Skurski's Bills-Chiefs Scouting Report: McCoy faces another struggling run defense - The Buffalo News

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Skurski's Bills-Chiefs Scouting Report: McCoy faces another struggling run defense

When the Bills pass: Around and around the quarterback carousel spins, with Tyrod Taylor taking his turn this week. The Bills turned back to Taylor after Nathan Peterman threw up all over himself in his first professional start, tossing five interceptions in a disastrous showing against the Chargers. Taylor said he was he was going to be the starter for this week, so we’ve got that question to look forward to the rest of the season. Fun! The Bills could be without No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who suffered a knee injury against Los Angeles and didn’t practice Wednesday. The team continues to languish near the league’s passing stats, ranking 30th with 184.4 passing yards per game. Kansas City has had its issues defending the pass, giving up 253.8 yards per game, which ranks No. 28. Kansas City’s top cornerback, Marcus Peters, has taken six penalties, but has 17 interceptions in less than three full seasons. Chiefs edge rusher Justin Houston will be a big problem for the struggling Buffalo offensive line. He has 7.5 sacks this year. Edge: Chiefs.

When the Bills run: If there was a silver lining to the meltdown in L.A., it was that the good version of LeSean McCoy showed up. Facing the worst run defense in the league, he easily piled up 114 rushing yards and could have had more if the game wasn’t so out of hand. Travaris Cadet should remain the No. 2 running back even if Mike Tolbert is healthy enough to play. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have given up 141 yards rushing per game over their last six, and rank 29th overall at 129.2 yards per game against. Linebacker Derrick Johnson is in his 13th season. He’s been charged with 10 missed tackles by the analytics website Pro Football Focus. EDGE: Bills.

When the Chiefs run: Rookie Kareem Hunt came out of the gates on fire, rushing for more than 100 yards in four of the Chiefs’ five games. His pace has slowed, however, as he’s averaged just 52.8 yards per game over Kansas City’s last five contests. Fantasy owners are likely pumped about Hunt’s chances to get back on track this week, as the Bills have allowed 4.21 yards per carry (21st in the NFL) and a league-worst 16 rushing touchdowns. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith can make plays with his legs. He’s rushed for 200 yards this season. The Bills will also have to watch out for jet sweeps or reverses to speedy receiver Tyreek Hill. EDGE: Chiefs.

When the Chiefs pass: Smith was thought of as an NFL MVP candidate as he got the Chiefs off to a 5-0 start, but that talk has quickly quieted. Over the last five games, Smith’s completion percentage has dropped to 62.9, while he’s thrown for seven touchdowns and three interception, with a quarterback rating of 91.7. All three of those interceptions have come in the last two games, both Kansas City losses. Smith’s protection has let him down at times, but he’s also bailed on clean pockets too soon. Expecting him to play at an MVP level was expecting too much, anyway. Tight end Travis Kelce is Smith’s leading target, with 59 catches for 738 yards and five touchdowns. Hill has 47 catches for 685 yards and four TDs. Both of them are tough matchups for any team. EDGE: Chiefs.

Special teams: Hill is one of the top punt returners in the league, with an 82-yard touchdown on his resume this season. Kicker Harrison Butker has replaced Cairo Santos and had a great rookie season. After missing his first attempt, he’s hit his next 22 field goals. Both of Kansas City’s coverage units rank in the top seven in the league. Football Outsiders’ special-teams rankings have the Chiefs fifth in the league and the Bills seventh. While Brandon Tate has done a good job for Buffalo as a punt returner, he’s not creating much as a kick returner, averaging just 21.1 yards per return on 16 attempts. EDGE: Chiefs.

Coaching: It’s student against teacher as the Bills’ Sean McDermott goes up against the man who gave him his coaching start in Kansas City’s Andy Reid. “One of the greatest things I learned from Andy is, and I’m sure he’s using it now, like we are, is, ‘hey, you stay true to the vision and the plan that you’ve set forth for the organization,’ ” McDermott said. Both coaches are facing quarterback questions and dealing with slumping teams, as the Bills have lost three straight and the Chiefs four out of five. Each team has also taken too many penalties, which some look at as a reflection on coaching. Kansas City’s 81 ranks third most, while Buffalo’ 74 is tied for sixth most in the league. Kansas City has enjoyed a decided home-field advantage under Reid, winning 21 of their last 27 games at Arrowhead Stadium. EDGE: Chiefs.

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Bills 21.

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