On Sunday the New York Jets (1-7) try to put an end to their losing ways as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) at Arrowhead Stadium (1 p.m. EST). New York enters this AFC match-up as losers of seven in a row while Kansas City has won their last two. Here are some of the keys to the game from the Jets perspective.
Vick at the helm- Veteran quarterback Michael Vick gets his first start of the season, which should give a spark to the offense. Vick is a respected leader in the locker room and will command the attention of his teammates. As for his play on the field Michael can still make all of the throws and remains a threat with his legs. Now it is up to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to put together a game plan that will maximize Michael Vick’s skill set. (Note: Vick had 4 fumbles, lost 2, and an interception in relief duty last week)
Pound the rock- If there is one area where the Kansas City defense struggles it is against the run as the team is ranked 18th in the NFL. The Jets have to get back to their ground and pound ways in order to wear down the defense and take pressure off of the passing game. Do not be surprised to see a variety of read option and or wildcat formations that include Percy Harvin.
Pass protection- New York’s pass protection will be significantly tested as Justin Houston (10 sacks) and Tamba Hali (4 sacks) can completely collapse the pocket. The Jets offensive line remains the focus, as the unit has to play at a higher level in order to have any chance on Sunday. Keep an eye on the play at the guard position as both Willie Colon and Oday Aboushi have had their share of struggles.
Stop the run- The Kansas City offense starts and ends with their 3rd ranked rushing attack featuring Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. Both of the KC backs are ridiculously explosive and will take it to the house if given any type of space. The Jets front seven must attack the line of scrimmage and get the ball carrier to the ground upon impact.
Cover Kelce- The Chiefs passing game features two quality tight ends in Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano. The Jets defense has to find a way to contain Kelce as he is the safety valve and go to guy for quarterback Alex Smith. It would not be surprising to see Rex Ryan try Antonio Allen on Kelce to start. Note: The Kansas City wide receivers have yet to catch a touchdown pass this season.
On paper this looks to be a close match-up as the Jets strengths seem to be some of the Chiefs weaknesses. Unfortunately for Gang Green the games are not played on paper and it is impossible to factor in the mindset of the Jets. Can Rex Ryan rally his troops when everyone on the outside is calling for drastic changes? Or will Ryan’s team come out flat in front of raucous crowd?
My guess is that Rex is going to have this team ready to play and it will be close heading into the fourth quarter. Mike Vick inspires the offense while Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Demario Davis slow down the KC running game. A special teams play wins the game. 21-17 Chiefs.