The Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) at the Jets (4-7) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. ET.
Wow. Mostly sunny, very little wind, temperatures in the low 50s. Happy December!
WHAT IT MEANS
A week ago, Todd Bowles said that, 'no s-t,' the Jets had to win all their remaining games to stay in the playoff hunt. After losing to the Carolina Panthers last week, this time he really means it. Actually, they'd still be alive with a loss, but only mathematically. At this point, the Jets can't afford a single misstep and they still will probably need help to get to the playoffs. Also, after five losses in the last six games, players are getting a little ornery. Bowles' job gets more difficult and maybe his job security gets more tenuous with every loss.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Chiefs CB Darrelle Revis
He hasn't played since last December, and he was awful for most of last year. Now he returns to action after one week of practice following an 11-month layoff? The Chiefs have indicated he will play and possibly a lot. After seeing Revis up close last season, you'd have to think that every time he's in the game the Jets will have QB Josh McCown throw in his direction. And if they can get the speedy Robby Anderson somehow lined up on Revis one-on-one, the Jets coaches might be exchanging high fives on the sidelines and in the press box before the ball is even snapped.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jets S Jamal Adams vs. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce
This is the third straight week, I believe, that the matchup to watch has been the Jets' first-round pick against a tight end. He did a good job on Tampa's Cameron Brate two games ago. His matchup with Panthers TE Greg Olsen ended early when Olsen suffered a foot injury. Kelce, though, is probably the best receiving tight end in the NFL right now -- at least among players not nicknamed "Gronk." He only had three catches for 39 yards against the Bills last week, but that's really an anomaly in his production. Two weeks ago against the Giants he had 8 for 109 and was open all game long, and mostly deep -- meaning it would be somewhat inadvisable to shadow him with a linebacker. The onus for this matchup will almost surely be on Adams. If he can shut down or even contain Smith, the Chiefs' offensive options will be severely limited. If he needs help, it might open up things for a struggling offense that is loaded with other playmakers.
The Chiefs looked like one of the NFL's best teams during their 5-0 start, but they've gone 1-5 since then and their entire offense has seemed to shut down. They were scoring more than 32 points per game for the first five weeks, and about half that for the next six. During the 5-0 start, they were running for more than 150 yards per game, and it's been less than 80 in the last six. The collapse has been absolutely stunning. That said, they remain dangerous because they have plenty of playmakers. QB Alex Smith may not have the strongest or most accurate arm, but he has a knack for creating plays outside the pocket. Kelce is probably the second-toughest tight end in the league to cover. Rookie RB Kareem Hunt has been a disaster the last six weeks, but he was the best rookie in the NFL for the first five. And if Smith can ever get enough time to find Tyreek Hill downfield again, the Chiefs scoring will shoot straight up. Now, the Jets have had a knack for hanging around against superior opponents. The Chiefs defense is weak and full of holes (Hello, Revis) and the Jets should be able to exploit them. I'm not sure I trust them, though, not to make a big mistake at some point. As we've seen, they also have a knack for throwing winnable games away. If it weren't for that, I might pick them here. The Chiefs are in a freefall. But until the Jets prove me wrong, I have to assume they'll find a way to blow it in the end. .. … Chiefs 27, Jets 24.
MY RECORD: 6-5
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 2-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 4-2