'Revenge Game' or Not, Le'Veon Bell and Clyde Edwards-Helaire Will Have the Jets Seeing Ghosts on Sunday
Mark Van Sickle
On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will be a nearly three-touchdown favorite when they line up against the New York Jets. Maybe the Chiefs will win in a blowout and cover the spread, maybe they won't. For the Chiefs, the goal is to simply come out of the game victorious.
In ESPN’s weekly Pigskin Pick 'Em contest with over 100,000 users, 99% of players are picking the Chiefs to win. It is almost a certainty the analysts on Fox, CBS, ESPN, and NFL Network pregame shows on Sunday morning will be 100% behind the Chiefs as well.
...What I’m trying to say here without being too mean is that the Jets stink and are still going to be winless after this weekend.
Now that we’re past that, a lot of people will be looking to see how Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell perform against his former team. There are many people who buy into the "revenge" factor of a player going up against his previous squad, but I don’t buy it.
The Jets were the only team willing to pay Bell close to the amount he wanted when he hit free agency, so he decided to jump into that situation. It ended up being a terrible landing spot and less than two years later, he was cut and now finds himself on a Super Bowl frontrunner. There is no reason for Bell to be upset about getting paid what he wanted from the Jets and now being in a place to possibly win his first Super Bowl ring. He’s truly making the most out of his circumstances. And while "revenge" likely won’t be on Bell’s mind, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran with a little bit more power, speed, and aggressiveness against his former team on Sunday.
Bell is already averaging a cool 6.5 yards per carry as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs (one game in) compared to 3.3 yards per carry over his 17 games as a New York Jet. The situations couldn’t be more different and Bell will continue to look dominant in Andy Reid’s offense when his name gets called as the season moves forward.
While Bell is a welcome addition to the Chiefs, and he should get plenty of playing time in a blowout win against his former team, this is Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s backfield. The rookie out of LSU isn’t just the future of the team’s backfield, he is the leader of the pack this season.
Bell respects that and will likely wind up being the best roleplayer in the NFL in the second half of the season. He is also capable of taking over the reins as the lead back if anything were to happen to Edwards-Helaire.
Edwards-Helaire has shown enough in his first seven games to have the faith and trust of his teammates and coaches. He is the second-leading rusher in the NFL, only trailing Tennessee Titans workhorse Derrick Henry.
Among rookie running backs, CEH is first in missed tackles forced (27), 10+ yard runs (15), and yards after contact (372 yards). Even with all of that success on the ground, Reid still hasn’t utilized him often in the passing game to this point. There is room to grow and that is good news for the Chiefs.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Patrick Mahomes put up big numbers against the Jets. With Mahomes throwing to Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and company, the Chiefs could certainly run up the score on this Jets team if Reid wasn’t such a gentleman.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see a healthy dose of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Le’Veon Bell, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson and DeAndre Washington spread throughout the entirety of the game. Things will likely get out of hand early and the Chiefs will be able to coast in the second half.
Despite the distinctly different records between the two teams, the Chiefs aren’t looking past the Jets and have continued to take things one week at a time.
It is appropriate that today is Halloween, as the game tomorrow seems to be looking scary for the Jets. As the clocks get turned back, it will be an old-fashioned beat down from start to finish. A 7-1 record for the Chiefs heading into the second half of the season would be a good launching point for the Run It Back tour as the team keeps their eyes on the prize.