October 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 26-10. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Walking into a situation that will likely add fuel to their burning dumpster fire, the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to need a miracle to keep up with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a very public tailspin right now, with fans, players, and front office figures all lashing out to one another on social media. It’s indicative of just how bad things have become in a season that was once full of hope.
It’s barely November, but we’re already at the point where a Jaguars loss is expected and effectively inevitable every Sunday. That’s especially true this week, with the Jaguars traveling to Kansas City to take on a Chiefs squad that hasn’t lost at home in 9 straight tries. Yikes.
We wanted to get some intel on our opponent so we reached out to Ben Almquist over at KC Kingdom. Here’s what he had to say:
1. Despite Alex Smith being sidelined for most of the game, the Chiefs managed to handle a mediocre Indianapolis Colts squad last week. Did the offense take a big step back with Nick Foles?
A lot of Chiefs fans will tell you the offense actually got better. I don’t necessarily buy that, but it was different. Nick Foles added a new wrinkle with his efficiency in the deep passing game. The Colts certainly weren’t prepared for it. I don’t know if that element of the offense would be consistent from week to week with Foles though. Ultimately though, the Chiefs showed that they have some real depth on their offense and are capable of attacking their opponents.
The Chiefs had absolutely no problem disposing of the Colts last week with a backup quarterback and a backup running back, so it would be shocking if they didn’t take care of business this week. The Jaguars have shown the ability to lose to Nick Foles before as well – they blew a 17-0 halftime lead in 2014 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Oct 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
2. Despite being in the thick of the AFC West race, the Chiefs appear to be flying under the radar somewhat. Where do you rank them overall among the contenders in the AFC?
It’s hard to not get excited about the Chiefs right now. They do seem to fly a little under the radar, but that seems to be because the Raiders and Broncos are both 6-2…and everyone just forgets the Chiefs haven’t played as many games. As for me, I consider the Chiefs to be one of the best teams in the AFC. They are sitting at 5-2 and haven’t even gotten either Jamaal Charles or Justin Houston going yet. I expect they will start getting some more attention after this week though. The Broncos and Raiders are playing each other, so there will be a major re-shuffle of the division standings coming up.
The Chiefs have quietly been very impressive this season, even without their best defensive player. It goes to show how much a good coach can help when your team is shown some adversity. Andy Reid has taken plenty of flak over the years because of some questionable game-management decisions, but he’s historically prepared his team as well as anybody. Just look at the two wildly different paths taken by the Chiefs and Jaguars since they both hired new coaches in 2013.
Sep 25, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) celebrates after intercepting a pass in the end zone during the second half against the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
3. It doesn’t appear that Justin Houston will be available to play on Sunday, so who should the Jaguars be gameplanning for on the Kansas City defense?
I could really go with a few different names here, but I think I’ll settle on Marcus Peters as the man to watch. It’s not even necessarily my opinion. That’s what the Raiders, Saints, and Colts all did. Peters is rapidly approaching that “shut down corner” level. I mean, what could possibly be more shut down than forcing a team to not even look to your side of the field? Beyond Peters though, rookie Chris Jones is now starting to cause problems for opponents. Week after week we are seeing clips of him just bullying offensive linemen. Of course, there is also Dontari Poe, Eric Berry, and Derrick Johnson to consider as well.
Marcus Peters is a roller coaster of a defender, giving up a big play and then intercepting the ball on the following one. He doesn’t really have to worry about getting beat this week against a Jacksonville offense that is broken beyond recognition. Blake Bortles made it through last week’s pathetic loss without an interception somehow, but it would be a modern miracle if he made did it again this week. The Chiefs defense is actually pretty good at every level, so expect Peters to get his hands on at least one errant Bortles pass.
Oct 16, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Prince Amukamara (21) reacts after being called on a penalty that was later overturned during the first half of the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
4. If you could take one Jaguars player to put on the Chiefs, who would you choose?
Heh, I actually covered this in a recent article. If I could take put one Jags player on the Chiefs roster it would probably be Prince Amukamara. The Chiefs have a talented secondary, but they are very young at the corner spot. Amukamara hasn’t been in the league a long time, but he has been around enough to be a steady veteran presence. That is exactly what the Chiefs are in need of at the moment.
This is an interesting choice by Ben, especially after Prince was beaten like a drum two weeks ago by Michael Crabtree, but I give him credit for a bold choice. He could’ve taken the easy route and said Jalen Ramsey, but Amukamara has been solid for the better part of 7 games. He’s not without his flaws, but Prince has certainly been a net positive free agent signing and his presence as a veteran would be welcome along a young Chiefs secondary.
That being said, Prince is a short term solution. Ramsey would be a much better fit big picture opposite Peters – you could even make the case that Ramsey would help more this year as well.
Aug 10, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Nick Foles (4) talks to media after the Kansas City Chiefs training camp presented by Mosaic Life Care at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
5. What’s your prediction for the game?
I picked the Jaguars to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this year, but it looks like the opposite has happened. From what I saw last Thursday, this team just looks defeated all around. On the other hand, the Chiefs are rolling and playing with a high level of confidence. They will also be returning to Arrowhead Stadium where the fans are likely going to be even louder than normal this week. Give me the Chiefs in a one-sided affair…KC 34 JAX 13
Ben was apparently fooled by the Jaguars in the same way the rest of us were. Thankfully he also isn’t taking long to jump off the bandwagon, predicting a big Chiefs win here. I can’t say much to dissuade him either, even with Nick Foles and Charcandrick West leading the way on offense for a depleted Kansas City squad. Andy Reid is just a much, much better coach than Gus Bradley and it’s almost comical and insulting to even present the two as peers. If you want a textbook example of how to outcoach an overmatched and underqualified manager, watch what Reid does to Gus this weekend.
Are the Jaguars going to show up and put up a decent fight on Sunday? Check out my Friday Fact or Fiction column tomorrow to find out.
Check out my answers to Ben’s questions over at KC Kingdom.