The New York Jets self-destructed last week against the Carolina Panthers. They’ll need a full 60 minutes to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Week 13 spells another home game for the New York Jets (4-7) as they’ll take on a fellow AFC foe in the Kansas City Chiefs (6-5). When these two met in 2016, Andy Reid and company embarrassed Gang Green at Arrowhead Stadium 24-3. Given the skid both teams are on, don’t expect much flashiness in this contest.
The Jets fell apart late once again in last week’s outing. They held a 20-18 fourth-quarter lead only to watch it evaporate in a matter of minutes. Todd Bowles‘ defense showed up and Josh McCown posted a solid 307 yards along with three touchdowns, but it means nothing if you can’t close out games.
Kansas City is crumbling even worse. They’ve lost five of their last six and fans are screaming for Alex Smith to be hooked. Their offense has totaled a mere 36 points in their last three games, which were against teams that have combined for 14 wins. The AFC West is all of a sudden up for grabs.
Despite their struggles, the Chiefs are the favorite here. It’s tough to overlook what they accomplished in the first five weeks and they can revisit that same success any given Sunday. Here are the three things New York has to do to prevent that from happening.
Next: 3. Pick on the CB2
3. Pick on the CB2
Marcus Peters isn’t the guy McCown should mess with. He leads the Chiefs with three interceptions and currently owns a 79.9 grade on Pro Football Focus as the most-used cornerback in the league (759 snaps). For him to be producing at that rate under such a heavy workload is remarkable. John Morton and the offense won’t have to fret if they steer away from him, though.
Kansas City is incredibly vulnerable on the other side of the field. The combination of Terrance Mitchell and Phillip Gaines has been the honeypot for opposing quarterbacks. Mitchell holds a 68.9 coverage grade on PFF while Gaines owns an abysmal 33.6. It’s unknown how much the former-Jet Darrelle Revis will play in his first game as a Chief.
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Picking on any of those three is clearly the safer option. If the red-hot Robby Anderson is on ‘Peters Island,’ McCown would be hard pressed to force him any footballs. Jermaine Kearse has been effective enough to where Morton should be comfortable if he earns double-digit targets. This could also be an opportunity to involve Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart.
Next: 2. Contain Tyreek Hill
2. Contain Tyreek Hill
The Chiefs have two elite weapons on offense in All-Pro Travis Kelce and rookie standout Kareem Hunt. They have another in Tyreek Hill who can hurt opponents in a variety of ways. The speedster has 54 catches on 77 targets for 726 yards and four touchdowns thus far. On the ground, he has 16 touches for 60 yards.
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He’s also one of the league’s best returners. In the punt return game, he has 161 yards and a touchdown on 19 tries. Teams have learned to kick it out of bounds after his incredible rookie campaign in which he had 976 all-purpose return yards and three touchdowns. He has yet to field a kickoff in 2017.
What the Jets have to do here is pretty obvious. On defense, they have to keep a safety deep at all times so Hill can’t get behind everyone. Gang Green should have no worries about him on returns because they don’t have to punt him the ball. Lachlan Edwards needs to sacrifice 5-10 yards and prevent another special teams disaster.
Next: 1. Win the fourth quarter
1. Win the fourth quarter
New York’s biggest task will be stringing together a full 60 minutes. They’ve melted down in colossal fashion in the fourth quarter numerous times this year. They’ve been outscored 113-47 in the final 15 minutes, which sheds plenty of light on why they’re 4-7. Kansas City won’t make this task easy as they’ve scored a grand total of 98 fourth-quarter points.
The Chiefs have struggled to score in recent weeks, but that could come to an end if the Jets finish how they did against Carolina. The collapse began with a McCown fumble that led to a Luke Kuechly 34-yard scoop and score. Gang Green would go three and out on the ensuing possession and surrender a Kaelin Clay 60-yard punt return for a touchdown to make it 32-20.
It all comes down to execution in the fourth quarter. Can the Jets make the simple plays on offense and keep everything in front of them on defense? Can they convert on field goals, extra points and make tackles on special teams? These are the question Bowles should be asking his guys. They’ll lose their third-straight if they don’t.