Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)
The Chiefs are in a position that is new to them in the Patrick Mahomes era, as they are just 2-2 through the first four games of the season, but there isn’t any real reason for panic on this team. Their two losses could have easily been wins, as their loss to the Ravens came by just 1 point and their loss to the Chargers came in a game in which they won the first down rate battle by 7.92%, but lost a one-score game because of a highly uncharacteristic -4 turnover margin, which is not predictive of future turnover issues.
Their offense has not been the problem, as they have the highest first down rate in the league by a wide margin and that is the most predictive offensive metric. The Bills have the best defense in the league in yards per play allowed, which is the most predictive defensive metric, but offensive performance is more predictive of future success than defensive performance and the Chiefs’ offense has been significantly better in first down rate relative to the rest of the league than the Bills’ defense has been relative to the rest of the league in yards per play.
Despite that, this line is only favoring the Chiefs by 2.5 points, suggesting these two teams are about equal, or even that the Bills are a little bit better. The Bills have been impressive since shaking off a fluke week 1 loss to the Steelers, but their schedule has been pretty easy overall and I don’t think this line would be this low if the Chiefs were 4-0, which they could have been if a couple non-predictive things had gone differently. My calculated line favors the Chiefs by five points, so we’re getting enough line value with the Chiefs to take them in a game in which they basically just need to win to cover the spread.
Kansas City Chiefs 30 Buffalo Bills 24
Pick against the spread: Kansas City -2.5