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Review video chat with Sully, Graham

Oh, and a quick reminder: I'll be chatting from The News on Thursday at 1 p.m., instead of Friday. I'm committed to golf Friday in the annual Voorhees Open, an historic gathering of North Buffalo hackers at Diamond Hawk.

News Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan hosted a traditional live chat before being joined by The News' Tim Graham to answer your questions directly into the camera.


Download the audio and take it with you

Review the video chat

Will Chiefs Regress?

There are certainly reasons for Bills fans to feel optimistic about Sunday's opener in Kansas City. For one thing, the Chiefs didn't have the most difficult road to the AFC West title a year ago.  They went 10-6, but just one of those wins came against a team that finished with a winning record: San Diego (the Bills, by the way, have four such victories in the last five seasons combined).

K.C. benefited from an easy schedule a year ago. They beat the Browns, 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos, Rams, Titans and the Bills (in overtime). They had the luxury of playing the putrid NFC West in their conference crossover, and swept all four games. That revives fond memories of the 2004 Bills, who went 4-0 against a similarly shabby NFC West the last time they had a winning season.

The Chiefs went to the playoffs and were promptly blown out by the Ravens, 30-7. So how good are they, really? They have a much tougher schedule this year and will be hard-pressed to finish .500, never mind win 10 games. Their NFC crossover is against the tough North. They have to play the Packers and Bears. They're at the improving Lions in Week Two. They also play New England and Pittsburgh, thanks to winning their division.

So this is no juggernaut the Bills are playing Sunday. It'll be interesting to see what happens if the Chiefs struggle on the ground. Tight end Tony Moeaki, who was second on the team with 47 catches last season, is out for the season. K.C. is overly reliant on Dwayne Bowe, who had 72 catches and 15 TDs a year ago. No other wideout caught more than 22 passes.

Quarterback Matt Cassel, meanwhile, is nursing a rib injury.  The Chiefs won't say if it's a fracture or bruise, but Cassel will play in pain. But he said on Wednesday's conference call that he's fine and expects to play on Sunday. You have to think coach Todd Haley would prefer to keep the ball on the ground and rely on Cassel as little as possible. The Bills, after all, were last in the NFL against the run last season. The Chiefs were first in the league in rushing. We'll find out soon enough how good the Chiefs really are.

 

 

 

Pulling For Spikes

People often ask me if I'm a Bills fan deep-down. I have to remind them that I don't root for the home team. It's my job to be objective, to serve as the team's biggest critic. It's a continual amazement to me how many fans simply don't comprehend the role of a columnist.

But I'm only human, and I am sometimes guilty of rooting for individual players. One of them is our old friend, Takeo Spikes, who played some of his finest football with the Bills from 2003-06. I remember how Spikes would talk about his burning desire to play in a NFL playoff game. He's still waiting. Spikes has been in the league for 13 years. He's played 187, none for a playoff team. Only one of his teams had a winning season. That was the '04 Bills, who lost their finale to finish 9-7 and miss the postseason.

Spikes is now with the Chargers, so he has a shot at going for the first time. Maybe he'll even get to the Super Bowl. General manager A.J. Smith, who lured Spikes to San Diego, is the Bills' former director of pro personnel. From 2004-09, Smith's Chargers won the most games of any team in history without reaching the Super Bowl. A part of me is rooting for A.J. to get there some day, too.

Review regular chat, video chat with Graham

A quick reminder that I'll be chatting today at 1 p.m., or perhaps a few minutes earlier. I'm still trying to compose myself as last night's gripping preseason finale at the Ralph. On a serious note, I've been reading about the apparent suicide of Wade Belak, the third NHL enforcer to die in the last three months. The hockey world is mourning and wondering what role fighting and repeated blows to the head had in these tragedies. I'm sure the debate will carry on well into the upcoming season. Should the NHL ban fighting once and for all?

News Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan hosted a traditional live chat before being joined by The News' Tim Graham to answer your questions directly into the camera.


Download the audio and take it with you
NOTE: Due to technical problems, the podcast starts near the 10-minute mark.

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