KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Don’t look for a clash of the titans between the Chiefs offense and the New York Jets defense, but it’s the critical matchup for both teams looking to pick up a win Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.
Aside from 26 sparkling minutes against the San Diego Chargers, the Chiefs offense has been a shell of its former self, an offense efficient enough to win 11 straight game a season ago and pick up the team’s first postseason win in 22 years.
The Jets defense has been just as poor as the Chiefs offense. The early struggles of veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis have been well documented, but the entire Jets secondary has show vulnerabilities.
The Buffalo Bills torched the Jets for 393 yards on just 50 plays while controlling the ball for only 20 minutes and 48 seconds.
The Jets hope to control the ball, using their spread offense and multiple wide receiver sets to run as much as pass. The Jets want to control the clock and keep their defense off the field, while the Chiefs hope to stop the Jets and give their offense short-field opportunities.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Move the ball
The Jets defense allows an alarming 7.3 yards per play, ranking next to last in the league. If the Chiefs cannot move the ball against the Jets, it’s time to question exactly who they can move the ball against.
The Jets front seven has done its job, picking up seven sacks and holding offenses to 71.5 yards per game. But the defense has allowed 315.5 yards per game passing and 27 points per game.
The debate surrounding Revis aside, the Jets secondary shows vulnerabilities. The Chiefs offensive line needs better protection for Smith to allow him opportunities to beat the Jets downfield.
Get to the quarterback
The Chiefs have just three quarterback sacks through how games, tied for 21st in the league. That would not necessarily be a cause for alarm, except the Chiefs defensive scheme rests on putting pressure on the opposing quarterback.
That lack of pressure could cost the Chiefs against the Jets. Providing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick time to find his big targets in Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa could led to big plays downfield.
Win third down … no, really, win third down
The Chiefs has done its part on third down since a rough start against San Diego. The defense ranks 10th in the league allowing conversions just 36.7 percent of the time.
But the offense ranks 27th with a puny 28.6 percent conversion rate. The Jets defense combines in sixth with the same 28.6 percent rate. That clip won’t get the job done.
The Chiefs voiced an effort to get better on third down a week ago against the Texans, and the defense responded. Now it’s time for the offense to do its part.
Tough game to call. Based on the first two games of the season, this looks like a mismatch. The Jets have moved the ball effectively and scored points against both Cincinnati and Buffalo. They dominated the Bills in time of possession last week. The Chiefs offense has struggled, and seems like the last thing the Chiefs can do is engage in a shootout. But whereas the Chiefs defense has been tight since a weak first half against San Diego, the Jets defense has been abysmal all season. If the Chiefs offense snaps out of its funk, today’s the day to do it. Chiefs 27, Jets 24.
TALE OF THE TAPE
• The Chiefs rank 15th in rushing (101.0 yards per game) and tied for 18th in passing (251.0 yards per game).
• The Jets ranked fifth in rushing (137.5 yards per game) and 10th in passing (279.0 yards per game).
• The Chiefs rank 30th against the run (126 yards allowed per game) and 16th against the pass (243.5 yards allowed per game).
• The Jets rank fifth against the run (71.5 yards allowed per game) and 26th against the pass (315.5 yards allowed per game).
THE LAST TIME
The Chiefs topped the Jets 24-10 on Nov. 2, 2014 at Arrowhead Stadium in the team’s last matchup. Smith completed 21 of 31 passes for 199 yards. Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano hauled in touchdown passes while Jamaal Charles add a score on the ground. Dwayne Bowe chipped in six catches for 55 yards.
The key play of the game came from linebacker Josh Mauga, who drilled Jets quarterback Michael Vick on an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter, briefly knocking Vick out of the game.
• Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson spent two seasons with the Missouri Tigers before declaring for the NFL draft after his junior season. The Jets selected Richardson with the 13th pick in the 2013 draft. He returned the Jets last week after a one-game suspension following his guilty plea in January to charges of reckless driving and resisting arrest following a July 2015 incident in St. Louis.
• Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton spent 13 seasons with the Jets before joining Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City.
• Jets center Tanner Purdue spent time with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He attended Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan.
• Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey served the same role in Kansas City during the 2008 season for coach Herm Edwards. Gailey initially stayed with the team during the transition to coach Todd Hailey before Hailey removed him as offensive coordinator during the 2009 preseason.
• Jets linebacker Josh Martin spent two seasons with the Chiefs from 2013-14.
Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos on going for a team-record 59-yard field goal after kicking a personal-best 54-yarder against Houston:
““If I get the opportunity, I’ll be right next to coach Reid telling him, ‘Let me kick it. I’ll get it there.”
Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton on Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa:
“He ends up playing a lot like a tight end plays. He’s an effective player. He is tough, very tough guy, competitive, plays with a lot of emotion, which we were just talking about and does a really good job. So, they kind of get something out of him that a lot of teams in four-wide – they don’t have that guy. We would go in and say, ‘Go in and do the dirty work,’ and he’s willing to do that.””
Jets coach Todd Bowles, when asked if Richards has shown more maturity:
“Yeah I think that’s standard for anyone who’s been in the league a second, third, fourth and fifth year. You get a little more mature and you start taking care of your body better. Things start to slow down for you and you know how to become a pro.”