 635 rushing yards and leads the Chiefs with 41 catches and 383 receiving yards.
Bills CB Nickell Robey: The rookie who enters in nickel packages was beat for a pair of touchdowns last week, although he had good coverage on both.
FAST FACTS: The Chiefs seek their first 9-0 start since 2003. … Bills DE Mario Williams has a sack in five straight games, the longest such streak by a Bills player since Aaron Schobel had a six-game streak in 2006.
PREDICTION: The Chiefs don’t blow a lot of teams out of the water, but they do have an NFL-best plus-12 turnover margin and lead the league by a wide margin with 36 sacks. Meanwhile, Buffalo has two ailing running backs and a third-string quarterback who is iffy due to his own injured ribs.
*Our pick: Chiefs 27-13