Good morning! Today's Kansas City Chiefs news is shifting to this Sunday's game against the Jets. Keep reading for stories on Justin Houston's play, the Jets keeping games close, and Tyler Palko's brain. Enjoy.
With four games to play in an inconsistent, mostly disappointing season, protecting the ball and getting out of the defense's way is likely to be the best option for the Chiefs' offense. Palko has shown few flashes of brilliance in three starts, and with backup quarterback Kyle Orton's status unknown after a finger injury he suffered on Sunday, it's a long shot that a Palko-led offense will suddenly become a high-octane scoring unit.
On Sunday, Kansas City will make its first appearance at the new MetLife Stadium since the facility opened in 2010. The Chiefs will play their second-consecutive road game when the club faces the N.Y. Jets on Dec. 11. Kansas City is coming off of a thrilling 10-3 victory at Chicago (12/4) that saw the Chiefs defense continually make momentum changing plays throughout the contest. The Jets are coming off a 34-19 win at Washington (12/4) to improve their record to 7-5.
Chiefs vs. Jets - Game 13 from The Mothership
The fourth quarter of the season begins Sunday afternoon in New York with the Chiefs needing to extend another winning streak to keep its AFC West hopes alive.
Let's recap the Chiefs third quarter of 2011, compare it to the first and second quarters, and take a look at the current team leaders on offense, defense and special teams.
Chiefs Quarterly Report: 3rd Quarter from The Mothership
Defensive player of the week: Justin Houston. The third-round rookie linebacker from Georgia had a monster game that helped the Chiefs score an upset at Chicago: 7 tackles, 3 sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defensed. D-coordinator Romeo Crennel's plan to break in Houston gradually seems to have been the right approach. Houston, a first-round talent who slid during the draft, had his best game of the season on Sunday and has emerged as an every-down player. Alongside Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, Houston could be a long-term pillar for a linebacking crew that formulates the heart of the D.
NFL Replay: Injuries X Factor For Stretch Run from USA Today
The Chiefs have been waylaid by injuries, in-fighting and inconsistency. Their best players have been bruised, battered and beaten down. The losses have been stunning routs, the victories by the narrowest margins, and yet somehow they still have a chance to make the playoffs.
However remote it may be.
Chiefs Still Alive In AFC West, Despite Injuries, Lopsided Losses That Threatened Season from The Washington Post
When he was hired to rescue the New York Jets in 1997, Bill Parcells assembled one of the best coaching staffs in recent memory -- a Dream Team that produced four NFL head coaches, a major-college coach and a certain future Hall of Famer who migrated north and has been tormenting the Jets ever since...
...On Sunday, a good portion of that old group returns to New Jersey, dressed in red. It's theKansas City Chiefs, with a staff directory that reads like an old Jets media guide.
Say hello to "Jets Midwest."
'Jets Midwest' Coming To MetLife from ESPN
There have been two common themes during the Jets' two-game winning streak and uphill march toward the playoffs.
One is obvious: The Jets have come from behind late in each of the past two weeks to take must-win games-something the team has become known for the past two years.
The other, though, is a bit different. In each victory, the Jets benefited immensely from a short kickoff that gave them prime field position and led to important scores.
The Jets' Gift... And Curse from The Wall Street Journal
After Palko smashed Kyle Orton's finger with his brain, he returned to the field to score what would be the game-winning touchdown ... in preposterous fashion. He threw a Hail Mary that Brian Urlacher (with some help) batted down right into the arms of Dexter McCluster. It was so ridiculous the only explanation for it is that Tyler Palko willed it to happen with his brain.
Kansas City's starting quarterback Tyler Palko is as terrible as you think, but the defense has played inspired football the past two weeks.
Sunday's win over the Bears came against Caleb Hanie and Marion Barber, but a week before that, the Chiefs defense shut out the Steelers in the second half in a 13-9 defeat. If the Jets play down to their opponent, it will be another game coming down to the final minutes.
After Further Review: Giants Can't Depend On Super Defense This Time from The New York Post
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Justin Houston / OLB / Kansas City Chiefs
One of the problems for the Chiefs this season has been the lack of a consistent pass-rush presence other than OLB Tamba Hali. Kansas City might have discovered another playmaker in Week 13. The Chiefs had only 13 sacks prior to Sunday, but Houston helped a pass rush that sacked QB Caleb Hanie seven times come alive.
Week 13 Players Of The Week from ProFootballWeekly
Rex Ryan has grown tired of watching his punt returners fumble the ball. The Jets coach said Monday the team will give primary return duties to sure-handed Jim Leonhard moving forward.
Leonhard Taking Over As Jets Punt Returner from The New York Post
Only twice in 12 games have the Jets led after every quarter - Sept. 18 against Jacksonville and Oct. 17 against Miami. By contrast, they have trailed in the fourth quarter nine times, winning four, including the game at Washington on Sunday, when they capitalized on several Redskins mistakes to score 21 points in the final 4 minutes 49 seconds. It is a risky strategy, and an unintended one, obviously.
Jets Are Letting Games Go To Last Minute from The New York Times