On Sunday the New York Jets (7-5) take on the Kansas City Chiefs (5-7) at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. EST). The Jets enter the game winners of two in a row, while the Chiefs are coming off of an improbable win over the Chicago Bears. Lets take a look at the keys to the game from the New York Jets perspective.
Continue solid pass protection- The New York Jets offensive line has played very well of late, not allowing a sack in the last 2 games. The line must continue that level of play against the Chiefs and their leading pass rusher Tamba Hali (8 sacks, 2 FF). Kansas City’s defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is sure to dial up a variety of pressure packages and Gang Green’s line and running backs must be prepared to identify and pickup the blitz. Note: RG Brandon Moore has not practiced all week but is scheduled to play on Sunday. If Moore is unable to go Caleb Schlauderaff will fill in which has to be a concern for the Jets.
Pound Greene- Running back Shonn Greene is on a roll right now coming off of a 3 touchdown performance against the Redskins. The Jets must continue to pound Greene and wear down the Kansas City Chief defense which is ranked 25th in the league giving up over 130 yards a game. Once the Jets can establish the ground game the play action pass and passing attack will then open up.
Mark Sanchez- The spotlight will once again be on quarterback Mark Sanchez as he is going to face a very physical defense that will be looking to confuse the young signal caller. Sanchez must remain aware in the pocket, identify pressure, and throw the ball away when necessary. The Jets quarterback must refrain from forcing throws that will result in turnovers.
Stop the run- It is no secret that the Kansas City offense is built around their running game which is ranked 9th in the NFL averaging over 120 yards a game. The Jets defense must find ways to slow down the Chiefs ground game which will feature a variety of running backs including former Jet Thomas Jones. Gang Green’s linebackers must set the edge and not allow speedy backs like Dexter McCluster to turn the corner and move the chains. Note: DT Mike Devito has not practiced all week and may miss Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. If Devito is unable to play rookie Kenrick Ellis will more than likely start in his place.
Pressure Palko- Quarterback Tyler Palko will be making his fourth career start on Sunday, which means the Jets need to take advantage of his inexperience. Gang Green must pressure Palko and force him into poor decisions and turnovers. Look for the Jets to unleash linebacker Aaron Maybin early and often to rattle the young quarterback. Note: There is a chance that veteran quarterback Kyle Orton could play on Sunday. Orton is a savvy quarterback that has put up some pretty big passing days in the NFL. Gang Green must be prepared to defend Orton just in case the Chiefs make a change sometime during the game.
Bowe vs. Revis- One of the best match-ups of the game will be the Chiefs leading wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (59 catches, 868 yards, 4 tds) going up against the Jets All-Pro defensive back Darrelle Revis. Bowe is a very talented, physical receiver and it will be interesting to see how Revis goes about defending him.
Leonhard to return punts- Safety Jim Leonhard reportedly will be taking over the punt return duties for the Jets. Leonhard is a very consistent in terms of fielding punts and hopefully will end the Jets streak of fumbled punts.
McKnight out, Cromartie in? Running back Joe McKnight is dealing with an elbow injury and may miss Sunday’s game. If McKnight is unable to play the New York Jets reportedly will use Antonio Cromartie on kickoff returns. Cromartie is a very explosive player on returns, but I am not so sure this is the right move to make. Antonio has been playing very well at corner and I would hate to see him get hurt on a return. Hopefully Jeremy Kerley sees some action on returns as well.
I have a feeling this is going to be a very physical, low scoring game. Both teams are going to try to run the ball and win the field position battle. In the end I think that Mark Sanchez will make some big plays in the passing game that will lead the Jets to victory. Jets 17-13 (Maybin and Keller have huge days)