Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Olivia Landis will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: How can the Jets give themselves a chance late in the game against the Chiefs?
EA: The defending Super Bowl champions don't have many weaknesses, but they do yield yards on the ground. Kansas City is 30th against the run, allowing 149.9 yards per game . The Jets showed some pop in the run game last week with Frank Gore and La'Mical Perine, and tackle Mekhi Becton. They are likely to be matched up with DE Frank Clark, who is dangerous on the second level. Field goals won't cut it, so the Jets should adopt a four-down offensive approach inside the 50. The Chiefs have been average defensively in the red zone, ranking 23rd (70%). Defensively, the idea is to bend but don't break against a proficient cast headlined by Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le'Veon Bell. The Jets; red-zone defense was excellent against Buffalo and the Green & White have surged to fifth in that category (51.7%). The Chiefs have scored 23+ points in 21 straight games and they are the only club to allow 20 or fewer points in six games this year. In the Chiefs' sole loss this season, the Raiders hit on five plays of at least 40 yards. This is a daunting task, but the Jets have to run it and control the clock, make some huge chunk gains in the passing game, win in the red zone on both sides and make a couple of momentum-changing plays on special teams.
EG: The Jets have to eat up the clock, which can be done on offense and defense. The Chiefs allow 149.9 rushing yards per game (No. 30 in the NFL), which means the Green & White could turn to a heavy dose of RBs La'Mical Perine and Frank Gore. They combined for 100 yards on 22 rushes (4.5 yards per carry) and the offensive line could have LG Alex Lewis (shoulder) back in the lineup after missing Week 7's game against the Bills. However the Jets elect to move the ball, they have to find the end zone because the Chiefs average 31 points per game. On defense, teams have been forcing QB Patrick Mahomes and the offense to drive the length of the field and run the ball with rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, which takes up time. The defense can't let the Chiefs offense score quickly with any big plays, which is tough to do with the speed of WRs Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. It's not going to be easy for the Jets to replicate last week's third-down success and not give up a touchdown, but if they can do a good job of forcing Kansas City off the field on third down and in the red zone, they'll give themselves a chance.
RL: The best way for the Jets to give themselves a chance late against KC is to establish the foundation for that endgame with some good old-fashioned "ground 'n' pound" early and in midgame. The Jets ground game with Frank Gore in the lead and rookie La'Mical Perine providing impressive, timely production and with maybe a dash of Ty Johnson thrown in, has shown life (15th in the NFL in yards/carry). The Chiefs' run defense would appear to be the most vulnerable area of their scrimmage game (30th in yards allowed/game, 29th in yards allowed/carry as the Chargers, Patriots and Broncos ran with abandon). An effective Jets rushing attack will give QB Sam Darnold his best chance to avoid blitzes and find the receivers he'll have available in the passing game, and it will hold down Patrick Mahomes' and the Chiefs offense's time on the Arrowhead Stadium field. And if it all works out, it will give the Green & White the possibility of being within one score down the stretch. That didn't work out against the Bills, but this is a new week and it's time to make a leap in offensive progress.
OL: Last week against the Bills, the Jets went into halftime leading, 10-6. They ruled time of possession, established the run and moved the ball efficiently, totaling 15 first downs — all in the first half. The story was written much differently in the third and fourth quarters, though. With 4 total yards of offense in the entire second half, the Green & White could not duplicate their first-half performance. The Jets are still searching for their first win, and playing the defending Super Bowl champs is not an easy task. If the offense can start off hot, like it did last week and maintain a steady performance into the second half — most importantly the fourth quarter — the team will have a fighting chance. The offense will need all the help it can get, however, DC Gregg Williams' defense is coming off what the unit believes to be its best collective performance this season, allowing three third-down conversions and limiting the Bills to 0-5 in the red zone. With the Chiefs claiming the No. 4 overall offense in the league, the Jets' defense will need another stellar performance to have a fair shot.