Jags / Chiefs NFL Playoff Preview – Too much to lay?
The Jacksonville Jaguars go on the road to face the AFC’s top seed Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Chiefs are an 8.5 point favorite and the total is 52.5. The Chiefs have won 7 straight games against Jacksonville dating back to 2010. These teams met in Week 10 on November 13th, Kansas City won 27-17 at home, that loss dropped the Jaguars record to 3-7.
The Jaguars advanced to the divisional round after pulling off an improbable 31-30 comeback win against the Los Angeles Chargers last week in the Super Wild Card round, the Jaguars trailed 27-0 in the second quarter. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and Jaguars coach Doug Pederson have a long history together beginning in the mid 1990’s, when Pederson was a back up quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and Reid was on the Packers staff, Pederson then played and coached for Reid in Philadelphia and left to coach (offensive coordinator) with Reid in Kansas City until 2016.
THE SKINNY ON JACKSONVILLE
When the Jacksonville Jaguars lost at Kansas City 27-17 on November 13th, their record fell to 3-7 and they had lost 6 of 7 games. It looked as if they were in store for another dismal season and fans began to question the ability of Trevor Lawrence, the #1 overall pick in the 2021 draft and one of the most hyped college quarterback draft prospects in NFL history. After upsetting the Baltimore Ravens, 28-27, at home on November 27th, they ended the regular season by winning six of seven games, won the NFC South division and finished 9-8.
Trevor Lawrence passed for 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions during that 6-1 stretch. Lawrence finished the year with 4,113 passing yards and 25 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. Lawrence showed incredible moxie in last week’s 31-30 comeback win against the Los Angeles Chargers when he shook off a putrid 1st half performance in which he threw 4 interceptions.
Second year running back Travis Etienne, Lawrence’s college teammate at Clemson, finished the year with 1,125 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns after missing his entire rookie year with an injury. He rushed 109 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown in last week’s win against the Chargers.
Wide receivers Christian Kirk (1,108yds/8tds) and Zay Jones (823yds/5tds), and tight end Evan Engram (768yds/4tds) are also key contributors to the offense, all three caught touchdowns from Trevor Lawrence last week. The defense is solid led by “The Other” Josh Allen, the linebacker finished the year with 7 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Rookie linebacker Travon Walker, the #1 overall pick in the 2022 draft, had an up-and-down rookie year finishing with 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception
THE SKINNY ON KANSAS CITY
The Kansas City Chiefs completed another dominant season in 2022, finishing 14-3 and winning the AFC West for a 7th straight season. Superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes continues to amaze as he led the NFL in passing yards (5,250) and passing touchdowns (41), his highest marks since 2018 when he passed for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns in his first year as a starter. Mahomes didn’t miss a beat even though he lost his top wide receiver (arguably the best wideouts in the NFL), Tyreek Hill, to free agency. Tight end Travis Kelce also maintained his elite level of play finishing with 110 catches for 1,338 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns.
Free agent acquisition JuJu Smith Schuster finished the year with 78 catches for 938 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Jerrick McKinnon ended up being more effective as a receiver than a runner as 512 of his 803 total yards were receiving yards, 9 of his 11 touchdowns were also through the air.
The Chiefs also discovered a hidden gem in seventh round rookie running back Isaac Pachero, who led the Chiefs in rushing with 830 yards and 5 touchdowns, after taking over for injured starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs defense may not be considered elite because they give up a lot of passing yards but they did finish second in the NFL with 55 sacks. Defensive tackle Chris Jones led the team with 15.5 sacks, he also had 2 forced fumbles. Rookie George Kalaftis’ 6 sacks was second on the team.
Jacksonville made history with the comeback against the Chargers last week and have the potential to be elite in the very near future with Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and some other young players on their offense, but the duo of Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid have way too much playoff experience to be challenged by an upstart team like Jacksonville, Lay The 7.5…Chiefs 38, Jags 24
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