1. Get Fitz right.
The Bills have gone all in on Ryan Fitzpatrick as their franchise quarterback, a gamble that's looking more and more like a bust. Bills fans might want to skip the next sentence if they don't want to feel queasy. In Fitzpatrick's last 10 games, he's 216 of 372 for 2,288 yards (6.15 yards per attempt), 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. The Bills are 1-9 over that time. Of course, Fitz played with a rib injury that went unreported. That excuse is no longer available, though, and he must be better. He lit the Chiefs up for four TDs in last year's season opener, a performance he'd surely love to duplicate today. The key for Fitzpatrick to do that will be to .
2. Take care of the ball.
This might seem like a fairly obvious key to victory each week, but the numbers that back it up are rather astounding. Since Fitzpatrick took over as quarterback two games into the 2010 season (excluding the season finale that year, which he missed), the Bills' record in games in which they've lost the turnover battle is an atrocious 1-16. In games which the Bills have recorded more turnovers than their opponent, their record is 7-3 (they are 2-1 in games with equal turnovers). If Fitzpatrick throws two or more interceptions in a game, the Bills are 1-13. If he throws one interception or less, their record is 8-8.
3. Get off - and stay on - the field.
An old problem cropped up last week against the Jets, who converted 10 of 14 third downs (71 percent). That's the worst in the NFL through opening week. Even worse for the Bills, on the Jets' two third-down failures in the first half, they settled for field goals, and the other two came in garbage time in the fourth quarter. The Bills' third-down defense finished tied for 21st last season, giving up first downs 31.7 percent of the time. Conversely, the Chiefs picked up 36 percent of their third downs on offense a season ago, a figure that ranked 18th. The Bills were worse, making first downs on just 32.5 percent of their third downs, a number that ranked 28th. Buffalo's strong performance (6 of 9, 67 percent) converting on third down last week is largely irrelevant because most of it came after the team was in a huge deficit. K.C. wants to control the clock and establish a running game with Jamaal Charles, right, and Peyton Hillis. The Bills have to hold firm on third down to prevent that from happening.
4. Follow the Falcons' blueprint
Atlanta was able to take advantage of favorable matchups against the Chiefs in Week One. The most notable of those was against linebacker Derrick Johnson. The Falcons threw against Johnson six times, completing five of those passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, according to analysis from Pro Football Focus. The Bills should try and take advantage of the same matchup.
5. Give 'em something to cheer about.
There's no question Bills fans are on edge this week. A blowout loss was no way to start a season with such high expectations. An early deficit - or an unsightly turnover by Fitzpatrick - might very well ignite the boos from an emotional group feeling let down. Buffalo needs a big play and an early lead to get momentum on its side.
Outlook: With games against New England and San Francisco looming, Buffalo needs its next two games - starting today. If Chan Gailey can't inspire his team in its home opener to beat a mediocre Chiefs squad, his seat should start to get warm. Prediction: Bills 27, Chiefs 17