GAMETIME: 12:00 p.m. CST on Sunday, November 2LOCATION: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.HOW TO WATCH: CBS (KCTV5 Local)HOW TO LISTEN: 101.1 The Fox | NFL Network Game Rewind (Monday, 7:30 p.m. CST)GAMCENTER/LIVEBLOG:KCChiefs.com
The Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) and New York Jets (1-7) find themselves in very different situations.
The Chiefs, who have rattled off four wins in five games to stand at 4-3 after being in a 0-2 hole to start the season, are back in the thick of the AFC West divisional race. The Jets, after beating the still winless Oakland Raiders in their first game of the season, have lost seven games in a row and will make a quarterback change against the Chiefs.
Rather than going with second-year quarterback Geno Smith (No. 7), who in eight games this season has thrown 10 interceptions to just seven touchdowns, the Jets will start veteran Michael Vick (No. 1), who previously played under now-Chiefs head coach Andy Reid for four seasons as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles (2009-2012).
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson spent some time with Vick from 2011-2012 as the Eagles' quarterbacks coach.
"Tremendous athlete, great leader on that football team," Pederson said of Vick. "He still has the ability to extend plays with his legs. He still has that quickness. He's got cannon for an arm. Smart quarterback that knows where everybody's going to be on the football field."
Vick has completed 26 passes in 56 attempts for 200 yards so far this season for the Jets, with no touchdowns and one interception. Notorious for rushing the ball, he has also compiled 92 yards rushing on 12 chances.
As a run-heavy team, the Jets will primarily rely on running back Chris Ivory (No. 33) to gain yards against the Chiefs. Ivory leads the team with five rushing touchdowns on the year and with 475 yards rushing on 101 attempts, offers the best yards-per-carry rate (4.7) among the Jets' running back group.
Vick's options through the air include wide receivers Eric Decker (No. 87), Jeremy Kerley (No. 11) and the newly acquired Percy Harvin (No. 16). Decker leads the team in receiving touchdowns and yards receiving, and Harvin in his debut with the Jets had just three receptions for 22 yards.
Expect Harvin, who has game-changing-play capability, to be more and more involved in the Jets' game planning as the weeks go on.
"[He's] dangerous with the ball in his hands to go along with an amazing run game," Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith said of Harvin.
Smith will join a secondary without cornerbacks Jamell Fleming and Chris Owens, who are officially listed as out due to injury. But the good news for the Chiefs is that safety Eric Berry, who has been out since Week 2 with a high-ankle sprain, will be back in the lineup.
"Eric will play," Reid said in his press conference Friday. "We'll just see how he does and how he feels. Eric's getting back in the swing of things and we're glad he's back and available."
Linebacker Justin Houston, playing in front of Berry and the secondary, will look to add a sack to his total for a sixth straight game. Houston currently leads the NFL in sacks with 10.
A matchup to watch will be the Chiefs' pass rushers against the Jets' offensive line. Overall, the Chiefs have sacked the opposing quarterback 24 times and the Jets' offensive line has allowed 22, a tie for the sixth worst mark in the league.
On offense, Alex Smith will rely on his offensive line to stop the Jets' most impressive unit: their defensive line.
The Jets, like the Chiefs, have sacked the opposing quarterback 24 times this season, but the main difference is that the sacks have come from 12 different players. In their defensive scheme, the Jets' position players change positions freely, and this makes it difficult for opposing offenses.
Pederson said this week that against variety like that, Smith will need options.
"You just have to go into a game with plays run and pass that are kind of good versus every look," he said. "There's something that presents itself in the game and the quarterback has to do the right thing with the football whether it be checking the protection, throwing hot or utilizing a back out of the backfield.
"He's going to throw you a bunch of looks and you just go in and execute your game plan and fine tune the details of your work."
The main threats on the line for the Jets are Sheldon Richardson (No. 91) on the right side and Muhammad Wilkerson (No. 96) on the left. The two together have recorded eight of the 24 total team sacks.
"They're aggressive," Smith said this week. "They throw a lot at you [and] do very unorthodox things. I think after last week I expect them to come out and give us everything they've got."
Even at 1-7, the Jets' defense does an outstanding job at containing opposing running backs. Through their eight first games, they've allowed only 85.4 yards rushing per game, good for fourth best in the league.
If Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis are contained, look for Smith to use the multitude of weapons he has at his disposal to score points for the Chiefs. Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe remain first and second in targets, receptions and yards receiving, so they are two players to keep an eye on when the Chiefs have the ball.
With two very different outlooks, the Chiefs and Jets meet at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday in the 37th meeting between the two franchises.
The Chiefs enter with a lot of momentum and seek to win their third game in a row as the Jets hope their quarterback change can prevent their worst losing streak in 18 years.
Meet the starting roster for the 2014 New York Jets.