The Kansas City Chiefs travel to the Meadowlands this weekend to play the New York Jets on Sunday Night Football. Many observers expect to see the Chiefs put up a second-consecutive blowout victory following their dominant 41-10 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday — and the Jets’ middling offensive performances since losing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a season-ending injury early in Week 1.
Speaking from the locker room after Friday’s practice, Chiefs safety Justin Reid made it clear that he does not see the Jets as a walkover opponent.
“Kind of deceptive,” he said of pundits writing off New York’s chances. “I feel like this is a game that everyone expects to be a one-sided game, but that’s not the way the NFL is. In the NFL, they get their paychecks too. They have talented players.”
While they are clearly reeling from losing Rodgers, Reid respects the talented roster they put around the future Hall of Famer.
“Of course, the quarterback situation is a big deal in the NFL,” he stated, “but before the quarterback — before the quarterback change — you look at the type of skill, talent, and the type of weapons that they have, people were putting them in the Super Bowl when Aaron Rodgers is at the helm. So, it’s not like they lost all that talent.
“They did have a change at the quarterback position, and Zach Wilson is struggling a little bit. But he’s still an NFL quarterback, and he’s still a first-round pick and they have talent around him that can help him and help that offense play.”
The Jets’ lone victory in the young season came against a team the Chiefs expect to compete with for the top spot in the AFC.
“This is a team that beat the Buffalo Bills in Week One,” Reid recalled, “and Zach Wilson played every snap except four plays.”
As always, Reid knows the Chiefs, as defending Super Bowl champions, should expect the best performance each opponent has in them.
“Playing up to our standard is what we’re going to go out there and do,” he predicted. Nothing is ever given in this league — everything is earned. So, we have to go out there with the expectation that we will get their best shot, and we need to make sure we handle business.”
Earlier this week, Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. — in an often heavily truncated locker room quote — caught attention for calling the Jets “a team that wants to run the ball.” Reid appeared to express similar sentiments — though likely with more tact after his teammate was misconstrued throughout sports media.
“[They have a] defensive-minded head coach,” he explained, “so I know they’re going to want to rely on their defense, which is stacked, to go out and make some plays. Of course, if you’re going to run the ball, there’s always going to be complimentary bootlegs and play-action shots. So, we have to just make sure on our back end when we have deep responsibilities to make sure we take care of our job and make them a one-dimensional team.”
While the Chiefs have the polar opposite of a defensive-minded head coach, Reid’s side of the ball has drawn rave reviews in the first part of the season. The unit has only surrendered three touchdowns on the season. Against Chicago, the Chiefs’ defense flirted with a shutout until late in the third quarter — by which time Kansas City had put 41 points on the board and had begun pulling starters from the game.
Regardless of who was on the field, Reid was sad to lose the shutout — and hopes for another chance soon.
“I was very disappointed that we didn’t get it,” he recalled, “but you know, things happen. The good news is there’s another opportunity at it this week — and every week after.”