THE GAME: The Jets (1-1) at the Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 4:25 p.m.
THE WEATHER: Wet and windy. The forecast calls for thunderstorms throughout the day, winds up near 15 miles per hour and temperatures around 70 and dropping through the 60s as the game goes along. The good news is the rain is supposed to come early, so maybe it stops or slows down in time for kickoff.
WHAT IT MEANS: Considering the Patriots, sans Tom Brady, are 3-0, it's hard to believe the Jets can afford any losses at this point if they want to be considered AFC East contenders. Because when Brady comes back … well, if the Pats can win three games with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, it may already be too late as it is. Anyway, the Jets need this win to keep pace and keep their momentum going because the road doesn't get any easier from here. Their next three games are vs. Seattle, at Pittsburgh and at Arizona. They don't want to be 1-2 heading into that.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Matt Forte. The last time the Chiefs lost at home was to the Chicago Bears, when Forte had 109 total yards. This year, Forte is averaging 132 per game for the Jets, including 98 per game on the ground. That's important because the Chiefs' run defense is either bad, or deceptively bad. They've given up 126 yards per game on the ground through two games, although last week against the Texans they held them to 2.9 yards per carry and didn't let up a rush longer than eight yards. Regardless, with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker ailing, you can bet the Jets will lean on Forte in this game, especially early. If they can get him going, the Jets' offense might be tough to stop.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Chiefs TE Travis Kelce agasint Jets LB Darron Lee. I know, you were expecting CB Darrelle Revis against Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin, and that's important too. But this could be a huge game for the Jets' first-round pick because his speed could be useful in a couple of ways. First, whether it's Spencer Ware or Jamaal Charles out of the backfield, he may be needed to chase down running backs on the outside. But his primary responsibility could be Kelce, a sneaky good tight end who has the ability to get downfield in a hurry and can be a remarkably consistent and reliable weapon for Chiefs QB Alex Smith. He's on pace to have nearly 90 catches this season, though he's been mostly held in check by their first two opponents. If Lee can't contain him, Kelce could be a big threat, especially in the red zone.
INJURY REPORT: The big one to watch, of course, is Marshall (knee/foot). He said he expects to play, but Todd Bowles indicated it will be a game-time decision. It's possible he'll play and be limited, so either way, Quincy Enunwa's role could increase. WR Eric Decker (shoulder) will play. LB David Harris (shoulder) seems to have a better chance of playing than LB Erin Henderson (calf), who didn't practice on Friday. G James Carpenter (calf) practiced and will play, though. … The Chiefs have injuries to both their starting guards. They will be without left guard Parker Ehinger (concussion/foot) and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle sprain) will be a game-time decision. Zach Fulton would likely replace Ehinger. If Duvernay-Tardif can't go, backup tackle Jah Reid might have been the other tackle, but he's out with knee/ankle injuries, too. That leaves Bryan Witzmann, who was claimed off waivers from Dallas at the start of the regular season. As for RB Jamaal Charles, who hasn't played since tearing his ACL last October, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he had a good week of practice and added "I think he feels like he can do it." If he plays, expect him to be very limited given the amount of time he's been off. But it seems unlikely Charles will play since the Chiefs listed him officially as "doubtful."
THE PICK: There aren't many more difficult places for teams to play than Arrowhead Stadium, which is annually one of the loudest and most frenzied venues in the NFL. And it won't help the Jets that they head in more banged up than they've been this season. Despite the fact that they've fallen into big holes in both of their first two games, this is a well-built Chiefs team. Alex Smith has always been more dangerous at quarterback than many realize and he's got a huge, big play weapon in Maclin - and as we've seen the first two weeks the Jets are definitely vulnerable to the big play. Add in the dangerous Kelce and running back Spencer Ware, who is averaging 152 total yards per game, and the Chiefs offense is very diverse.
The Jets' offense, if it's anywhere near full strength, can make this a game. And if the Jets' secondary ever gets its act together, they still have the makings of an outstanding defense. But they've been too erratic, too mistake-prone in the first two games. They could get away with that in Buffalo against an awful Bills team. But in the Kansas City cauldron against a well-built, well-coached Chiefs team? Probably not. … Chiefs 20, Jets 16.
MY RECORD: 1-1.