Searching for AnswersBoth the Jets (4-7) and the Chiefs (6-5) are looking to turn the corner. Each club has lost five of its past six games and while the Jets’ late-game issues have been well-documented, the Chiefs have lost four contests by a single possession.
“We have a new opportunity this week, we have to focus and just come out and practice ready to compete,” said veteran Jets WR Jermaine Kearse. “Just prepare the right way going through the film and taking the extra time. It’s the little stuff that just helps us win.”
After surging to a 5-0 start, the Chiefs are still hanging onto their AFC West lead. But they haven’t looked like a Super Bowl contender in their recent slide and they could find themselves out of the postseason unless they find their mojo soon.
“It’s tough, man, whenever you lose,” Kansas City LB Derrick Johnson told Chiefs.com. “Regardless of what the score is, it’s tough. This ball has been rolling downhill and the more losses you get, the harder that ball is to stop rolling in the wrong direction.”
Hands TeamDespite Carolina wideout Devin Funchess (7-108) becoming the first receiver to reach the century mark against the Jets this season, the defense totaled five pass defenses and held Cam Newton to a completion percentage of 39% in Week 12. Buster Skrine had a pair of PDs while Morris Claiborne, fresh off a bye to rest his foot, picked up one and was solid in coverage all afternoon. While the Green & White rank tied for 11th with 10 interceptions, Claiborne says some of the PDs must become takeaways.
“We just watched the film and most of them should’ve been interceptions. The difference is going up when the ball is in the air knowing it’s your ball as well instead of breaking it up,” he said. “Don’t settle for the break-up. At least try to make a play on it to get an interception.”
Alex Smith doesn’t turn the ball over much (1.1 INT%) though and his favorite targets are TE Travis Kelce (62-777-5TD) and WR Tyreek Hill (54-726-4TD). You would expect Claiborne to see plenty of Hill on Sunday.
Developing DuoQuietly, Robby Anderson (7 touchdowns) and Kearse (5 touchdowns) are tied for third and eighth, respectively, in touchdowns among wide receivers in the AFC. They have combined for 83 receptions for 1,234 yards and 12 scores and last week became the sixth wide receiver pair to both record 100 receiving yards in the same game. Anderson’s five-game scoring streak is the longest going in the NFL.
“He just has to continue to stay focused, stay on course and continue to work hard,” Kearse said of Anderson. “Everything else will take care of itself for him.”
Revis ReturnsAfter signing with the Chiefs, Darrelle Revis was among the inactives before Kansas City’s 16-10 loss to the Bills in Week 12. Revis, the No. 14 overall selection of the Jets in the 2017 NFL Draft, had six-year (2007-12) and two-year (2015-16) stints with the Green & White. The seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All Pro, who has 29 interceptions and 137 passes defenses, is expected to be in the lineup Sunday.
“It’s just exciting to have this opportunity to return back to football,” Revis said after the surprise signing. “I think the reason for me returning is the fire I have—the fuel I have to continue to play this game at a high level.”
The Chiefs defense has played better of late and Marcus Peters is one of the league’s most talented corners, but they are just 28th against the pass (245.6 Yds/G).
*On the Hunt *While QB Alex Smith has received the brunt of criticism for the Chiefs’ offensive malaise, the Kansas City run game has been stuck in neutral. After rookie Kareem Hunt (184-890-4TD) began the season with an NFL-record seven straight games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage, he hasn’t reached triple digits the last four games. The Bills were successful loading the box against the Chiefs, limiting the Toledo product to just 17 yards on 11 carries. The Jets inside ‘backers will once again play major roles and the emerging Darron Lee (86 tackles, 3.0 sacks) and veteran stalwart Demario Davis (116 tackles, 4.5 sacks) would like to make it a long day for the Chiefs on the ground.