The Matchups – Chiefs vs Jets

Chiefs vs Jets, 12:00 PM CDT, Sunday, The Meadowlands.

WHEN THE CHIEFS PASS

Tyler Thigpen gets his second straight start in a terrible matchup at New York. While the Jets' weakness on defense is their secondary, their pass rush is good enough to put plenty of heat on Thigpen, especially considering the state of KC's offensive line. With Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace, Shaun Ellis and Kris Jenkins, don't be surprised if yet another Chiefs quarterback ends up injured Sunday.

Thomas is playing well for the third straight year after many declared him a bust under Herm Edwards during his first four NFL seasons. He leads the Jets in sacks (4.5) and will team up with Ellis on the left side of New York's attack to give Damion McIntosh plenty of trouble. Pace isn't exactly Shawne Merriman but has plenty of quickness off the right side. The Jets bring a multitude of blitzes from their 3-4 defense, a scheme the Chiefs have struggled with since preseason.

If the Chiefs can block New York's rush, there's really no one in the secondary capable of handling Dwayne Bowe or Tony Gonzalez on a consistent basis, although second-year corner Darrelle Revis is fulfilling the Jets' expectations after a fine rookie season. But that's a big if.

EDGE: Jets


WHEN THE JETS PASS

At age 38, Brett Favre continues to get it done. The Jets have turned into a pass-first team with Favre at the helm, and he's done wonders for New York's pair of veteran receivers who were already quite good – Jerricho Cotchery (who may miss the game with an injury) and Laveranues Coles. But Favre also does a great job of finding his third receiver, Chansi Stuckey.

Coles' speed will be a big test for Kansas City's rookie corners, and Stuckey is so quick it's difficult to see the Chiefs stopping him on underneath routes. Last week against the Raiders, Favre distributed the ball underneath from a five-wide formation often, continually hitting his receivers for short gains time and time again.

Because there's absolutely no reason for the Jets to fear KC's league-worst pass rush, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer may choose a similar strategy again this week. The Jets have given up a high number of sacks, but D'Brickashaw Ferguson, despite his shortcomings, is way too athletic not to handle Tamba Hali with complete ease.

EDGE: Jets


WHEN THE CHIEFS RUN

Forget all of New York's weapons in the pass-rush game. The real monster lies in the middle of their defensive line, in Kris Jenkins, who is flourishing like never before as a 3-4 nose tackle.

Jenkins may have gained weight in the last five years (he's a hefty 349 pounds), but it's only helping him in his new role. He gets consistent, great penetration in the run game, gets off blocks well to make an occasional tackle near the line of scrimmage, and essentially is the major key to New York's run defense, which is allowing just 3.2 yards per carry. If Chiefs' center Rudy Niswanger can handle Jenkins, it would be a major feather in the cap of his young NFL career.

The Jets also have a pair of great inside linebackers in David Harris, a stout player who comes downhill with effectiveness in the running game, and veteran Eric Barton. The Chiefs have benched Larry Johnson for the second straight game, so there's little hope of a successful running game for another week.

Edge: Jets


WHEN THE JETS RUN

Thomas Jones got back on track with his first 100-yard game since Week 1 last Sunday against the Raiders, and it's safe to say the Chiefs won't be stopping him either. The Jets don't have the league's most beastly offensive line, but the offseason acquisition of former Steelers guard Alan Faneca is paying dividends. Faneca works well with third-year center Nick Mangold, who can not only hold his own at the point of attack, but gets downfield well and cleans up linebackers.

Does anything else really need to be said? The Chiefs give up rushing yards by the truckload. Expect more of the same in New York.

Edge: Jets


SPECIAL TEAMS

Leon Washington, a lightning-quick third-year player in the Dante Hall mold, has blossomed into an outstanding returner for New York. The Chiefs have improved on special teams, but with punter Dustin Colquitt sidelined with an injury, will Steve Weatherford punt well enough to contain Washington, who also returns kickoffs?

The Chiefs dumped Nick Novak for rookie Connor Barth this week. Perhaps they should have signed the other kicker they worked out, veteran Jay Feely, who is eight out of 10 for New York this season in relief of Mike Nugent.

EDGE: Jets


INTANGIBLES

The Chiefs' season is essentially meaningless without Brodie Croyle or Larry Johnson in the game. Meanwhile, the Jets need a win to stay in the playoff hunt after dropping a game to the Raiders last week. How quickly will the Chiefs pack it in if New York gets ahead early by 14 points? Jets head coach Eric Mangini is 1-0 lifetime against Herm Edwards.

EDGE: Jets


PREDICTION

The Chiefs haven't even come close to hitting rock bottom just yet. The Tyler Thigpen Comedy Hour is on the road in New York this week. Tune in for the laughs.

Jets 38, Chiefs 7

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