With the time that Vick spent in Philadelphia (four seasons) it’ s possible that Head Coach Andy Reid (who spent 14 years in Philly) knows Vick’s tendencies like the back of his hand. When this game is over, the level of play from both team’s quarterbacks will likely decide the final outcome.
The Chiefs starting Quarterback (Alex Smith) is somewhat of an NFL journey man himself. After getting benched in San Francisco a few years back when Jim Harbaugh decided (rightly so) to side with Colin Kaepernick over him, he took his talents to Kansas City. Under Coach Reid, The Chiefs have been running a West Coast offense, which looks to expose subtle weaknesses for short-consistent gains. According to ESPN, last Sunday Alex Smith was the first NFL quarterback in two years to win a game by attempting just one pass longer than 10 yards down the field.
Alex Smith and Kansas City’s Offensive Line vs. Jets Pass Rush
Alex Smith get’s the ball out of his hands quickly, that’s fact. However, Smith isn’t the most athletic quarterback in the league. When he is pressured, Smith actually does do a nice job of smartly taking sacks to avoid disaster. With that being said, Smith does take sacks, a lot of sacks, 18 on the year to be exact, mostly because of a poor Offensive Line. The line is tied for 19th best in the league on sacks allowed, a respectful number for a slightly below average unit. It’ll be all on Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison to get the job done for the Jets this week.
Chiefs Defensive Line vs. the Jets Offensive Line
The Chiefs defensive line, led by Justin Houston (10 sacks on the year), is one of the most effective units in the NFL. They have 24 sacks on the year, which is the fourth best total in the league. It’s not just Houston though; the Chiefs have effective interior rushers like Dontari Poe, and Allen Bailey, they also have above average 3-4 hybrid linebackers like Tamba Hali and rookie Dee Ford. These players will most likely give the Jets offensive line fits this week, just like Buffalo did last Sunday.
Kansas City’s Dynamic Running Game
Jamal Charles and Knile Davis have been solid this year—they’ve combined for 66 points and have rushed for 765 yards so far. Charles (who’s Kansas City’s all time leading rusher) has looked like his old self after coming back from his injury early on in the year. “He’s a dynamic guy [Charles], he can play any situation.” Said Smith.
Turnovers and special teams have given Head Coach Rex Ryan fits all year long, which is a problem because Kansas City possesses explosive kick and punt returners. Rookie De’Anthony Thomas is just about as explosive as they come. His nickname (ever since he played in Snoop Dogg’s Youth Football League) is the ‘Black Mamba’, a name Snoop himself donned to Thomas for his explosive playmaking ability before Kobe Bryant adopted it). Even though Thomas only has 112 yards as a punt returner on nine attempts, he’s still a speedy playmaker that can leave his mark on the game in the blink of an eye.
Knile Davis on the other hand, isn’t even quick, let alone fast, when compared with Thomas. However, he is a skilled running back who’s found a niche with Kansas City as Charles’ back up and as a kick returner. Davis has 367 yards on the season and scored a Touchdown last week on a 99-yard return versus the Rams.
Crowd noise at Arrowhead is a factor. The stadium itself is one of the loudest in the whole league. NFL.com reported that the fans at Arrowhead stadium actually broke the world record for crowd noise a few weeks back when they trounced the Patriots on Monday night. “We practiced more silent counts this week… you’ll see more of that stuff, we know what we’re getting into,” Said Ryan.
Jets’ Ground Attack
The trio of Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, and Bilal Powell has been formidable for most of the season. Ivory and Johnson, who are the primary backs, have combined for 743 yards on the season (on par with the Chiefs). This is an advantage for the Jets if they decide to run the ball early and often as the Chiefs defense ranks 18th in the league against the run.
Jets Defense vs. Alex Smith
Smith is no gunslinger, that’s for sure. He’s had games where he’s racked up impressive stats, but he’s not the type of quarterback to throw more than 35 passes a game consistently. He also doesn’t take many chances—he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league when it comes to ball security. He’s only thrown four interceptions on the year vs. nine touchdowns. All of those picks have been thrown in losses. The Chiefs know more than anyone that if they consistently turn the ball over, they won’t be a playoff team come December. If the Jets can get to Smith early, and come up with turnovers off of his mistakes, they have a good chance to leave Arrowhead with a win.
Vick is a wild card, there’s no beating around the bush when it comes to his inconsistent play. Last week the offense seemed to run much smoother with Vick at the helm. Vick fumbled (four times, lost two) but that doesn’t mean he’s the wrong man for the job right now. Vick brings something to the table that Geno Smith rarely could —veteran savvy and the ability to escape the pocket and use his speed to pick up huge chunks of yardage. It’s true that Vick has been careless with the ball and Rex Ryan addressed that Thursday saying, “ When he runs he needs to secure the points and tuck the ball higher up. I believe he can change that [fumbling].”
It’s very interesting to see how Andy Reid will game plan against Vick and the rest of the Jets offense given his time coaching Vick in Philadelphia.