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It ain't easy being (gang) green. As a young lad I arbitrarily chose the Jets, Mets, and Knicks to follow because it seemed to make geographical sense and I didn't want to be a front-running bandwagoneer with fickle, fair-weather; suburban fans as compadres. In retrospect I think I was just getting a jump start on my career of being a self-loathing, cynical individual. Say what you want about Jets fans, they have resolve and character(s). Nearly twenty gut-wrenching seasons later, here I am. People below the median age of the fan base have never seen the Jets advance beyond the AFC Championship game. When the Jets last won the Super Bowl, Lyndon B. Johnson was president and national treasure Will Smith wouldn't be born for another 8 months.
Fast forward the better part of 50 years later, and the teams most notable accomplishments since that day have been a legendary QB drunkenly trying to make out with a sideline reporter, signing Tim Tebow to ride the bench, and Mark Sanchez fumbling after face-planting in his offensive lineman's rectum. OH, and one Monday night after getting completely owned by aquatic mammals in the first half, the Jets reversed it and pulled out the victory. They also lost three AFCC games in my tenure as a fan. Those were the good years.
With a 1-7 start and every game from here on out being a must-win with help needed from other teams, this is all but certain to be one of those depressing buffer years as a fan. I won't remember 2014 so much for football as I will the obnoxious song "Fancy" and a pretty mild summer. But I still watch every last game to the bitter end; namely because I'm obligated to. From the looks of it, so do you. Either that or you're incredibly bored and reading about a game between two football teams you don't even care about on a weekend. Whatever. I don't discriminate. Welcome one and all to the show that begrudgingly never ends.
Where Each Team Is
The Kansas City Chiefs are 4-3 coming off a decisive victory over the underwhelming St. Louis Rams. The week prior to that, the Chiefs narrowly defeated the San Diego Chargers, a team you may remember for absolutely destroying the Jets a few weeks ago. KC is hanging tough in the AFC West, but they are still two games behind their rival team, the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs also resoundingly defeated the New England Patriots. The three teams Kansas City has dropped losses to are the Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, and San Francisco 49ers. Andy Reid and friends are in a tough division, but playoffs are a definite possibility for the Chiefs.
The New York Jets are 1-7 and have not won a game since their season opener against the chronically underperforming Oakland Raiders. Geno Smith was benched and subsequently demoted after a disastrous outing and multiple turnovers in the first quarter. Michael Vick has taken the helm of the offense leading into two very tough games before the Jets get a late bye week. Eternal optimists hope that Vick can light a fire under the team and run the table on a softer second half schedule. In reality, the Jets season is likely over even if they won out, barring a meltdown across the entire AFC like never before seen.
Jets vs Chiefs coverage
Sister Site: Arrowhead Pride
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri.
Field: Open air, natural grass.
Coverage: CBS. America's most laugh-tracked network. Coming this fall; 10 new NCIS spinoffs!
Weather: Partly sunny, windy, getting warmer. High of 63 degrees F in KC is forecasted as of Saturday afternoon.
Record: Jets lead the all-time series, 18-17-1.
What happened last time? Jets beat the pants off the Chiefs by a score of 37-10 on December 11, 2011.
Who is favored? Opening line had the Chiefs by 9.5.
|Smith, Geno||QB||Rt. Shoulder||LP||FP||FP||Probable|
Jets: On offense the Jets are 28th in points scored, 28th in overall yards, 32nd in passing yards and 4th in rushing. Most of those averages are significant improvements over the past couple of weeks, believe it or not. The Jets productive rushing attack is likely a result of the combined efforts of Michael Vick, Percy Harvin, and the Jets running back committee.
On defense the Jets are an abysmal 30th in points allowed, 6th in overall yards allowed, 14th in passing defense, and 5th in rushing defense. The Jets have lost and regained their place as a top 5 run defense multiple times this season. The Jets are one of the very best team at grinding it out on the ground and stopping opposing rushers, but this is a passing league, and the Jets can't pass for their collective lives.
Chiefs: On offense the Chiefs are 11th in points scored, 20th in overall yards, 30th in passing yards; and 3rd in rushing yards. The run offense will likely challenge the Jets defense early and often in order to take pressure off of game manager Alex Smith. The Chiefs do not pass effectively, but may very well test the Jets weakened patchwork secondary anyway.
On defense the Chiefs rank 3rd in points allowed, 3rd in yards allowed, 1st against the pass, and 18th against the run. This is a tough defense, especially for one of the least effective offenses in the NFL to face. This is not an ideal matchup for Michael Vick to get his first full start in.
AP Pro Ranking has the Jets at 30th overall, and the Chiefs ranked 15.
Attacking the Chiefs
Playing the averages, the Kansas City Chiefs are far and away worst against the run. It's hard to see the Jets winning unless they run effectively and consistently in order to open up any limited passing opportunities. It's unlikely the Jets can create many mismatches against the Kansas City secondary, especially given how turnover prone both Vick and Smith can be. Vick is extremely effective at tucking his head down and turning a play into positive yards with his legs when there are no open passing lanes, as we saw last week against the Buffalo Bills.
Vick also appears to favor overthrowing his receivers so that only they may catch it. While this leads to many incompletions (his completion percentage and QB rating are both in the high-40's after one week), Vick won't take the same needless risks Smith does on experience alone. Smith also overthrew, but took more shots where there was nothing there and tried to force it, leading to interceptions. This problem culminated in the first quarter of the Bills game, forcing the coaches to bench Smith. Vick might not win the game, but you won't see the same meltdown at QB this week either. Vick comes with a lower ceiling, but a much higher floor.
Alex Smith is not that good of a quarterback, but in terms of performance he's much better than what the Jets are fielding. Smith has quietly built up 9 passing touchdowns, a 67.0 completion percentage, and a 93.0 QB rating. He's been sacked 18 times to the Jets 22 sacks given up. The Chiefs QB might be the better signal-caller on the field on Sunday, but he can be rattled. The most effective way to neutralize the running game and put pressure on Smith are constant attacks from the front seven. Not only must the defensive line get a consistent push up front, the Jets linebackers must be relentless in chasing down ball carriers and sure in their tackling. Just a couple of long runs broken off by the Chiefs might mean the different between victory and defeat. Fortunately, pressuring game managing quarterbacks is a specialty of Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson.
Pure and simple: Percy Harvin and Chris Ivory. Ivory is going to be the bell-cow in this game and for the rest of the season with he and perhaps even Bilal Powell cutting into the carries of the ineffective Chris Johnson. Ivory's performance on Sunday might be his most crucial game for the rest of the season. The Chiefs only clear weakness is against the run, and Ivory will have to lead that charge if the Jets are to win. The Jets cannot afford to give too many carries to CJ0.5K, his averages are too low and he gets stopped for no gain or losses far too often.
Harvin has use as a WR/RB hybrid and could potentially give a team like the Chiefs nightmares. Harvin looked very promising running end arounds and reverses last week, and he seemed to generate separation from the defensive backs covering him. When you consider how much of his work was negated by penalties and how badly he was overthrown by 2 different quarterbacks, it's not crazy to have high hopes for Percy Harvin both now and in the future. A versatile offensive playmaker like Harvin is the key to victory against a stout but breakable defense like that of Kansas City's.
Chiefs to Watch
Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis are the Chiefs preferred weapons for making offensive gains. The two have combined for 758 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns, over 150 yards receiving and 2 touchdown catches. Alex Smith has also gained 162 yards on the ground when keeping the ball and running with it.
Tight end Travis Kelce is the most effective receiver with 28 grabs for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Jets have had trouble in the past effectively bringing safeties and linebackers in to stop tight ends from making big gains, so Kelce might be looking to gash open a weak Jets pass defense. The Chiefs have thrown touchdown passes exclusively to tight ends and runners coming out of the backfield. Of the five Chiefs with receiving touchdowns, none of them play wide receiver. Dwayne Bowe is still effective to a certain degree, but alone he isn't getting it done for the Chiefs. Donnie Avery remains out while recovering from sports hernia surgery. Former Jet Joe McKnight has returned kicks for the Chiefs, and caught multiple passes out of the backfield for scores.
Another former Jet by the name of Josh Mauga has claimed the LILB starting role on the Chiefs roster after the Jets let him go. Mauga has become the Chiefs leading solo and combined tackler, far and away. However, it's Mauga's teammates that have produced the sacks, fumbles, and other juicy stats against opponents. Justin Houston has 10 sacks and a forced fumble this season. Tamba Hali has delivered 4 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Allen Bailey also has sacked the QB 4 times. 9 different Chiefs have reached the opposing quarterback a total of 24 times. Hussain Abdullah, Sean Smith, Kurt Coleman, and Ron Parker all have interceptions on the books this year.
Bro's Bottom Line
Several trends both modern and historical favor the Jets. The pundits and bookies heavily favor the Chiefs. A win would have a reinvigorating effect on a team and salvage the longest of shots at the postseason. A loss to the Chiefs would lock the Jets into what would surely be a losing record for 2014, and extend the losing streak to a humiliating 8 straight.
The one thing the Chiefs don't defend well against is the Jets only strong trait on offense. So, there's that at least. Expect constant pressure and sloppy, non-productive passing from both teams. This is a game that will be won or lost in the trenches and on the ground. Picture a shootout, but with running back committees instead of standout quarterbacks.
Here goes everything.
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