Sunday at 1 p.m., your New York Jets (1-7) will hit the road to take on the Kansas City Chiefs (4-3).
The Chiefs are playing some good football right now, winning four of their last five games and coming off a 34-7 shellacking of the St. Louis Rams. The Jets, obviously, are not playing good football, coming off a 43-23 home loss to Buffalo.
The big news in New York is the latest quarterback change. After Geno Smith started last week 2-of-8 for five yards and three interceptions, he was benched for Michael Vick. Vick was okay in relief, moving the offense but also committing three turnovers of his own. The Jets announced Vick would be the starter moving forward.
Smith’s latest step back is especially disappointing considering he’s coming off probably his best performance of the year the week before at New England. This benching could be the final nail in the coffin for his time as a starter in New York.
The Chiefs are going to get after things on the defensive end. While they’re not particularly strong against the run, they lead the NFL in passing yards allowed per game at 195. Their secondary play has been even more impressive considering they’ve been without safety Eric Berry, who has missed the past five games with an ankle sprain. Berry is expected to play this week, but how many snaps is to be determined.
The front seven is impressive as well. On the year they have 24 sacks (the same amount as the Jets) and have the current NFL sacks leader in Justin Houston, who has ten on the year. Opposite of Houston is Tamba Hali, who has four sacks on the season and someone Rex Ryan pointed out as one of the best pass rushers in the league earlier in the week.
The Jets offense has to run the ball against Kansas City. The secondary is strong and the front seven will probably dominate the Jets offensive line. If there is a weak point of the Chiefs defense it is off the guards. Giving Chris Ivory a heavy dose of carries should not only be effective but can set up play action. Vick is going to have to limit his turnovers if the Jets want a chance.
The Chiefs offense presents its own challenges. They are led by the very efficient Alex Smith at quarterback, who has completed 69 percent of his passes on the year for 1,493 yards with nine touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Smith is smart, mobile, and typically avoids any crucial mistakes. The Jets will have to be sharp on defense, especially with their tackling. The Chiefs will rarely push the ball down the field.
Smith will look to get the ball to a plethora of targets. Second year tight end Travis Kelce leads the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, and is just a bulldozer with his size and strength. Veteran wide out Dwayne Bowe has 25 receptions on the year as well.
The real motor of the offense is running back Jamal Charles. After being limited his first two games because of injury, Charles has averaged 83.5 yards per game rushing and is always a threat to catch the ball. Charles’ rare blend of speed, quickness, and pass catching abilities makes him one of the top players in the league. Second year back Knile Davis provides a great 1-2 punch for KC
Overall, the Jets better bring their A game because Kansas City is regarded as one of the toughest places to play in the NFL and the Chiefs are playing good football. If the Jets can play turnover-free football and create a couple of their own this game will be interesting. However, they have proved through eight games they cannot do those things. Containing the Chiefs running game is a tough task but if there was one front seven that should be able to do so, it would be the Jets.
At 1-7, there’s not a whole lot left to play for. We’ll see how the players respond.