The third week of any season is not the point where teams, the media or fans can make many definitive statements about a specific club.
In another month, fortunes will rise and fall within the divisions. It's why every game is important in the season's final reckoning and the race for the playoffs.
That makes Sunday's meeting at Arrowhead Stadium (4:25 p.m. ET) a very important game for the New York Jets (1-1) and Kansas City Chiefs (1-1).
Both teams have seen very good play from parts of their roster, while at times also trying to solve problems with underachievement. The watch word around these teams would be Inconsistent.
However, both clubs should be in the mix in December when the league's contenders are fighting for spots in the playoffs. A 10-game winning streak at the end of the 2015 season punched Kansas City's ticket to the playoffs, while the Jets' chance evaporated in a loss to Buffalo in the last game of the regular season.
This is one of those games that looks good in the AFC standings and head-to-head tie-breakers.
“You love challenges in this business, from a coaching standpoint and player standpoint,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “You work so hard to play against good caliber players. That's what this group is, so that'll be something to watch.”
Jets head coach Todd Bowles knows what to expect from Kansas City. He was part of Reid's coaching staff in Philadelphia during the 2012 season.
“They're hard-nosed, tough and physical on both sides of the ball,” Bowles said. “They've got playmakers on the outside, ball hawks at the corners, a tough safety, strong fast linebackers. They have a slew of running backs, a great tight end, a great receiver, and a quarterback who's very good.”
That quarterback is Alex Smith and he's been the picture of inconsistency over the first two games.
In the opener against San Diego, Smith had one of the best passing days of his career in leading the Chiefs back from a 21-point deficit to beat the Chargers in overtime. Last Sunday, he was erratic and turned the ball over twice in the loss at Houston. The Chiefs did not score a touchdown against the Texans.
“Ultimately it comes down to a lack of execution,” Smith said. “This last week certainly, every drive we had – whether it be a penalty, a turnover, a sack, or a negative play – it stalls the drive and it's hard to overcome versus a talented defense.”
The start of the season has brought about questions concerning Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. Long considered one of the league's top cover corners, the 31-year old Revis has struggled as Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green burned him and Buffalo's Marquise Goodwin caught an 84-yard touchdown pass.
Reid, however, said he didn't see anything on the game tapes to show a crack in Revis' skill level.
“He's getting older, but he's wiser,” Reid said. “I've got a ton of respect for the guy. He transitions so easy with his hips and his ability to look back and run fast are unbelievable.
“Listen, I know they're saying he got beat. Maybe he gets beat one time. But the ones that people are saying, he didn't have help on; there weren't people in the middle of the field. So that's not his responsibility. He looks pretty good me. He looks pretty stinking good.”
While the Jets have the veteran presence of Revis in their secondary, the Chiefs are like a football daycare center for cornerbacks. They play three in coordinator Bob Sutton's scheme: Phillip Gaines (25), Steven Nelson (22) and Marcus Peters (23). That group has struggled in two games, giving up 100-yard receiving performances last Sunday to Houston's DeAndre Hopkins and rookie Will Fuller.
The Jets' offense enters the game with a great deal of confidence after their victory last week over Buffalo. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance, completing 24 of 34 passes for 374 yards and a touchdown toss. New York ran up 493 yards against the Bills.
“It's fun with everybody involved and everybody making plays,” Fitzpatrick said. “The confidence in the huddle and the way the guys felt, we knew we were going to get in the end zone.”
Fitzpatrick also understands that this Sunday dawns a new NFL day.
“The NFL is crazy in that we're only as good as what we do this week,” he said. “We're not going to sit and celebrate last week because we have to move on. We have a team that last year won 11 straight and were a playoff team and have played very well already this year. And, it's a very tough place to play.”