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Previewing the Jets’ opposition: Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Jets travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Super Bowl champion Chiefs on Sunday and they head there as a 20-point underdog. Do they have a chance to make it competitive? Probably not. The Chiefs are 6-1 and only one of those wins was by eight points or fewer.

Quarterbacks

The Jets get their first chance to face 2018’s MVP and the reigning Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has had three 300-yard games already this season.

So far this seasons, Mahomes has been ruthlessly efficient with 16 touchdowns and only one interception. However, he’s been sacked seven times in the past three games having only been sacked 20 times in his previous 19 starts.

The backup is Chad Henne, but he’s only thrown seven passes since the 2014 season.

Offensive Line

The Chiefs have had plenty of disruption on the line this season and that continues this week as 2018 all-pro right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is not ready to return from an injury suffered two weeks ago.

Mike Remmers, who is listed as the starting left guard, has been starting in Schwartz’s place at right tackle with reserve Nick Allegretti having started at left guard last week. Ex-Jet Kelechi Osemele had started the first five games at left guard but is now out for the season.

There’s also been disruption at center with starter Daniel Kilgore only just having returned to the lineup after missing the first five games.

Left tackle Eric Fisher is the only player not to miss a start, but right guard Andrew Wylie has only missed one. Remmers, who has played every position apart from center this season, started that game.

Austin Reiter, who started the first five games at center, is the main reserve on the interior with undrafted rookie Yasir Durant ready to fill in at tackle. The Chiefs also elevated Danny Isidora from the practice squad to serve as the third backup.

Running Backs

All eyes will be on Le’Veon Bell who made his Chiefs debut on Sunday following his release from the Jets. Bell made an instant impact with a 16-yard run on his first carry and ended up with 39 yards on six carries. He’ll no doubt be motivated to prove something to his former team.

Rookie first rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire will continue to get the bulk of the work, though. He’s on course for a thousand-yard season and has added 22 receptions.

Before Bell’s arrival, Darrel Williams was the main reserve with youngsters Darwin Thompson and DeAndré Washington rounding out the rotation.

Fullback Anthony Sherman is currently on the Covid-19 reserve list so he won’t be playing.

Pass catchers

Four-time pro bowler Tyreek Hill will continue to pace the Chiefs passing game along with tight end Travis Kelce. Each has five touchdown receptions and is on course for a thousand-yard season.

The Chiefs will be without the injured Sammy Watkins this week but reserves Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman have combined for 29 receptions and Byron Pringle is a big play threat. The Chiefs also elevated Marcus Kemp from the practice squad to provide extra depth.

Nick Keizer is the main reserve at tight end but has struggled this season. Ricky Seals-Jones and Deon Yelder provide cover.

Defensive Line

Kansas City’s biggest star on defense is tackle Chris Jones, who leads the team with 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits. Derrick Nnadi is the other starter inside but undrafted rookie Tershawn Wharton and ex-Jet Mike Pennel also contribute. Pennel recently returned from a suspension.

The Chiefs’ best edge rusher is pro bowler Frank Clark who has three sacks this season. The other starter is Tanoh Kpassagnon who is still finding his feet in the role having entered the year with just three starts and two sacks.

Reserves Alex Okafor, Taco Charlton and Demone Harris don’t play much, although Charlton does have two sacks.

2019 draft pick Khalen Saunders returned from injured reserve last week to add some depth on the inside and the Chiefs also activated rookie defensive end Mike Danna yesterday.

Linebackers

At linebacker, Anthony Hitchens is the Chiefs’ leading tackler for the third straight year, just ahead of Damien Wilson.

The Chiefs are often in nickel packages but Ben Niemann and second round rookie Willie Gay both get plenty of playing time, although Niemann has struggled.

Dorian O’Daniel mostly plays on special teams and Darius Harris hasn’t played yet this season.

Defensive Backs

The Chiefs were without Bashaud Breeland for the first four games due to suspension but he’s back in the starting lineup now. In Breeland’s absence the Chiefs had been getting good contributions from cornerback L’Jarius Sneed but he’s now on injured reserve.

The other starter is Charvarius Ward, although he currently leads the team with five defensive penalties. Breeland had 13 last season.

Rashad Fenton leads the team with five pass breakups. He plays a lot on nickel packages, although he’s only started playing extensively in the slot over the past few weeks because the Chiefs can also employ safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorenson there.

Matheiu and Sorenson each have two interceptions including a pick six with Sorenson usually employed as a third safety in sub-packages.

Juan Thornhill is the other starter at safety, but he’s given up three touchdowns in coverage this year.

Seventh round rookie Bopete Keyes and Antonio Harrison provide depth at cornerback and Tedric Thompson and Armani Watts are the reserves at the safety position.

Special Teams

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker has only missed one field goal this season, but has missed five extra points. Butker had the game winner against the Chargers in September.

The Chiefs’ new punter is undrafted rookie Tommy Townsend, who has done well so far with a gross average of 48.5 yards per punt.

Hardman was a pro bowler as a return specialist last year and remains the kickoff and punt returner with Hill listed as the reserve. However, last week, it was Pringle who made an impact with a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

The coverage units are led by O’Daniel, who is leading the Chiefs in tackles for the second year in a row. However, the Chiefs did give up a touchdown return to Devin Duvernay of the Ravens. Fenton, Pringle and Niemann are all also contributors.