The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) return to the 1 p.m. time slot this Sunday to face the Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) at Arrowhead Stadium. A little extra rest, a new offensive coordinator and it is like the Titans meltdown never occurred. The Chiefs have injuries to starting QB Alex Smith, RB Spencer Ware and WR Jeremy Maclin. But, Kansas City is a well-coached, nearly perfectly-balanced football team.
Andy Reid and Gus Bradley were hired as head coaches in the same year – 2013. In that span, the Jaguars are 14-41 while the Chiefs are 36-19. That should be enough of the difference to keep Jacksonville as one of the bottom four or five teams in the league.
The Jaguars and Chiefs have met 10 previous times. The Jags are 6-4 in the all-time series with a 2-2 mark in Kansas City. The last matchup was Gus Bradley’s first game as the Jags head coach. Jacksonville lost 28-2 on Sept. 8, 2013. (Editor’s note: Blaine Gabbert threw a pick six on a screen, perhaps the only recorded time in NFL history). But, we do not want to remember that game.
The Jaguars scored first off a J.T. Thomas blocked punt out of the back of the end zone. In a game that featured 21 punts – a team-record 11 punts by Jacksonville, the Chiefs scored 28 unanswered.
Humble Brag to Chiefs Fans:
The weather is nice in Jacksonville with this recent cool front.
We have leftover Halloween candy. Do you?
We get another top-10, more likely top-five, draft pick again.
Connections to River City:
Andy Heck, now the Chiefs offensive line coach, was with the Jaguars for nine seasons. He had the same role in Jacksonville from 2004 to 2012.
Jaguars OC Nathaniel Hackett’s (may we call you Nate?) father Paul was on the Chiefs coaching staff as the offensive coordinator from 1993 to 1997. Nepotism Football League?
What to Watch:
At least tune in for the first 20 minutes. Can the Jaguars score an opening-drive TD?
Will the extra rest benefit Jacksonville? Could it be an emotional roller coaster of the win at Chicago following the bye week?
Trying to Figure Out:
Are the Jaguars even close to being a run-first team? Typically Andy Reid-coached teams allow very few rushing touchdowns.
The Chiefs are injured with Alex Smith (head/ear), Jeremy Maclin (groin) and Spencer Ware (concussion) out for Sunday. Like with the Titans secondary being depleted, the Jaguars have to take advantage of the weaknesses.
With Smith out and Nick Foles starting this week, can the Chiefs force the Jags into turnovers? Because Kansas City this season usually buries a team if they get one or two.
About the Opponent:
John Elway said last week the AFC West is the best division in football. The NFC East is 1a or 1b, in our opinion. Could the Chiefs be more balanced than the Broncos or Raiders? The Jags are 0-2 this season against the West opponents.
The Jaguars will see usual backup Nick Foles in place of Alex Smith. Foles, who played Jax back in 2014 as an Eagle, led Philly to a 34-17 win the last time he faced the Jaguars. His numbers: 27-45, 322 yards and 2 TDs. That game was an indication that Chad Henne should never start in the NFL again.
Even if Ware and Maclin don’t see action, Foles has options with Tyreek Hill, who is just about all go routes, and Travis Kelce. KC is a for-sure playoff team that is capable of winning one or two postseason games.
Cornerback Marcus Peters against any of the Jaguars receivers. For the most part, Drew Brees avoided throwing anywhere near Peters. Andy Reid said it was a respect factor like he’s seen before with Deion Sanders. Peters is a pick machine. It would not shock us if he had two pick-sixes off Bortles.
This Equals a Win:
Somehow Bortles and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett need to click. If not, will the personal coach help Bortles improve?
The Jaguars need to find answers. We have heard the questions repeatedly, but answers have been non-existent.
There is not enough space to improve what we saw last Thursday.
How to Listen:
Frank Frangie, Tony Boselli and Jeff Lageman will provide the call on 1010XL and 92.5 FM with Rick Ballou working the sidelines. The Sawyer Gas Kickoff Show begins at 10 a.m. The simulcast will be on WGNE 99.9 FM.
Where to Watch:
The 1 p.m. game will be on CBS and locally on WJAX 47. Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots will be in the booth for this Week 9 matchup.