Talking shop: Jets at Chiefs

Think of putting a round peg in a square hole, Texas hold ‘em without a full deck, or Monopoly without the cash. That is the smarts put together when Nick Athan of and Denis Savage of come together to talk about the upcoming Chiefs vs. Jets game.

The first game of the season, pitting the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the New York Jets, is accompanied by five topics of great importance to the final outcome. Turn up the hearing aid and listen in:

Trent Green will start despite having a stent placed in an artery in his leg just days ago:

Nick Athan: Over the last four seasons nobody (outside of Brett Favre) has been more durable as a starting quarterback then Trent Green. He's started 64 consecutive games and last week that streak was in serious jeopardy. Green had a stent placed in an artery that increased circulation to his foot. With the procedure behind him, Green and the Chiefs are confident that he'll be 100 percent for the game. Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil said he's not worried about Green but the fans are uneasy especially since the team does not have the services of back-up quarterback Todd Collins. That means if anything would happen to Green, journeyman Damon Huard would get the nod. He's been very erratic in training camp. Though he's fully recovered from a head contusion suffered against the Arizona Cardinals in the second preseason game, the Chiefs don't want to see him in the game. Green has been sharp in practice this week but the Jets will bring the heat. The true test for Green will be how fast he can get up after being sacked or knocked down by the Jets pass rush.

Denis Savage: The Jets will be looking for a first round TKO of Green come Sunday. Seeing a few more blitzes than normal will not be a surprise as they try and make Green uncomfortable in the pocket. While no team has a purpose to try and knock a quarterback out of a game, the Jets want to make life miserable for the Chiefs signal caller. If they can consistently get some hurries on Green, it will force the quarterback to change the way he plays the game. The hope is they can get into the mind of the smart quarterback and force him to make throws he would not normally make.

Curtis Martin told the New York media that he is confident he can run amok on the Chiefs:

Nick Athan: When talking to the local media this week in New York, future Hall-of-Fame running back Curtis Martin was very confident that he could run wild against the Chiefs defense. If there was a positive in the preseason for Kansas City, it was there run defense. Defensive tackles Ryan Sims and Lional Dalton have solidified the middle and with linebackers Kendrell Bell and Derrick Johnson patrolling the outside, Martin's running lanes could close quickly. The key for the Chiefs in stopping Martin could come down to middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell. The third year player was very solid in the preseason and he has the complete support of his teammates as Mitchell tries to fill the shoes of Mike Maslowski who was released last month. If that does not happen and Martin makes a living in the Chiefs secondary, then it could be a long days for the Chiefs defense.

Denis Savage: When you are the reigning owner of the NFL rushing title at the age of 31 and there hasn't been a misstep in ten seasons, you are afforded some bragging rights. Aiming to become the first player to ever rush for 1,000 yards in 11 straight seasons to open his career, Martin is the quintessential runner. His mark of greatness is built on consistency. But it was slightly out of character to hear him so confident. Forget how they looked in the preseason against second and third stringers, Kansas City ranked 14th against the run a year ago and have added speed to their defense in 2005. But this first game will be a test of stamina. Martin's running style is conducive to breaking down the opposition in the fourth quarter when they are tired. Since this is the first game of the year, conditioning may not be at its zenith for either defense and Martin should get plenty of second half yards.

The Jets sign Ty Law to the dismay of the Chiefs:

Denis Savage: Ty Law may have pushed the New York Jets beyond just the playoffs and into the Super Bowl. If there was one signing that may have pushed them past the New England Patriots, this was it. He brings an attitude and playmaking ability, pending his health, to the Jets secondary and gives them the feel of a true contender. The Chiefs may have erred in not signing Law. They are better than their 8-8 record of a year ago but have the challenge of trying to eclipse the Chargers in the AFC West. Without Law, the chances of that went down a notch. Built to win now, he would have put them over the top on their rebound from mediocrity.

Nick Athan: The Kansas City Chiefs took a swing at cornerback Ty Law but like their neighbors across the parking lot, the Kansas City Royals; they struck out. Instead the season in which so much money was spent on the defensive side of the football; has one less weapon to play Gunther Cunningham's attacking style of football. Now the Chiefs hope to expose Law and they'll test him early. Look for the Chiefs to go downfield often with speedsters Eddie Kennison and Sammy Parker when Law is playing man-on-man coverage. If nothing else, the Chiefs want to test if Law is truly 100 percent and back in football shape. If this game is close in the fourth quarter, Kansas City could exploit Law if he's not in game shape. For the Kansas City fans and the organization, they hope he's not. The last thing this organization wants is for Law to make a big play that prevents the home team from winning the game.

The New York Jets secondary as a whole has not played together and a rookie will start at safety:

Denis Savage: Whether to run or pass. That will be an important aspect of the game on Sunday. The Chiefs have to find a comfort zone with Trent Green doing his five step drop and challenge the secondary of New York, particularly the safeties. While they make plays, Law and rookie starter Kerry Rhodes will be on the field at the same time for the first time in live action. This could determine the outcome – if the Chiefs can find not only a way to exploit it but the time for Green to be comfortable in the pocket with Shaun Ellis and John Abraham cutting his lanes down, Kansas City could run away with this game.

Nick Athan: Kansas City knows they're facing a young safety in Kerry Rhodes. That means Rhodes will see plenty of All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez. The 2004 record setter for receptions has been solid in preseason and has fully recovered from a foot injury that required offseason surgery. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback also has the advantage of using tight end Kris Wilson. Injured a year ago, Wilson can play on the line or they could spread him out like a wide receiver and that could cause nightmares for the Jets defensive secondary.

The outcome of the game:

Denis Savage: The Jets debut a new offensive scheme and face a team that has intimate knowledge of it. Jets offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger worked with Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham in Tennessee. Advantage Chiefs. Trent Green will play on Sunday but will he be the same player. The Jets ranked sixth in the league against the run, an important consideration when the Chiefs are in town. Stop the run and make Green show his leg can take the pounding through an NFL game. Advantage Jets. An Arrowhead crowd will be pumped for this game but the Jets may be meeting this team at the right moment in time with Green hobbled. Jets 30, Chiefs 24.

Nick Athan: With so much talk and focus on the teams respective defenses, this game is likely going to boil down to which quarterback can make the plays down the stretch. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green shows no ill effects of the stent that was placed in his leg last week and Jets quarterback Chad Pennington appears to be near 100 percent after offseason shoulder surgery. Pennington will face a hungry Chiefs defense that hopes to shed the nickname of the '32 Defense' that has been bestowed on them for having one of the worst units in NFL history the past two seasons. If the Chiefs don't find a pass rush, then Pennington has the arm and patience to pick apart the Kansas City secondary. For Green, he has to improve on his poor play in the Red Zone that plagued him a year ago. If not, the Jets could upset the Chiefs at home.

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