Jaguars at Chiefs: Preview, Predictions, and More
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs
As of late, the Kansas City Chiefs have been absolutely rolling. Though it’s been necessary in the tough, tight AFC West, Andy Reid’s crew has been getting the job done convincingly. However, they will go into NFL Week 9 without Alex Smith as he’s inactive due to a concussion. Even at Arrowhead Stadium, that makes this matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars quite intriguing.
With Smith out of the lineup, the Chiefs will turn to Nick Foles in relief. The backup played solidly when he came in for Kansas City last week. However, the Jaguars have been gameplanning for Foles this week, so that could change things.
That being said, this Jacksonville team has been lackluster and disappointing for most of the year. Despite preseason predictions calling them a sleeper, they haven’t been anything close to it in 2016. Playing against a backup quarterback, though, they have to try and pick up a big win in Week 9.
Keys to Victory
Obviously the big key for the Chiefs is to not rely on the arm of Foles. That’s not a huge deviation from the approach with Smith under-center. However, Foles is a far worse game-manager than Smith—and that’s putting it kindly. Subsequently, running back Charcandrick West will have to come up big on the ground to try and ease the burden on Foles. Not only will that limit the mistakes of the backup, but also set him up for play-action throws as the game wears on.
As for the Jaguars, they need to simply avoid turnovers. Blake Bortles has been abysmal this season and his garbage time stats somewhat hide that. He has to avoid giving the ball to a talented Chiefs defense that has been generating turnovers like crazy this season. If he can do that, that gives Jacksonville the best chance at a victory.
Point Spread: Kansas City -7
Moneyline: Kansas City -330, Jacksonville +270
Despite how good the Chiefs looked even with Foles last week and even though their defense is tough, I think the Jaguars pull off a sneaky upset here. They are still a talented roster and taking advantage of a short-handed Kansas City team is well within their reach.
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars: 24, Kansas City Chiefs: 23