The Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up to face the Jacksonville Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday in an AFC divisional-round matchup. It’s the first time these two teams have ever met in postseason play.
Chiefs Wire: What’s the biggest difference between the Week 10 Jags and the divisional round Jags?
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Jaguars Wire: More than anything, there’s simply a difference in belief and confidence. When Doug Pederson first took over in Jacksonville, he said the team needed to learn how to win. It was a Jaguars squad that — for the first few months of the season — couldn’t win a close game and consistently folded when the game was on the line.
The Jaguars of December and January seem to genuinely believe they’re going to win, regardless of the score at halftime. The defense seems to be the biggest beneficiary in the confidence adjustment and it’s playing much better than it was in November.
Chiefs Wire: Doug Pederson was aggressive in Week 10 with the onside kick and 4th down decisions. What do you expect he has up his sleeve for this game?
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Jaguars Wire: Gosh, who knows? Trying to predict what Doug Pederson has planned has been a season-long challenge that nobody has done well at figuring out, including Jaguars opponents.
Aggressive calls on fourth down and possibly on two-point conversions wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Neither would a trick play or two on offense. Another surprise onside kick is probably a little too bold, though.
Chiefs Wire: The Jaguars surrendered five sacks in Week 10. Do you think they’ll be able to do a better job protecting Trevor Lawrence this time around?
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Jaguars Wire: For the most part, the Jaguars have done well to keep edge rushers at bay. Jawaan Taylor has had a career year at right tackle and Walker Little hit the ground running when he stepped in at left tackle for Cam Robinson. The issue has mostly been on the interior, where rookie center Luke Fortner is fast improving but is still in need of some growth and development.
Star defensive tackles are the ones who have given the Jaguars trouble. The Titans’ Jeffery Simmons wreaked havoc on the Jacksonville ground game and Chris Jones created massive issues in Week 10. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t a big issue for the Jaguars again on Saturday.
Chiefs Wire: Travis Etienne was held to just 45 rushing yards in Week 10. What do the Jags have to do differently to get him going?
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Jaguars Wire: Doug Pederson is an Andy Reid disciple and, as so, his offenses largely pass to set up the run. To get Etienne going against Kansas City, the Jaguars will need to keep the chains moving with shallow and intermediate passes that keep the Chiefs defense off-balance and on its heels.
Three yards and a cloud of dust isn’t a recipe for success when Chris Jones is in the middle of the Kansas City defensive line.
Chiefs Wire: What do the Jags have to do to keep their winning streak going and get an upset in Arrowhead this week?
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Jaguars Wire: The Jaguars opened that Week 10 game with five punts on their first six possessions. The other was a missed field goal. That was a one-way ticket to a 20-point deficit.
Stopping the Chiefs offense isn’t exactly a lost cause, but expecting to keep them under 20 points is unrealistic. The Jaguars have to start much faster this time around and keep pace. If Jacksonville can do that, a few big plays could be all it takes to pull off the shocker.