The Kansas City Chiefs have their swagger back after a brutal beatdown of the Chicago Bears this past Sunday. Their offense was humming and their defense was excellent for the third straight week.
Yes, the blowout win was nice, Kansas City has a much tougher challenge ahead of them in the New York Jets. Although the Jets are a better team than Chicago, they've lost their last two games after an emotional victory over Buffalo in Week 1. Their defense is elite, but their offense is most definitely not.
If the Chiefs want to improve to 3-1, here are five things they need to do:
1. Zero turnovers on offense
Let's be honest, the only way the Chiefs lose this game is if they turn the ball over multiple times. The main reason that the Jets beat the Bills in Week 1 is because Josh Allen turned the ball over four times and New York only had one giveaway.
I realize that not turning the football over is essential for literally every game, but I can't picture a scenario where the Chiefs lose this game while having zero giveaways.
As long as Kansas City doesn't have any turnovers (or de facto turnovers like allowing a successful fake punt, a penalty wiping out a third down stop, etc.), there is no chance that an offense with Zach Wilson at quarterback outscores one with Patrick Mahomes.
2. Let Zach Wilson cook
In their two defeats this season, they've managed to score a combined 20 points. 7 of those came on a Garrett Wilson touchdown, in which he burned the Cowboys' defense for 55 yards after the catch on a touchdown. Otherwise, New York has struggled to move the ball. Removing the three plays involving Aaron Rodgers and the 68-yard touchdown by Garrett Wilson in Week 2, they're averaging a dreadful 3.76 yards/play on offense this year.
The person most responsible for the lack of production is former #2 overall pick Zach Wilson. To be perfectly frank, there's no redeeming factor with Wilson. He's not a playmaker, he's not a good decision, he's not a threat to run, and he doesn't throw with anticipation or timing. If a receiver isn't running wide-open, he'll struggle to complete the pass. On pass attempts that are not screens, he has a league-worst 54.6 passer rating in 2023, per Pro Football Focus ($).
I say all of this to explain that Steve Spagnuolo should just sit back and make Zach Wilson sit in the pocket and beat the Kansas City defense. According to PFF ($), Wilson has a league-worst 48.8 passer rating on plays in which he isn't blitzed. On pass attempts that are longer than 2.5 seconds after the snap, he holds another league-worst 19.8 passer rating ($). He's not capable of making magic on his own.
The Chiefs should not allow the Jets to make quick and easy throws in this game. Zach Wilson is a mistake-prone quarterback, the longer he holds the ball, the more likely something bad will happen for New York.
3. Don't allow the Jets to run the ball
Although the Jets have a pretty terrible offense, their run-blocking is solid. Breece Hall is a good young running back and Dalvin Cook is a former pro bowler.
The only way that New York can move the ball on offense consistently is through their running game, and even that's not a guarantee. The Kansas City run defense has played well since the return of Chris Jones. If that trend can continue in Week 3, even with Nick Bolton out again, don't expect the Jets to be able to move the football in non-garbage time scenarios,
4. Don't let Garrett Wilson run wild
The best player the New York Jets have an offense is second-year wide receiver Garrett Wilson. The only way that New York can produce big plays on offense is if Garrett Wilson involved.
Fortunately, the Chiefs have one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in Trent McDuffie. He's been incredible this season in all facets of the game. If he can eliminate, or even just limit, Garrett Wilson, there's no chance the Jets can score enough points to compete with Kansas City.
5. Scheme open Travis Kelce
This point is probably the least important of the five, but it would be nice if the Chiefs got Travis Kelce rolling in this game. Yes, he's recorded two touchdowns in two games and had 69 receiving yards against the Bears, but Kelce needs to produce like the superstar he is if Kansas City wants to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
I'm not saying that Kelce has been disappointing so far, he is still recovering from a knee injury suffered prior to Week 1, but it's safe to say that he still has another gear left. It's encouraging how much better he looked in Week 3 compared to Week 2, so it makes sense that he'd take another step forward in Week 4.
Does Travis Kelce need to have a monster performance in order for the Chiefs to beat the Jets? No, but it wouldn't be a bad thing, especially since New York has strong cornerbacks that could significantly limit an already shaky Kansas City wide receiver core.