Thanks to our friends at SB Nation’s Jets blog, Gang Green Nation, for answering our Chiefs-Jets questions for this weekend! Our Q&A can be found below.
AP: What do the Jets do well on offense? What are we looking for?
GGN: Offensively, the Jets offense in recent weeks has begun to center around one man: WR Robby Anderson. The former undrafted free agent wide receiver out of Temple has evolved into one the unquestioned best deep threats in the league. He has speed and knows how to use it to his advantage, with terrific hands at the catch point. He's become the focal point of the O and Josh McCown's favorite target.
The Jets rotate three backs: Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, and rookie Elijah McGuire. Powell is easily the most efficient and capable, while McGuire has flashes of quickness, but Forte really shouldn't be taking any handoffs at this point in his career. Watch out for the occasional big play from either Powell or McGuire, as both are capable of busting out a couple big plays a game even behind a very lackluster offensive line.
AP: The Chiefs need to get right on turnovers. Will Josh McCown throw a pick this weekend?
GGN: McCown has kept the pick total to a modest eight, but luck has played a bit of a role. He still makes more dangerous throws than most quarterbacks, and has had a lot of help down the field from Robby Anderson. For a quarterback who has worked mostly within short range of the line of scrimmage for most of the year, he has definitely had too many risky balls leave his hand. Against a Chiefs defense with a reputation for taking the ball away at high rates, I can absolutely see McCown tossing an interception this Sunday. He has avoided a pick in four of six home games, though.
AP: What is the Jets defensive line like? Can they get pressure on the quarterback?
GGN: The Jets' revered defensive line got off to a very quiet start but has seen a bit of a revival in recent weeks. Muhammad Wilkerson is still capable of dominance, as he has shown on a couple of occasions this year, but those games are coming far too rarely. More often than not, his silence has been deafening. Leonard Williams doesn't boast superstar stats, but the eye test shows a line-wrecking monster who can at times live in the quarterback's face. Also keep an eye on nose tackle Steve McLendon, if he is healthy enough to play. He plays less than half of the Jets' defensive snaps, but when on the field is as efficient of a run stuffer as there is in the NFL.
AP: Who is a lesser known player on defense we should watch out for?
GGN: Outside of NY/NJ, second round pick Marcus Maye hasn't gotten the recognition and headlines that fellow safety Jamal Adams has, but Maye has outplayed Adams and been the team's best player for much of the year. Playing mostly free safety, Maye is a very consistent and reliable last line of defense. He has tremendous recognition and instincts, showing off sound, but shattering tackling ability while always keeping the play in front of him. You might not even notice him on gameday, but that is exactly why he has been so great. Last year, Jets safeties getting toasted against both the run and pass was a weekly event. With the Florida product, that has not been the case anymore.
AP: What is your score prediction and why?
GGN: It's actually a tough call. The Jets play well at home, going 3-3 against a really tough schedule that includes five current playoff teams. All three losses were very close and to teams that were in one of the last two Super Bowls. Then again, this Jets team, like their opponent, is struggling has won only one of its past six games.
The Jets are built to win sluggish, defensive games. Not shootouts. The defense dictates the outcome. They're 0-5 when giving up just 24 points or more, and 4-2 when giving up less (including 3-0 at home). Meanwhile, two of their top three best scoring performances were losses. With all that in mind, against a sputtering Chiefs offense that has really struggled to put up points recently, and also struggles against the run defensively (a major boost to a measly offensive line), this game looks to play into the Jets' hands. I'm going to be bold and predict the Jets to somehow get a win, 24-21. Then again, this team has let multiple favorable situations slip right from their grasp, so a Chiefs win would not surprise me in the slightest.