The Jacksonville Jaguars are traveling to play the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium with a chance to go to the AFC Championship.
It’s a rematch of a November meeting when the Chiefs jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 27-17 win.
Has anything changed that the Jaguars can exploit? We talked to Charles Goldman from Chiefs Wire to answer five questions about the Chiefs ahead of the Divisional Round matchup:
Is there any concern at this point about the Chiefs being rusty after a week off, or is this team too battle-tested for that?
I wouldn’t necessarily say the team is too battle-tested to be a little rusty as they have many new pieces this year. That said, they’ve got the veteran leaders to shepherd those guys along. Andy Reid also has the bye week down to a science at this point. He knows how to balance things so that they come out fresh and prepared. When guys are away from the building he knows how to motivate them to do a little extra work. When guys get back in the building he knows how to hit the ground running. He also does a great job of delegating to his assistant coaches with game-planning and opponent prep during the bye week. I’d be very surprised if they came out looking flat.
If you were tasked with coming up with the game plan or formula to beat the Chiefs what would it look like?
Isolate the Chiefs’ linebackers in coverage using personnel groupings and have at it. It’s the biggest weakness this team has and really only one team (the Bengals) consistently attacked it in a game this season. Tight ends, running backs, receivers – if you can get them matched up in coverage with Nick Bolton, Darius Harris or Leo Chenal, K.C. probably won’t have a good time.
If it snows Saturday, as some weather forecasts are predicting, which team do you think that favors?
A quick google search told me that Jacksonville hasn’t seen snow in 33 years. Frankly, I’m jealous. Yeah, I feel like it’d pretty clearly favor Kansas City in this scenario. Patrick Mahomes is a self-proclaimed snow-game guy. He likes playing in that type of weather and has historically done a really good job throwing the ball in that type of weather too. It doesn’t hurt that Andy Reid makes an effort to practice in the elements when he gets a chance during training camp and even sometimes during the regular season.
Patrick Mahomes is not an easy quarterback to sack. The Jaguars couldn't do it at all in Week 10. Is there a weak spot Jacksonville could exploit to change that in the rematch?
Honestly, I’m surprised the tackles held up as well as they did against Travon Walker and Josh Allen in Week 10. Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie are the weak links in the offensive line and they mostly struggle with speed. Still, Patrick Mahomes helps cover up a lot of the shortcomings at the tackle position. He has a great feel for pressure, extending plays and escaping the pocket when necessary.
What's your score prediction for Saturday?
I took Chiefs 34, Jaguars 23 in my USA TODAY Sports Weekly prediction and I’m sticking with that. I think that it’ll be a close game early on, but with each passing quarter, Kansas City will pull slightly further away. I expect Trevor Lawrence and the Jags receivers to challenge the Chiefs’ secondary, but adding Frank Clark to a pass rush that already thrived in Week 10 will be the difference-maker for the Chiefs. Little-known fact, but he needs just two sacks to be third all-time in NFL history in postseason sacks.