The Kansas City Chiefs will look to keep their slim playoff hopes alive Sunday as they try to win their second straight game by beating the New York Jets.
To get the job done the Chiefs are going to need another strong performance from their defense. Here are five players to watch this Sunday.
The KC defense has been fun to watch recently and that is thanks mainly to the emergence of rookie OLB Justin Houston. The first-year player out of Georgia is quickly becoming a force in Romeo Crennel’s defense, making contributions in both pass and run defense. Regardless of the outcome of the next four games, it is crucial that Houston continues to grow. Continued progress could mean a potential Pro Bowl season for Houston in 2012.
There is much debate to be had about McCluster worth to the Chiefs’ offense. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, you have to admit that McCluster seems to be about the only player on offense that can break a big play. With Tyler Palko playing not to lose and the KC receivers powerless to help him throw the ball straight, McCluster must be a more consistent playmaker for the offense. That means improving his field vision, making guys miss and most importantly, helping his team find the end zone.
Palko managed to take care of the football well enough last week to give the Chiefs’ defense an opportunity to beat the Bears, being ultra conservative on offense may not work against the Jets. Mark Sanchez may not be Tom Brady but he’s no Caleb Hanie either. Chances are the Jets offense is going to score more than three points and unless the KC defense can somehow come up with two TDs, the offense is going to have to score touchdowns. Rex Ryan is going to make Tyler Palko beat him. Palko has find a way to make him pay.
The man the Chiefs drafted with the pick they acquired in the Tony Gonzalez trade has been quietly improving this season. Arenas is holding his own in coverage and is among the league leaders in return average. He’s even made some contributions on offense. With the offense struggling, a special teams TD could go a long way toward securing an upset victory. It’s been almost two years of teasing. It’s time for Areans to break one.
Tin Man is showing signs of life. Whether he is just a late bloomer or Justin Houston is oiling his joints for him, I don’t know but it sure is exciting to see Jackson pressuring the QB. Where Glenn Dorsey appears to have peaked, Jackson seems to still be improving, albeit at his customary slow, stiff pace. Rookie DE Allen Bailey continues to improve as well which could mean he’ll replace either Dorsey or Jackson sometime in the future. If Jackson can continue to move toward becoming a complete DE that can both play the run and pressure the QB, it could be Dorsey who Bailey unseats. The next four games could be crucial to Jackson’s future.
Alright, Addicts. Those are the five players I will be keeping an especially close eye on Sunday.
Who will you be watching?