The New York Jets can only hope this goes better than their last trip to Kansas City, the 2005 opener.
During a 27-7 blowout, a sideline argument between teammates Jonathan Vilma and James Reed ended with Reed punching Vilma in the face. Afterward, Vilma was sporting a black eye -- the harbinger for a 4-12 season.
The Jets (1-7) arrive at Arrowhead Stadium with a figurative black eye, having lost seven straight games. They're one loss shy of tying the second-longest losing streak in team history. A loss also would equal the worst nine-game start, tying the infamous Kotite Jets of 1996, who finished 1-15.
The game means a lot to the Kansas City Chiefs (4-3), who rebounded from an 0-2 start. Kickoff is 1 p.m. The top storylines:
1. Next QB up: The turnover-prone Michael Vick makes his first start in a year, replacing the turnover-prone Geno Smith. Rex Ryan is hoping Vick, with a full week to prepare with the starters, can steady the offense and make a few big plays with his legs. The concern is protecting the football. Vick fumbled four times in three quarters last week, reminding everyone of his past issues -- an average of 1.2 turnovers per start in his career. Assistant coaches David Lee and Anthony Lynn are terrific when it comes to drilling ball security. If they can't fix him, no one can.
"Hopefully, he's the spark we need," guard Willie Colon said. "He's still Mike Vick."
2. Preparing for the southpaw: Vick becomes the first left-hander to start a game for the Jets since Boomer Esiason in 1995. They've had southpaws over the years (Tim Tebow and Mark Brunell), but they were limited to cameo appearances. There are adjustments that have to be made. For the receivers, the ball has a different spin. For the linemen, the blocking schemes are different. Instead of calling bootlegs to the right, they will be run to the left. It seems kind of obvious, but it's no small thing when you're accustomed to doing it one way for so long. There will be a lot of pressure on right tackle Breno Giacomini, who will protect Vick's blind side. His assignment: Justin Houston, the NFL's sack leader (10).
3. A tale of two Smiths: Geno Smith, a backup for the first time, begins a new chapter in his career -- clipboard holder/cheerleader. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said he's "certain" Smith will get another shot, but for now, they hope he can learn by watching. He should watch Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, the quintessential game manager who has only five turnovers. Smith was available to the Jets, and every other team, when the San Francisco 49ers put him on the trading block last year. In the end, the cost was a pair of second-round picks. The Jets used a second-round pick to draft Geno Smith. Hindsight is 20/20, but do you think John Idzik wishes he could take a mulligan?
4. Mirror images: If the offensive and defensive schemes look similar, it's because they are. Mornhinweg is a protégé of Chiefs coach Andy Reid, whose defensive coordinator -- Bob Sutton -- served as Rex Ryan's linebackers coach from 2009-12. The advantage goes to the Chiefs because of Reid's intimate knowledge of Vick, dating to their years in Philadelphia. Mornhinweg, who also was part of that Philly crew, noted, "Well, the good thing is, I know what he knows about Mike." Got that?
5. The corner of Desperate and Hopeless: The Jets' cornerback situation has deteriorated to the point where converted safety Antonio Allen is considered the grizzled veteran at the position. With Darrin Walls (calf) not expected to play, Ryan's top starting candidates are Josh Thomas (zero defensive snaps for the Jets) and undrafted rookie Marcus Williams (zero snaps for anyone). The Chiefs' wide receivers have yet to score a touchdown. How much do you want to bet that ends Sunday?