The New York Jets visit the Kansas City Chiefs tomorrow in what may be the NFL mismatch of the century. Previewing this pending slaughter, Tom Childs of Arrowhead Pride was kind enough to answer a few questions for me regarding the 2020 Chiefs and the upcoming game.
1. If you’re the Jets head coach, how would you attempt to attack the Chiefs on offense and on defense?
Prayers are in the playbook, right?
The key word in your question was ‘attack’. If I’m the Jets HC, that is exactly what I would do. The Chiefs have faced every game plan imaginable this year, yet the only team to have any success was the Raiders, who happen to be the only team that has been really aggressive against the Chiefs defense. Now I know that the Raiders are more talented on offense than the Jets, but no one is really expecting anything from the Jets on Sunday, so why not go hell for leather and see if you can hang around in a shootout?
You never know - the Chiefs defense might have another stinker like they did against Las Vegas.
Defensively might be where it gets a little trickier. Rushing three or four and dropping seven or eight guys into coverage is the ‘trendy’ thing to do at the moment, although the Broncos had success last week blitzing a little bit. You’re getting fired anyway, Adam Gase (we think), at least try and be entertaining.
2. Old friend Le’Veon Bell was picked up by the Chiefs after being waived by the Jets recently. How big of a role do you expect Bell to play in this game, and through the rest of the season?
I’ve got a feeling this is what you guys might be most nervous about tomorrow.
Le’Veon looked good in the limited carries he had in Denver. He almost certainly showed enough to warrant more of a workload this week and beyond. You can imagine he’s had a quiet word with Andy Reid and Eric Bienemey about an increased role this weekend, and I expect the Chiefs to oblige. His over/under total rushing yards is currently 37.5. Don’t be surprised to see him hit that by the end of the first half.
Through the rest of the season, I expect him to take more and more carries from Edwards-Helaire. Bell is most likely going to be in KC for this year only. The Chiefs should definitely take advantage of having one of the best backs the league has seen in recent years, whilst also saving the body of their ‘running back of the future’.
3. The Raiders are the only team to beat the Chiefs in 2020. What did the Raiders do differently than other teams that worked? Why did they score 40 points when no other Chiefs opponent has scored more than 20?
As I mentioned earlier, they just pushed and pushed. I think something must have clicked in Jon Gruden’s head that you have to make every single possession count against Kansas City. Derek Carr attacked the secondary, and good first down runs put the Raiders in favorable positions on second and third downs. I also loved the call to go for it on fourth and 1 to ice the game with a little under two minutes remaining. It was a decision teams wouldn’t make a couple of years ago, but they are now realizing now it’s that level of aggressiveness on offense that will give you the most success against Kansas City.
4. The Chiefs are 10th in the NFL in rushing attempts but only 15th in passing attempts. With an All World QB like Mahomes under center, should the Chiefs be passing more and running less? I realize that’s probably nitpicking, but hey, it’s hard to find a lot not to like about the defending Super Bowl champs.
Mostly, they’ve done exactly what the situation has called for. I saw a tweet a couple of weeks ago saying that the Chiefs were the first team in NFL history to ‘establish the pass’. The more you think about that term, the more you realize it is right. Teams are so scared of being beaten by Mahomes, that they are giving up defending the run. It’s actually a savvy plan if you ask me, because it limits the amount of possessions Kansas City have. The reason it hasn’t worked is because unlike last year, the Chiefs have been very good in the red zone this year.
5. What teams do you view as the biggest threats to the Chiefs repeating as Super Bowl champs, and why?
In the space of a few weeks, the AFC has gone from a top two (Chiefs and Ravens) to a top five or six. I’d take Kansas City over anyone in a playoff game because of … well, Mahomes - but if I had to pick any team to avoid, it would probably be Tennessee. They seem a much more complete team than last year, and possess all of the ingredients to give the Chiefs grief. The obvious choice here would have been Pittsburgh, but I am interested to see how far into the season Ben Roethlisberger’s body will hold up.