For the Chiefs, it’s back to MetLife Stadium for the second time in three weeks. The Chiefs meet a Jets team who has lost five of their last six games, matching the Chiefs record in that time. The Chiefs look like a shell of what they were in September, and they have a chance to get out of a slump that seems like it’s been going on for a while now. Here are four significant keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday against the Jets.
Play Disciplined Four Quarters
The Chiefs have not played a full game in their last two losses. That can be attributed to many factors. but the Jets have been in every game this season, despite their 4-7 record. Of their seven losses, six of the Jets losses have been decided by one possession and the Jets point differential is only minus twenty-nine. If the Chiefs can have a stronger start to this game, then that will force the Jets to change their game plan. Whether it’s offense or defense, the Jets tend to keep their opponents off balance. The Jets have also generally answered the bell to most of the bigger challenges that they have been faced with this season. Finishing strong at the end of all four quarters could set up the Chiefs nicely with a chance to down the Jets.
Avoid Long Third Downs Against the Jets Stingy Defense
Last week against the Bills, the Chiefs offense was finished a measly two for thirteen on third down. The Bills brought the pressure they needed against Alex Smith. Then, Smith either had no time to get rid of the ball or he was forced to dump the pass off only a few yards downfield, due to the Bills strong pass coverage. The Jets have done a nice job this season of designing blitzes, especially up the middle. Their secondary is youthful, as safeties Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams are both in their rookie seasons. But, the Jets have done well in being in the right place at the right time, while in coverage. As long as the Chiefs are able to pick up yards and first downs, they should be fine offensively.
Get Kelce and Tyreek the Ball Early On
Last week, the Chiefs were trying to get the ball to Tyreek Hill early but it wasn’t working. The Chiefs continued to try and get the ball to him all game long. However, there were times when Kelce or another receiver was open and Smith was unable to see it. This is not the first time it has happened. On a fourth down attempt late in the game against Buffalo, Smith stared down Tyreek on the left side of the field and missed him in double coverage. Albert Wilson was left open underneath on a crossing route on the other side of the field.
At times, the Chiefs were able to hit their targets. However, it wasn’t nearly consistent enough. Kelce is generally automatic with his hands, so the more touches he gets the better chance the Chiefs usually have of winning. The major key though is establishing this early before it’s too late.
Force the Jets to Throw Short Passes
Josh McCown has quietly had one of his better seasons during his first year in a Jets uniform. In the offseason, New York lost veteran wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker to free agency. Quincy Enunwa, one of their top receivers from last season, got injured before the regular season as well. All of sudden, the emergence of Robby Anderson and the trade for Jermaine Kearse has made up for those losses at wide receiver. Anderson has had a touchdown reception in five straight games. He is at seven total touchdown receptions on the season.
It seems like these guys can beat almost anybody on deep routes. McCown has plenty of arm strength to deliver those throws, as much as the Jets need him to. The offensive line has also provided to be a strength in allowing McCown to excel this season. For Marcus Peters and newly signed Darrelle Revis, who is playing his old team in this game, they will need to be on their toes by any means necessary.