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Bills vs. Chiefs Key Matchups: Beating Kansas City's Corners

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To give you an idea just how effective Kansas City Chiefs cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are, let's take a statistical trip back to the 2010 season.

In a Week 7 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Buffalo Bills' passing offense clicked like it hadn't clicked in years. In that game, the team's top two wideouts - the now-departed Lee Evans and the now-promoted Stevie Johnson - combined to haul in 14 passes for a whopping 263 yards and four touchdowns.

The following week in Kansas City, Evans and Johnson were still able to combine for 10 receptions - and Johnson snuck into the end zone for a game-tying score late in regulation - but the Chiefs' elite pair of cornerbacks held these two receivers to just 93 receiving yards.

Now Evans is gone, and Donald Jones has stepped into the starting lineup. If the Bills want to be effective offensively in Week 1, Johnson and Jones must be up to the task of beating Flowers and Carr - corners that Ryan Fitzpatrick showed a very healthy respect for earlier this week.

Flowers has gotten some well-deserved recognition, yet still flies under the radar a bit; he's not a very big guy (5'9", 187 pounds), but plays a very physical brand of football and is elite in coverage. Carr is even more unheralded; the former fifth-round draft pick has emerged as an outstanding complement to Flowers, particularly in the department of size (6'0", 207). Together, they are one of the very best cornerback tandems in the NFL.

Buffalo has built itself a nice repertoire of secondary offensive weapons, highlighted by Wildcat quarterback Brad Smith, slot receiver Roscoe Parrish and speedy running back C.J. Spiller. Schematically, however, things will only be wide open for them if Johnson and Jones are able to take care of business outside. That'll be tough to do with two erasers at corner.

Johnson is polished enough at this point in his career that he should be able to get himself open often enough to win, but Jones is a huge unknown at this point. Jones will need to win downs early not only to keep Johnson from getting ganged up on, but to keep the underbelly of the Chiefs' defense soft for those secondary weapons, as well.

This is going to be a very interesting - and very difficult - test for Buffalo's new starting receiver tandem. We'll learn very quickly just how far they (and especially Jones) have to go.