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Preview: Chiefs at Bills

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A tenacious defense and efficient offense have the Kansas City Chiefs off to their best start in 10 seasons. The Chiefs look to keep both in gear on Sunday and win their ninth straight contest to begin a campaign for the first time since 2003 when they visit the Buffalo Bills. The aggressive defense boasts an NFL-best 36 sacks while holding opposing offenses to a league-low 12.3 points per game.

Both units will be pinning their ears back when they face a Buffalo team that has dropped three of its last four while dealing with a bevy of injuries. Thad Lewis is being plagued by both sore ribs and the flu, causing coach Doug Marrone to place "50-50" odds on his participation Sunday while having undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel and free-agent addition Matt Flynn splitting first-team reps in practice. Electric running back C.J. Spiller has been anything but due to a high-ankle sprain that threatens to keep him on the sideline for the second straight week.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chiefs -3. O/U: 40.5

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (8-0): Jamaal Charles is averaging a league-best 127.3 yards from scrimmage but was held in check the last time he faced the Bills, finishing with a paltry six yards in a 35-17 loss on Sept. 16, 2012. Charles has overcome multiple injuries this season to aid in the team's conservative passing game with a team-high 41 catches and 383 yards receiving. Alex Smith found the end zone for the first time in October with a pair of touchdowns in Kansas City's 23-17 win over Cleveland last week.

ABOUT THE BILLS (3-5): With Spiller's availability in limbo, veteran Fred Jackson will need to overcome the pains of a sprained MCL in an effort to keep Kansas City's pass rush at bay. Stevie Johnson has been nursing a hip flexor, but did his best to put it in his rear-view mirror following a seven-reception, 72-yard effort with a touchdown in Sunday's 35-17 setback to New Orleans. Tight end Scott Chandler and rookie wideout Robert Woods have collected a pair of touchdowns this season.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Kansas City WR Dwayne Bowe, who had one catch last week, reeled in eight receptions for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns in last season's victory over Buffalo.

2. The Bills have won 10 of the last 11 home games against the Chiefs - with the lone setback coming in 1986.

3. Kansas City LB Justin Houston and Buffalo DE Mario Williams enter Sunday's contest with 11 sacks, trailing only Indianapolis LB Robert Mathis (11.5) for tops in the NFL.

PREDICTION: Chiefs 20, Bills 9

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131103/preview-chiefs-at-bills