Chiefs-Bills film preview: Wide receivers will have a lot to prove

In remaining 12 months’s AFC Divisional spherical sport, the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense outlasted the Buffalo Bills in an fantastic back-and-forth fight that ended with a Chiefs landing in time beyond regulation. Both quarterbacks accounted for nicely over 400 yards and 4 rankings, fueling the 34 issues the 2 groups scored within the fourth quarter and time beyond regulation.

The Bills’ passing assault didn’t have any explanation why to regress this season, however the Chiefs handled numerous turnover of their receiving corps. Half of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ objectives from the remaining matchup at the moment are on different groups — together with broad receiver Tyreek Hill, who accounted for a team-leading 11 catches, 150 yards and a late-game ranking within the remaining assembly.

Buffalo has their facet of the possible shootout in a position to roll. But can Kansas City’s new crew of receivers fit 12 months’s playoff efficiency?

Let’s take a nearer appearance.

Summarizing the jobs

Tight finish Travis Kelce leads the group in all receiving classes. Around his usually elite have an effect on, two first-year Chiefs are falling into outlined roles.

Wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster has had the group’s second-most objectives, getting maximum of his manufacturing from catching faster passes that hit him at the run in area. These shallow and deep crossers — along side out-breaking routes at more than one ranges — have produced 6.1 yards after catch in line with reception. That leads the group’s beginning receivers.

Even with fewer alternatives and a nearly-identical yardage overall, it appears like broad receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling has made a larger have an effect on. This is as a result of his direction tree leads to extra possibilities for important beneficial properties.

This season, Valdes-Scantling’s reasonable depth-of-target is 11.1 yards, which leads the beginning receivers. His customary manufacturing throughout the drift of the sport is essentially as a designated vertical goal — identical to the way in which broad receiver Mecole Hardman is applied. In distinction, Smith-Schuster’s depth-per-target averages 7.4 yards; he has but to see a go that traveled 20 or extra yards from the road of scrimmage.

How it would appearance towards Buffalo

Last season, the Buffalo protection selected to be extraordinarily conservative towards Kansas City, essentially staying in a static, two-high security shell that put a lot of agree with in All-Pro safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer to keep on best of the whole lot, squeezing any (and all) throwing home windows down the sector.

In earlier seasons, the Chiefs have handiest hardly examined the seam between the 2 safeties. This may have been as a result of — with the exception of Kelce — they didn’t have a receiver who was once a just right are compatible to win the ones deep, tight-window throws.

But as we see on this 12 months’s Week 4 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mahomes assessments Valdes-Scantling in that seam. His pace and period helped make this completely achieved play acquire 36 yards. Later within the sport, Mahomes additionally unearths Kelce up the seam with a well-placed back-shoulder throw.

It’s vital to word that the Bills’ security crew gained’t be at complete power. Hyde was once put on injured reserve previous this 12 months, whilst Poyer has been coping with accidents to his ribs and foot that have compelled him to omit two of the remaining 3 video games. Their absence can provide Kansas City receivers more space up the seam.

To assist widen the safeties, the Chiefs want to be ready to threaten the deep sideline between the close to security and cornerback’s zones.

Against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night time, we see that each and every of the group’s 3 beginning wideouts finished a other more or less deep throw towards the sideline. The Bills’ zone protection is historically hermetic, so it will be essential to make tricky catches.

Potential demanding situations to triumph over

The Chiefs need to see comfortable zone coverages. Previously, Kelce has had massive video games choosing on Bills linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds and their policy laws, toying with the defenders to get open at the back of them as Mahomes manipulated them along with his eyes. Playing zone would additionally play into the strengths of the remainder of Kansas City’s receivers.

That’s why I will envision Buffalo sticking to guy policy below that two-safety shell for lots of the sport, giving its younger, green secondary the keys to simply play unfastened and tough — and likewise difficult the Chiefs to beat it with out Hill.

That will imply successful on fast man-coverage beaters — whether or not they’re slants, outs or (criminal) pick out performs that put a participant in area. The downside is that basically, receivers want to create their very own separation towards guy policy — however to this point, the Kansas City participant with the equipment to do this hasn’t had many possibilities.

In coaching camp, rookie broad receiver Skyy Moore’s footwork off the road (and suddenness in his direction breaks) stood out. While we’ve noticed him handiest in restricted motion, the Chiefs have slowly been getting him extra concerned. Twice towards Tampa Bay, he was once the principle learn on a slant direction.

As we see right here, Moore could also be dynamic as an open-field ball provider, the usage of what head trainer Andy Reid described as his “running back legs.” That talent is what earned him punt-returning tasks — and likewise why the Chiefs gave him the ball in area as they had been making an attempt to end out Monday night time’s win over Las Vegas.

The final analysis

The Chiefs’ new-look receiving crew has to be in a position to move blow-for-blow with an elite Bills offense. While they’ve proven they’re succesful this season, that is a extra significant check than earlier video games.

The training staffs are very conversant in each and every different. Each will be in a position to resolution each and every transfer made by means of the opposite. In this sport, it’s the gamers who will make the adaptation — and on this environment, no crew has extra to prove than Kansas City’s wideouts.

Leave a Comment