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The Chiefs need to start fast against Jets or they’re in trouble

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A few things we’re looking for as the Kansas City Chiefs host the New York Jets on Sunday.

Get a lead

If I had to pick one reason why the Chiefs have looked bad in the first two weeks it’s that they were playing from behind. The Chiefs offense hasn’t taken a snap with the lead. The Chiefs, like all teams, would rather play from ahead. They have a good running game, (mostly) turnover-free quarterback and a (mostly) solid defense. That’s a team built to get a lead and hang onto it as the Chiefs did last year in their winning streak. The Chiefs can’t get down against the Jets, Even a 7-0 deficit makes it feel like a different team sometimes.

Fun fact: the Chiefs are 32nd in first half points. The Jets are first.

Turnovers, duh

This is a key thing to watch for every week because turnovers play such a huge role in the outcome of a game. BJ Kissel had a good stat the other day. In the past two years the Chiefs are 11-3 when not committing a turnover and 9-9 when they commit one or more. I’m not that concerned about the turnovers because those fumbles last week felt really fluky. Spencer Ware can’t remember the last fumble he had. Alex Smith had some ridiculous streak going of snaps without fumbling it. The Chiefs will get back on track this week.

Maintain the integrity of the pocket

A fancy way of saying don’t let Alex Smith get his ass beat. Get a pocket for him to throw in. He won’t have all day against this defensive line which is freakishly good. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams are all first round picks and they play like it. The Jets have six sacks in two games FROM THEIR DEFENSIVE LINE. The Chiefs would kill for production like that. To make matters worse, this group is going up against a Chiefs offensive line that had a lot of trouble with the Texans last week and that will be missing one, possibly two starting guards. That’s gonna be a lot of push up the middle of the pocket. Hold on tight.

Use Jets aggressiveness against them

The Chiefs are going to have their shots with a Jets defense that likes to bring the pressure. Whether it’s Jeremy Maclin against Darrelle Revis or Travis Kelce against a safety or linebacker, the Chiefs will have to win one on one situations. They have to. It’s worth testing them deep with Jeremy Maclin, too. Gang Green Nation says the Jets are vulnerable there. The Chiefs are also a good screen team with their athletic linemen. This is a good time to see some of those receiver screens. (Talking about screens makes me sad Jamaal Charles isn’t playing) Shorter passes, misdirections and all that are good here too.

Size disadvantage

The Jets top three receivers are listed like this:

Brandon Marshall: 6’4, 229 pounds

Eric Decker: 6’3, 206 pounds

Quincy Enunwa: 6’2, 225 pounds

That’s pretty big. Marcus Peters 6’0 and about 200 pounds and Phillip Gaines is about 6’0 and 190 pounds. If Gaines can’t go, Steven Nelson is listed at 5’11, 194 pounds. The Jets like to sling it deep to so Ryan Fitzpatrick will throw those passes even if his receivers are covered because he knows he has the size advantage. The Chiefs corners will be tested.