Kansas City Chiefs: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 9

Benjamin AllbrightContributor IOctober 29, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 27: Wide receiver Dexter McCluster #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs up the field during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Chiefs have reached the midpoint in the 2013 season, and they find themselves the lone undefeated team in the NFL. The Chiefs, a two-win team last season, have all but assured themselves a playoff berth and look dramatically improved under new head coach Andy Reid.

Hot off of a three-game homestand, Kansas City hits the road in Week 9 to face the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have struggled with injuries this season and have only three wins on the season despite paying several close games. Buffalo is 12 total points from being a six-win team.

 

AFC West Division Standings

TeamWinsLossesPoints ForPoints AgainstNet PointsStreak
Kansas City Chiefs801929894W-8
Denver Broncos71343218125W-1
San Diego Chargers4316814424W-2
Oakland Raiders34126150-24W-1

The Chiefs currently have sole possession of the AFC West, with Denver lurking only a game behind. San Diego has a winning record but is 3.5 games back with only nine games remaining. The likelihood of the Chargers coming back and winning the division is extremely low.

Though they do it in dramatically different fashion, Denver and Kansas City remain in first and second place in the league in net points. Denver prefers to score points in droves with its high-flying offense, while the Chiefs are led by their stifling defense. Kansas City has not allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points in a game all season.

Denver has a bye in Week 9, while Kansas City receives its bye week in Week 10. The two teams are scheduled to face each other in Week 11 in Denver.

 

Injury Report

While the official injury report won't be released until Wednesday, only safety Kendrick Lewis and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe were listed as questionable prior to Kansas City's Week 8 win over the Cleveland Browns, and the Chiefs' only injury suffered in the game was a minor knee injury to running back Jamaal Charles. Charles later came back into the game for the Chiefs, and there has been no further word on whether or not the injury is lingering.

Here is the latest official report from the Chiefs.

NamePositionInjuryWed.Thu.Fri.Game Status
Allen, JeffOLKnee/GroinFPFPFPProbable
Bowe, DwayneWRGroin-LPDNPQuestionable
Fasano, AnthonyTEKnee/AnkleLPLPLPProbable
Johnson, DerrickLBWristFPFPFPProbable
Lewis, KendrickSAnkleLPDNPLPQuestionable
Moses, DezmanLBToeFPFPFPProbable
Parker, RonDBToeFPFPFPProbable
Sherman, AnthonyRBKnee/CalfFPFPFPProbable

The Buffalo Bills have suffered through a plethora of injuries to key players this season. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel has been out with a knee injury, and running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have been nursing knee and ankle injuries of their own.

Here is the latest official report from the Bills.

NamePositionInjuryWed.Thu.Fri.Game Status
Jackson, FredRBKneeDNPLPLPProbable
Lawson, MannyLBHamstringDNPDNPDNPDoubtful
Manuel, EJQBKneeDNPDNPDNPOut
Spiller, C.J.RBAnkleDNPDNPDNPDoubtful
Williams, KyleDLAchillesDNPFPFPProbable

We will update the injury report as more information becomes available throughout the week.

 

What Must Improve

In Week 8, Kansas City struggled to generate much of a push against the Cleveland Browns' offensive line. The Chiefs need to reestablish their physical dominance on defense, both up front and off the edge.  

The Browns' plan on offense was obviously to get the ball out quickly and negate the Chiefs' pass rush. Kansas City failed to counter that by pressing or jamming the receivers at the line effectively, and it allowed the Cleveland receivers to slide free into quick, sharp-breaking routes.

On offense, the Chiefs are going to have to find a way to get another running back involved.

Jamaal Charles has been an absolute workhorse for the Chiefs, but if Kansas City hopes to make a deep playoff push, it's going to have to manufacture ways to keep him fresh. Whether that's finding more plays for rookie running back Knile Davis or getting creative in utilizing Dexter McCluster, the Chiefs must keep Charles fresh for the stretch run.