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5 Storylines to Watch: Jets-Chiefs

Jets Have Been on Both Sides of the Big Play Early in 2016, Rookie ‘Backer Lee Steps Up


On the Road Again**: The Jets got off to a good road start to their season in Week 2, taking down the Bills in one of the loudest environments tenured veterans said they had ever played in. With that successful outcome behind them, the Green & White take their show to Kansas City to face a Chiefs team that has won seven consecutive games at Arrowhead Stadium. RB Matt Forte was there the last time the Chiefs lost, amassing 109 total yards and adding a receiving TD for the Bears in their 18-17 triumph on Oct. 11, 2015. Arrowhead has set a number of noise records throughout the years and the atmosphere — much like New Era Field  — has a college-type feel to it. The Chiefs spotted the Chargers a 24-3 lead in their home opener, but they completed the largest comeback in their 56-year history with a thrilling 33-27 win in overtime.

Diversified Attack:The Jets offense is humming as offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick are in sync early. Fitz, who was named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 374 yards against the Bills, has a three-headed monster at receiver in Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa. In fact, Enunwa leads the Jets in receptions with 13, and another newcomer, Forté, has lived up to his nickname. The Work Horse is the NFL's second-leading rusher with 196 yards and his three rush TDs also tie for the league lead. Center Nick Mangold, the offensive line's anchor, will match up with NT Dontari Poe on Sunday while it will be interesting to see if the Chiefs move CB Marcus Peters around or isolate him on one of the Jets top wideouts. Both Marshall (knee) and Decker (shoulder) didn't practice Wednesday. The Chiefs have a fine safety tandem with Eric Berry and converted CB Ron Parker.

Making His Mark: Rookie ILB Darron Lee is tied for the team lead with 12 tackles including 10 solo stops. With the Jets holding on to a 30-24 lead over the Bills last Thursday, Lee combined with DL Sheldon Richardson on a key fourth-and-1 run stuff of RB LeSean "Shady" McCoy. Lee made his first professional start in Buffalo and with veteran Erin Henderson dealing with a foot injury, he figures to be counted on against the Chiefs. Kansas City TE Travis Kelce is one of the top tight ends in football, RB Spencer Ware leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage (127 rushing, 177 receiving) and the explosive Jamaal Charles (knee) could make his return, so Lee's athleticism could pay huge dividends at Arrowhead.

The Big Play: While Fitzpatrick is tied for second amongst quarterbacks with 11 completions of 20+yards, the Jets have had issues with long-gainers defensively. During their 1-1 start, the Green & White are tied with the Raiders in terms of 40+ completions allowed with five. And they also are T8 in terms of 20+yard completions yielded with nine. Head coach Todd Bowles has said the secondary has been victimized by busts in coverage and communication issues in the back end.  He acknowledges it's a copycat league and teams will continue to test the Jets vertically until they put the fire out. Known for their West Coast offense and short passing game, the Chiefs have players who can get down the field in the aforementioned Kelce, savvy veteran wideout Jeremy Maclin and young burner Chris Conley.

Third Down Success: The Jets have been dominant in time of possession, holding the ball for 37:03 per contest. They have converted nearly half (48%) of their third down attempts and the defense currently ranks sixth on third down while limiting clubs to just a 28.6% conversion rate. Meanwhile the Chiefs offense has had a difficult time keeping the chains moving as their 28.6% conversion rate ranks 27th and their TOP average of 26:00 is 28th.  Smith has already been sacked seven times and the Jets, who racked up seven sacks against the Bengals, would like to turn up the heat in Missouri.

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