The first game of the Chiefs season will be against the New York Jets, a team that qualified for the playoffs in 2004 and is a strong candidate for taking the AFC East crown this year.
The Jets feature a strong defense and a power running game fueled by the NFL's leading rusher, running back Curtis Martin. This year's draftees, kicker Mike Nugent and cornerback Justin Miller, will be looking to make an instant impact on this team.
Team Preview New York Jets:
The Jets came within an eyelash of the AFC Championship game, losing in overtime to the Pittsburgh Steelers when former kicker Doug Brien missed a pair of field goals late in the game. This season, the Jets are intent on taking the next step despite their tough schedule, which features two games against the New England Patriots, home games against Jacksonville, San Diego and Oakland, and road games against Baltimore, Carolina and Atlanta.
With Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson calling the plays, the Jets are looking to improve on last years overall strong defensive performance. The Jets were ranked seventh in yards allowed, relinquishing 304 yards a game, and fourth in points, giving 16.3. This offseason, the Jets added perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law, who, if healthy, will provide a boost to the secondary. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, the team's leading tackler last season, will continue to be a center piece within the defense, leading the charge within the Jets' attacking scheme.
On the offensive side, the Jets are led by Curtis Martin, who with 1697 yards, paced the entire NFL last season. New Offensive Coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, formerly of the Tennessee Titans, will be looking to stretch the field vertically, and with new old face Laveranues Coles and Justin McCareins, has the wide receivers to accomplish that end. Quarterback Chad Pennington will need to establish his arm as a weapon early and often in games. The Jets traditional play-action attack will facilitate matters.
Under Head Coach Herm Edwards, the Jets are well coached, executing their offense and defense efficiently. They commit few penalties and are one of the least penalized teams in the league. However, the Jets are notorious for questionable game management, at times not managing the clock as well as one would expect of an NFL team.
Chad Pennington has a reputation for not having a strong arm. It will be interesting to see how well Pennington can execute the new vertical offense.
With the addition of Ty Law, the Jets no doubt will feel more confident in their blitz schemes. With Law potentially locking down one side of the field, look for the Jets to send a linebacker or safety at the quarterback more often than they've done in their recent past.
The Jets have a strong offensive line, anchored by all-world center Kevin Mawae. The line holds up well in pass protection and can run block. It will be tough to get to Pennington.
Reserve running back Derrick Blaylock will add a spark spelling Curtis Martin. Blaylock adds a new dimension of speed to the Jets team and works well as a receiver.
This is a winnable game for the Chiefs. If the Chiefs can control the line of scrimmage defensively and contain Curtis Martin, the Chiefs should be able to pull this one out. Offensively, the Chiefs will have to go right at the defense, mixing the run and the pass. The Jets' ability to defend sideline to sideline makes it difficult to work the perimeter.
Team Previews: Week #1 vs. New York Jets
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