Jaguars vs. Chiefs: 5 Questions and Game Predictions on Divisional Round Clash

by 24USATVJan. 21, 2023, 8 a.m. 13
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John and Brett debate where the Jaguars have advantages, and where they could be in trouble come Saturday.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to play one of the most important games in franchise history on Saturday afternoon, taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisonal Round.

So, how do we at Jaguar Report see the Week 10 rematch playing out? John Shipley and Brett Hawn weigh in below.

1) Can the Jaguars do anything to slow down Patrick Mahomes?

John Shipley: Ehhhhh? Mahomes is one of those quarterbacks where forcing him to settle for a field goal is a massive win. There just isn't any clear strategy to playing against him and his elite talent; there is a reason he is already one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. With that said, I do think the Jaguars could find their most success with rushing four and dropping seven, trusting their pass-rush to win on the edges.

Brett Hawn: No task is insurmountable, but containing Patrick Mahomes will be a daunting task. His mobility combined with his superior arm strength and accuracy will give the Jaguars defense fits. To negate his impact, the Jaguars have to find a way to defend top tight end Travis Kelce over the middle. Negating Mahomes best weapon is the key to forcing adjustments from the star quarterback.

John Shipley: I do not know if they can do it for a complete 60 minutes, but I do think there are ways the Jaguars can put their offensive attention on Jones to limit him for stretches at a time. Whether this is calling plays away from him or shifting protection his direction, there are things Doug Pederson can do to help his offensive line. The downside is that the Chiefs do a good job of putting Jones in one-on-one situations, so expect ho see a lot of him vs. Tyler Shatley and Luke Fortner.

Brett Hawn: Again, not an insurmountable task, but with Jones being one of, if not the best, defensive tackles in football, it’ll be far from easy. Against the Chargers, the Jags' offensive line allowed two sacks to arguably a unit with more star power in terms of the pass rush. I fully expect the Jaguars' offensive line to answer the call.

3) Who is the most important player on offense and defense?

John Shipley: On offense, I will go with Brandon Scherff. Chris Jones is the best player the Chiefs have on defense and there is a good argument to make for him as the best defensive lineman in football this season. If Scherff can find some success against him though, the Jaguars will at least have a shot to get their running game and some of their shot plays going.

Defensively, I think it has to be Josh Allen. It is clear the Chiefs will attack the Jaguars linebackers with Travis Kelce, so the Jaguars will need their pass-rush to throw off the Chiefs' timing. Josh Allen has been playing like a man possessed in recent weeks and, at his current level, should have the advantage over the Chiefs' offensive tackles.

Brett Hawn: Offensively, the Jaguars offensively need to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offensive unit, to do so the most important player will undoubtedly be Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars go as far as the young phenom takes them and if he’s able to get off to a quick start I can see them keeping pace. Defensively, the linebackers will be the most important position group to keep an eye on. Their performance in pass coverage will be essential to containing a Chiefs offense that loves to make plays in the middle of the field.

John Shipley: How can the Jaguars make plays against Patrick Mahomes?

Patrick Mahomes is going to make a ton of plays on Saturday. That much is a given. There is no way to stop him for a four-quarter game, no matter what a defense throws at him. But, can the Jaguars force him into a handful of mistakes a game that could potentially change the tide of the game? Wheather this be sacks, picking him off like they did last time around, or just causing issues with ball security in general, it will be up to the defense to make at least one big play against Mahomes to give themselves a chance.

Brett Hawn: Can the Jaguars pull off the upset of all upsets?

The Chiefs are the cream of the crop in the AFC, a team that I feel will make some real noise this year in the playoffs. Boasting the sixth youngest roster in the NFL, the Jaguars have the chance to further cement their status as an up-and-coming team and take down a Super Bowl favorite in the process.

John Shipley: This one won't be easy. The Jaguars have a lot going against them, simply due to the fact that they are playing the AFC's best team. But, this Jaguars team feels like one that is almost made of desity, and I like how the Jaguars match up against the Chiefs' defense.

Brett Hawn: The Jaguars had a run for the ages, but I think it’ll come to a screeching halt against a Super Bowl favorite.

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