Because of the way the NFL sets up its schedule, and because the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs have largely been divisional bottom-dwellers over the past several seasons, an oddity continues this week: this is the seventh straight year that the Bills and the Chiefs have squared off in the regular season.
Even stranger still: after the first four of those games were played at Arrowhead Stadium (the Bills were 3-1 in those contests), this will be the third straight Bills-Chiefs game to take place at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Let's run through yesteryear to take a peek at how these previous Bills-Chiefs contests have played out; prepare yourselves for a lot of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Cassel, folks. (Thank goodness this year's matchup features two 5-3 teams in the thick of the AFC playoff race.)
2008: Bills 54, Chiefs 31
Ah, the infamous Trent Edwards versus Chan Gailey and Tyler Thigpen game! Gailey was able to wheedle 240 yards and three touchdowns out of Thigpen, but Edwards outclassed them all that day, completing 24-of-32 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns while adding two more scores and 38 yards on six rushing attempts. This win temporarily moved the Bills up to 6-5 on the season, but they lost four of their last five. Kansas City, meanwhile, finished 2-14 and switched head coaches that offseason, replacing Herm Edwards with Todd Haley.
2009: Bills 16, Chiefs 10
The first of four straight Fitzpatrick-versus-Cassel showdowns! In this one, Cassel threw four interceptions, which allowed Fitzpatrick's meager stat line (12-20, 86 yards, one touchdown and interception each) to win the day. The Chiefs went 4-12 in Haley's first season on the job, while the Bills were 6-10 in the Dick Jauron/Perry Fewell season. Terrell Owens, by the way, scored Buffalo's lone touchdown in this contest.
2010: Chiefs 13, Bills 10 (OT)
One of the teams actually made the playoffs this year! By this time, Gailey had taken over as the Bills' head coach, and he brought his winless (0-6) Bills into Arrowhead and nearly pulled off the upset of the eventual AFC West champions. Fitzpatrick (24-48, 223 yards, one touchdown, one pick) hit Stevie Johnson for a short touchdown late in the game to force overtime, but the Bills could not finish the job. Kansas City went on to get blown out in their home playoff game by Baltimore, 30-7.
2011: Bills 41, Chiefs 7
Kansas City was facing lofty expectations following their playoff appearance in 2010, but Haley's Chiefs were utterly unprepared as the Bills stomped them at home in Week 1. Fitzpatrick completed 17-of-25 passes for 208 yards and four touchdowns in the first of a three-game stretch that landed him AFC Player of the Month honors for September, and the Bills had their first win in an eventual 5-2 start. (Which they, of course, squandered.) Kansas City finished 7-9, a record salvaged by Romeo Crennel after Haley was fired in-season.
2012: Bills 35, Chiefs 17
This game eventually marked the end of an era, as Fitzpatrick and Cassel would both be replaced by their respective franchises the following offseason. (They also happened to bring in new head coaches, as well.) Fitzpatrick completed 10-of-19 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, while Cassel threw for 301 yards and two scores himself, but also tossed an untimely interception. C.J. Spiller (15 carries, 123 yards, two touchdowns) also had a huge day. Kansas City ultimately finished 2-14, landing the No. 1 overall pick, while the Bills' 6-10 finish led to Gailey's firing.
2013: Chiefs 23, Bills 13
In the first game featuring head coaches Andy Reid and Doug Marrone, the Bills came into this contest very shorthanded at quarterback, starting undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel under center. A beautiful touchdown toss to Marquise Goodwin gave the Bills an early lead against the 8-0 Chiefs, but Kansas City ultimately held Tuel to 18-of-39 passing, including two interceptions. Buffalo's defense did enough to keep the game competitive, including holding Alex Smith to 124 yards on 19-of-29 passing, but the Bills had too much to overcome in that game.
All of that is to say, the only true good thing that has come from the Bills-Chiefs series - aside from the Bills' solid 4-2 record - have been our annual pre-game chats with Arrowhead Pride.