I’ll admit the Taylor Swift distraction has been fun to cover the last three days, but today is a workday for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Pop singer went back to New York on Tuesday, and the Chiefs hit the practice field today in preparation for their Sunday Night game against the Jets.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the talk of the NFL. Granted not all of it is centered on football, thanks to the Swift/Kelce romance/friendship, but the boys in red have regained the top spot in the AFC West, and they took care of the business on the field Sunday against a poorly coached Chicago Bears football team.
This week the Chiefs travel to New York to face a Jets team that lost star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers in week one, and if you read the local press, some significant finger-pointing has fallen on starting quarterback, Zach Wilson.
If there’s a single Jets fan that believed Wilson can run the offense like Rodgers, they are naïve. Now that’s not Wilson’s fault, because the Jets were built for Rodgers and no one else. Head Coach Robert Saleh is in a tough spot. He put all his chips on Rodgers, but the injury not only derailed the Jets season, but now he faces infighting amongst his teammates for continuing to back Wilson.
Well, what choice does he have at this point? Unless the Jets trade for Kirk Cousins, they are stuck with Wilson for the remainder of the season.
The Jets with Rodgers were the trendy pick to win the AFC East and most expected they’d make a deep run in the postseason. Though I’m not as high on Rodgers as others, I can’t deny I enjoyed the buzz for the Jets fans. It’s been a long time since Joe Namath brought a championship football team to New York, and I thought the chase to erase over five decades of misery had a chance to end for their fan base.
In just four NFL snaps, that all changed, and now they don’t know what to do. The team spent significant capital adding weapons to the Jets’ offense. They did so because they have an elite defense capable of stopping the best offensive teams in the NFL. That includes the Kansas City Chiefs.
Back in the heartland, the Chiefs go back to work today to set the tone for their preparation to face a Jets team they all thought would be significantly better. The good news if you are concerned about the Chiefs getting ready for one of the have-nots of the NFL, Kansas City beat down the Chicago Bears on Sunday in the manner you would expect from the defending Super Bowl Champions.
As I’ve stated many times, the Chiefs tend to play down to their competition, but after whipping the Bears in the manner they did, I’m not concerned Head Coach, Andy Reid won’t have his players focused to play the struggling Jets.
The Chiefs are amid a relatively weak portion of their schedule, and until they head to Germany to face the Miami Dolphins in November, they likely won’t be tested. Still, the Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos twice, can defeat the Chiefs if they let their guard down.
So that’s why this Jets game is so important to the Chiefs. A total beatdown in the Big Apple on national television would make a significant statement to the teams chasing Kansas City for the AFC Crown, the Buffalo Bills, and the suddenly explosive Dolphins.
Fortunately, Andy Reid is generally at his best when he pushes his players past the noise when facing an inferior opponent. The Jets will resist the Chiefs to a point, but the fact Reid won’t allow his team to overlook any opponent, they should play in the same manner Sunday as they did against the Bears.
Still, Kansas City has generally played some of their worst football in the state of New York, but to be honest, that was before the Mahomes era. Despite the fact, that the Chiefs’ defense is a legitimate top-five unit, the focus of this team remains the offense. The unit showed some prowess against the Bears, but they still have work to do. The tackles need to play better and the young receivers, need more NFL reps.
I heard FS1 Sports Commentator, Nick Wright mention the Chiefs had a pre-season game last weekend against the Bears. To be honest, he wasn’t incorrect. After the Chiefs went up 14-0, the game was basically over. I’m not saying Chicago players quit, but they knew it wasn’t going to be their day once the Chiefs offense began rolling.
So, despite facing the Jets in New York, which also happens to be the home of Taylor Swift, who quite likely will be in attendance Sunday Night, after all, it’s also a great photo opportunity for her brand and the Swifties, I think the Chiefs will be very focused on Sunday night.
If that’s not enough for you, the fact Mahomes continues to be hard on himself when he doesn’t play well tells me he’s learned some valuable lessons entering year six as a starter. Overcoming self-inflicted wounds might have been the most challenging aspect of his game.
The Chiefs played a four-quarter game against the Bears on Sunday, and I suspect we’ll see more of these in the coming months.