The New York Jets are entering what could be the toughest part of their schedule. With only one game left against a below .500 team, the Jets will surely be underdogs the rest of the way.
The tough stretch begins this week against the Kansas City Chiefs, who were once a red hot team poised for Super Bowl contention. Lately however, the Chiefs have been in a slump, similarly to the Jets. Neither team has been able to pull through late in games and the records have reflected that.
Good news for the Jets, right? Well, maybe.
The Jets have had their fair share of games against teams in a slump already this season (vs Patriots, Falcons, Buccaneers) – and haven’t won a single one. Luck doesn’t seem to be on their side, but that doesn’t take a slash at hope.
Can Jets Take Advantage of Chiefs Stagnant Offense?
The Chiefs have only averaged 12 points across their last three games, which ranks right near the bottom in terms of the entire NFL. The Jets have been hangin’ out on the other side of that latter, scoring 20 points or more in four out of their last five games.
Kansas City also has zero first quarter points in their last three games. This means the Jets will need to come out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. They’ve been able to do that in the past, and it would likely allow the Jets to play a more comfortable second half if they are able to do it again on Sunday.
The Chiefs stagnancy doesn’t end there though. In their last four games, Kansas City has averaged only a 23% conversion rate on third down. The Jets, on the other hand, were able to limit Carolina to 3-14 on third down last week, so a similar outing by the secondary should be encouraged.
Jets Need to Capitalize on Chiefs ‘Bend But Don’t Break’ Defense
The Chiefs defense has been quite a roller coaster this season. They currently rank last in the league with 250 first downs allowed, but 14th in the league in terms of scoring defense. This means the Jets should have ample opportunity to spread the field and move the chains, but will need to be cautious near the red zone.
The good news however is that the Jets currently lead the league in points scored outside the red zone with 121. Gang Green will need to continue to utilize this big-play tactic to trouble a Chiefs defense that prefers to play up front. If the red zone becomes available to the Jets, they will need to play strategically as they couldn’t do much there last week.
Special Teams Needs to Stay On Their Toes
The Jets special teams unit collapsed last week when they allowed Carolina to return a punt for a touchdown late in the game. That cannot be the case again this week, but it will be easier said than done.
The Chiefs have arguably the best return man in the league in Tyreek Hill, who has burned shorthanded special teams units in the past. They also like to utilize the speedster De’Anthony Thomas, who has excelled at changing field position quickly. New York will need to return to their sound special teams coverage this week as they face a tough task.
Penalties Cannot be a Factor
The Jets have been atop the league in terms of penalty yardage all season, including 25 penalties in their last three games. The Chiefs will be able to take quick advantage of this if it continues on Sunday. The Jets will need to be competitive, but clean as well.
Protect the Football At All Costs
Offensively, the Jets will need to play conservatively while also attempting to take advantage of some big yardage plays. Turning the ball over could be game-changing. The Chiefs have only handed the ball over eight times on the year, so there will be little wiggle room in terms of rebounding.