NFL Prediction Week 14: Pesky Kansas City Chiefs Travel To NY Jets
Saturday, December 10, 2011
by Aengus Moorehead
When the playoffs draw near, winning ugly trumps losing pretty. Few teams have embraced the concept tighter than the New York Jets.
Left for dead after a Tim Tebow-engineered loss at Denver on Nov. 17, the Jets have responded with consecutive defeats of Buffalo and Washington, both of whom they trailed in the fourth quarter before rallying for season-salvaging victories.
The Jets scored in the final minute to top the Bills, 28-24, two weeks ago at home. They then traveled to FedEx Field last week and outscored the Redskins by a 21-3 margin in the final eight minutes of a 34-19 win.
At 7-5, the Jets are in a four-team logjam for the second of the AFC's two Wild Card spots and sit behind Cincinnati, Tennessee and Oakland in the race despite an identical record. New York lost on the Raiders' home field in Week 3 and trails the Bengals and Titans based on conference records.
Thus, the necessity of a win at home against a 5-7 AFC opponent.
New York won five of its final six games in 2009 to end at 9-7 before making a run to the AFC Championship Game. Last season, the Jets lost three of their last five contests in the regular season and finished at 11-5, but won at both Indianapolis and New England to again reach the conference title game.
Running back Shonn Greene gained 88 yards and scored three touchdowns against Washington, his best output since going for 112 against San Diego on Oct. 23. Meanwhile, Kansas City is 25th in the league against the run, allowing 130.3 yards per game.
On the Chiefs' side, New York will see a familiar face from its 2009 playoff run.
Kansas City running back Thomas Jones posted career-bests of 1,402 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns for the Jets that year before being released after the season. With the Chiefs, he's part of a crowded backfield in the absence of the injured Jamaal Charles and will face his former team for the first time since leaving.
In one career meeting with the Jets, Jones ran for 121 yards while with Chicago in 2006.
The Chiefs have scored just 35 points since the start of November, only one more than the Jets had last week, but their defense has begun to pick up the slack. That was evidenced by a 10-3 defeat of Chicago, against whom Kansas City registered seven sacks and three interceptions to end a four-game skid last Sunday.
The Chiefs trail Denver and Oakland by two games in the AFC West with four left.
Kansas City hosts Green Bay and Oakland before ending the season at Denver on Jan. 1.
The overall regular season series between the Chiefs and Jets is knotted at 16-16-1, with New York drawing even by virtue of home wins in the past two matchups. The Jets edged Kansas City by a 13-10 count in overtime in 2007, then followed up with a 28-24 decision at the Meadowlands the subsequent season. The Chiefs last bested New York via a 27-7 verdict at Arrowhead Stadium in 2005, and their most recent victory as the visitor in this set came by a 29-25 score on Oct. 6, 2002.
These two teams have also met twice in the postseason, with the Jets earning a 35-15 home triumph in a 1985 AFC opening-round clash and the Chiefs posting a 13-6 win in New York in a 1969 AFL Inter-Divisional Playoff.
Both Rex Ryan and Todd Haley, who spent six seasons with the Jets as both a scout and a wide receivers coach from 1995-2000, will be facing one another as well as their counterpart's respective teams for the first time as head coaches.
Time & Venue:
- 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 11, 2011. MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
NFL Football Odds: Jets -10.5 O/U 36.5
The Jets, who are 5-1 at home this season, aim for their second three-game winning streak of the season and hoping to keep pace in the AFC wild-card picture. New York rallied from a 16-13 deficit last week as Mark Sanchez found Santonio Holmes for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter for the second straight week, putting New York in a four-way tie for the conference’s final playoff spot.
New York has beaten the Chiefs two straight times, both at home, and got a career-high three touchdowns from Shonn Greene last week. Emerging defensive star Aaron Maybin also had a key sack of Rex Grossman to help put the game out of reach.
Kansas City surprised Pittsburgh two weeks ago with a solid defensive effort but couldn’t put anything together offensively in a 13-9 loss. Last week, the Chiefs got their first offensive touchdown in three weeks to sink the Bears 10-3.
Kansas City hasn’t scored more than 10 points in its last five games but suddenly feels good about its efforts. Its defense recorded seven sacks and picked off three of Caleb Hanie’s passes in his second start since Jay Cutler was injured. QB Tyler Palko is expected to get the call as Kyle Orton is questionable with a finger injury. Orton replaced the ineffective signal caller last week but was hurt on his first play.
The fate of a resurgent Greene against the Chiefs' 25th-ranked run defense will play a large role in both the composition and the result of this game.
The inexperienced Palko will surely be a target of a Jets defense that's established a reputation for confusing passers with exotic coverage and rush packages. How he handles his assignment will be critical to Kansas City's success.
Teams with multiple weapons like Kansas City, which has a good pass-catcher out of the backfield in Dexter McCluster and two strong options at wide receiver in Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston, have been a trying task for New York in past matchups. The Jets will have to be up to the challenge.
Kansas City has won three of its last four games on the road.
Sanchez became the fifth QB to win 30 games in his first three seasons with last week's win.
Jets all-purpose back Joe McKnight will miss the game with an elbow injury
NY Jets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games when playing at home against Kansas City
NY Jets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games when playing Kansas City
The total has gone OVER in 13 of the NY Jets last 18 games
Kansas City is 4-8-1 SU in their last 13 games ,when playing NY Jets
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kansas City's last 5 games
Kansas City is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
The opponents change but the storylines don't when December arrives for the Jets, who've been accustomed to fighting for playoff spots since Ryan arrived on the sideline. Though the 2011 team seems to have regressed a bit from last year's edition, New York figures to be good enough to exploit a suspect Kansas City offense with a novice quarterback on its own home field. Successfully, if not artistically.
NFL Football Pick: Take Jets.
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