The Jacksonville Jaguars may have arrived on the scene a year early last season. The Jaguars closed the season with a solid surge to win the AFC South Division title and upset the Los Angeles Chargers in the playoffs. Jacksonville kept the good feelings going in its season opener by beating the Indianapolis Colts.
Now, the Jaguars will see the degree of difficulty go up on their schedule starting this week. Jacksonville will welcome the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to Florida this weekend. The Jaguars gave the Chiefs a tough test in the AFC Divisional round, but Kansas City was able to lean on its experience and grab a win.
Jacksonville Wants to Make a Statement
Beating the Colts to open the season was an excellent first step for Jacksonville. Scoring another win over the Chiefs would put the rest of the league on alert. Kansas City will be 1.5-point favorites when the Chiefs travel to Jacksonville Sunday to take on the Jaguars at 1 p.m. Saturday at TIAA Bank Stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs has a 9-6 lead in the all-time series. The Chiefs have won seven straight games in the season. Kansas City beat Jacksonville 27-20 in the playoffs last season. The Jaguars haven’t beaten Kansas City since 2009.
Kansas City Chiefs Gets Jones Off the Sideline
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones sacrificed his $1.1 million game check by sitting out against the Defensive Lions in the season opener. However, the Chiefs and Jones settled their impasse and signed a new contract with the team on Monday. Getting Jones back in the lineup will be an excellent addition to the Kansas City defense.
Jones finished with 15.5 sacks last season. During his first seven seasons in Kansas City, Jones finished with double figures in sacks twice. Jones’ return will end one of the few distractions the Chiefs have off the field.
Ridley Finds Return to NFL a Pleasant One
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley had an extended absence from football. During the 2021 season, Ridley took an extended break from football for mental health reasons. Ridley was suspended for the entire 2022 season for getting in trouble with the NFL for gambling.
Jacksonville added Ridley in a trade on Nov. 1, 2022. Ridley quickly showed he was worth the wait. He gives Jacksonville’s third-year quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, another dangerous weapon for the offense. Ridley caught eight passes for 101 yards and scored a touchdown.
Kelce’s Status Is Still Up in the Air
Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce was missed in Week 1. Kelce was declared out of the lineup after hyperextending his knee and had a bone bruise in practice. Without Kelce, Kansas City’s offense looked lost.
The Chiefs’ receivers would drop eight passes during a 21-20 loss to Detroit. Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes did end up throwing a pick-six, but he was still able to help the team stay in position to win. Kansas City coach Andy Reid is optimistic that Kelce could play but didn’t declare it to be a certainty.
Kelce, 33, has long been a top target for Mahomes. He has caught 80 or more passes over the past seven seasons. Kelce has recorded 1,000 or more receiving yards over the past seven seasons as well.
Allen Ramps Up the Pass Rush
Jacksonville linebacker Josh Allen was able to ramp up the pressure against the Colts last week. Indianapolis was working through the debut of rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, and the Jaguars’ star defender was able to take advantage. Allen picked up three sacks and eight tackles in the win.
Allen hopes to set a new personal best for most sacks in a season. Allen finished with 10.5 sacks during his rookie year. In 2022, Allen picked up seven sacks and played in all 17 games for Jacksonville. The Jaguars are also hoping Allen’s success can open up things for other players. Jacksonville only had one other sack by defensive lineman Travon Walker.
Taylor Draws Unwanted Attention for Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs brought in right tackle Jawaan Taylor in free agency. The Chiefs likely never expected him to draw the amount of scrutiny he did during Week 1. Taylor was frequently seen lining up too far back in the backfield.
The commentators on the broadcast repeatedly brought up his alignment and also that it appeared he was moving too quickly before the play started. Taylor’s play will draw more attention as the season goes on.
Trevor Lawrence Continues to Develop
The Jaguars were hoping that Lawrence would make Jacksonville relevant again. The former No. 1 draft choice at quarterback has played good football since Doug Pederson took over as coach last season. Lawrence passed for 241 yards, threw two touchdown passes, and completed 24 of 32 passes.
Lawrence was able to keep the offense balanced as well. Travis Etienne Jr., who went to Clemson with Lawrence, led Jacksonville’s running game by piling up 77 yards on 18 carries and also scored a touchdown.
Toney Will Attempt to Prove His Worth for Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney had a rough first day back at the office. During Kansas City’s loss to Detroit, Toney only had one catch for one yard. The problem for Toney was he was given plenty of opportunities to make plays. Toney finished with three drops and represented an offense that couldn’t get out of its own way.
Toney has struggled to find his place since coming into the league with the New York Giants in 2021. Toney had 420 receiving yards as a rookie. Toney has only appeared in 10 games over the past three years. During Toney’s first year in Kansas City, he appeared in seven games and had 171 receiving yards and two touchdowns.