By Chiefs Gab Columnist Jeremy Housewright
Week one’s opener for the Chiefs looked like an easy contest early in the summer, however, a 0-4 preseason, injuries to Tony Moeaki and Matt Cassel, and a revamped Buffalo defense makes this a very interesting contest to watch.
Let’s start with the preseason. It really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but Chiefs fans are undoubtedly concerned at the lack of offense the first team displayed when in games. Kansas City played their starters well into the second half against Green Bay and still couldn’t get a win. Again, it really doesn’t matter if they got the win or not, but if Jamaal Charles fumbles like he did against Green Bay it will be game over for the Chiefs.
The injuries are a big concern for Chiefs fans right now. First, Tony Moeaki is lost for the season to a torn ACL. Moeaki was poised to have a breakout season, after a pretty good rookie campaign. The Chiefs love to use their tight end, so now what? That’s one weapon lost. Rookie wide receiver Jon Baldwin may not be available. He’s still recovering from a scuffle with teammate Thomas Jones.
The loss of Baldwin really doesn’t bother me. Baldwin is looking like an internal problem for the Chiefs. The kid needs to mature quick, or Kansas City better part ways quick. They don’t need another Larry Johnson in their locker room. The biggest hit could come of Matt Cassel is unable to go Sunday. Cassel was hurt in the exhibition contest against the Packers. He reportedly suffered a broken rib in the game.
I would not count Cassel out until he is in street clothes on the sideline. Chiefs’ fans know that Cassel is not just their best option under center, he’s the only one. While Kansas City fans are glad the Brodie Croyle era is over, it’s not any better to have Tyler Palko or Ricki Stanzi leading the team. I’m predicting Cassel will play, but watch those ribs. If he takes a couple shots, he may be in trouble.
We cannot forget about the Bills in this equation. Buffalo added Marcell Dareus, Nick Barnett and Shawn Merriman to their front seven this season. How much will that improve a run defense that has been amongst the NFL’s worst for the past three seasons? I think it will help, but not much. Merriman, who was a Chief Killer when he played with the Chargers is past his prime.
Barnett, once a solid backer, is also aging and not what he used to be. The Bills defense will be tested right out of the gate. Charles torched them for 177 yards on 22 carries in last year’s meeting. The Chiefs pulled out a 13-10 overtime thriller. The Chiefs rushed for 274 yards as a team in that contest.
Finally, it’s time for my week one prediction. Like I said, this game looked to be an easy win for the Chiefs when the schedule was released. After a 0-4 preseason, as meaningless as it may be, fans will panic if the Chiefs get upset at home right out of the gate. While I think we may be in for another tight one at Arrowhead, I will go with the Chiefs in this game by 7. KC 16 Buffalo 9