Chiefs vs. Jaguars: Time, TV Channel, Broadcast, Key Matchups, NFL Divisional Round Playoff Prediction

The first game of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs pits the AFC’s first seed, the Kansas City Chiefsagainst the No. 4 seed Jacksonville Jaguars.

With the Jags coming off a fun comeback victory over Kansas City’s AFC West brothers, they surely have a surprise in mind as they travel to the Midwest. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are hoping to clinch a trip to their fifth straight AFC Championship Game. They’ve come at least this far in all the years of the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes era, and it’s unlikely they’d want that streak to end now.

So which of these teams will advance to the next round? We’re glad you asked. Before I break down the matchup, here’s a look at how you can view the game.

how to look

Date: Saturday January 21 | Hour: 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
TELEVISION: NBC | Stream: fuboTV (Free Trial)
Follow, continue: CBS Sports App
Possibilities: Chiefs -8.5, O/U 53 (courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

When the Jaguars have the ball

It’s extremely rare to mimic the opening of A Tale of Two Cities when a point is presented, but damn, last week wasn’t the worst of halves followed by the best of halves for Trevor Lawrence. Before halftime against the Los Angeles Chargers, Lawrence went just 10 of 24 for 77 yards, one touchdown and an incredible FOUR interceptions. After the break, he was 18 of 23 for 211 yards and three touchdowns, with zero interceptions.

Obviously, the first kind of half can’t happen against Kansas City if the Jaguars want to stay in the game. The Chiefs are not the Chargers, and they won’t let an opponent survive that kind of performance. And the Jags might really need Lawrence to play at the level he reached in the second half, all game long, just to keep up with Kansas City’s explosive offense. That means he, too, will have to top the performance he put in when these teams met in Week 10, when he completed 29 of 40 passes, but for only 259 yards (6.5 per attempt) and two touchdowns. It was a solid game, but not enough to keep up with what Patrick Mahomes was doing on the other side of the ball.

If Lawrence wants to get the kinds of results the Jags need from him, he’ll probably come through throwing to midfield. Kansas City ranked 29th in the Football Outsiders’ DVOA on those throws, while Lawrence went 35-for-48 for 392 yards, five touchdowns and one interception on passes between hashes, according to Tru Media. He ranked sixth in the league in expected points aggregate (EPA) per reversal on those plays.

Shooting up the middle likely means working on matchups with sloth Christian Kirk (76% of snaps in space, according to Pro Football Focus) vs. L’Jarius Sneed, and tight end Evan Engram vs. Kansas City’s linebackers and safeties. . On the perimeter, Zay Jones and Marvin Jones will see coverage from rookies Trent McDuffie and Jaylen Watson, and are a bit easier to shoot than Sneed, but Lawrence was at his best throwing him up the middle, especially when he was able to drive the ball. downfield while doing so.

Getting the ball downfield takes time to shoot, and Jacksonville’s offensive line will have its hands full with the Kansas City front, particularly Chris Jones. Lawrence’s superpower is his ability to avoid sacks, but it’s harder to do so when the pressure is down the middle and right into your lap. That’s where Jones comes in, and if the Jags can’t keep him from breaking the bank, it could be a long day for their offense. Lawrence may also have to work on his controls more often than he would like (Travis Etienne has rarely been attacked in recent weeks) if Jones dominates the game.

The Jags might be tempted to try to play conservative in an underdog matchup, but they really need to do the opposite. kansas city going to score; putting the game on Lawrence’s right shoulder, instead of having Etienne and the offensive line to control the ball throughout the game, is Jacksonville’s best opportunity to pull off an upset.

When the Chiefs have the ball

When these two teams met several weeks ago, Patrick Mahomes torched the Jaguars secondary going 26 of 35 for 331 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He added seven rushing attempts for 39 yards with no sacks. He did so despite losing JuJu Smith-Schuster to a concussion and Andrew Wylie to an elbow injury in the first half.

It makes sense that he was able to light up the Jaguars, given the areas of relative weakness in Jacksonville’s defense.

The Jags were ranked 32nd in the Football Outsiders DVOA against shooting to tight ends this season, for example, and Mahomes completed 6-of-7 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown to Travis Kelce, as well as 3-of-3 passes for 26 yards and a touchdown. an annotation. for Noah Gray and Jody Fortson. No team in the league has seen their opponents throw more of their pass attempts to running backs, according to Tru Media, and Mahomes connected with Jerick McKinnon on 6-of-8 passes for 56 yards. Only two teams allowed more receiving yards to slot-lined players than the Jaguars, and Mahomes went 10-of-13 for 153 yards and two scores to slot men during the game, despite Smith-Schuster leaving early. .

Well, here we are a couple of months later, and Kelce is still Kelce, McKinnon is even more entrenched as Kansas City’s offensive leader, Smith-Schuster is back, and the Jaguars still have the same relative weaknesses as a passing defenseman. . In other words, this sets up to be a beautiful matchup for Mahomes. The places he likes to go with the ball are the same places the Jaguars tend to leave open, and we’ve seen him tear them apart with those exact kinds of pitches before.

To bet against a replay is to bet that Jacksonville’s defense will suddenly perform off-kilter against the best quarterback in the league, or that said quarterback will perform off-kilter against a defense that isn’t as good. equipped to deal with him or his main weapons.

Add in the fact that the Jaguars also ranked 29th in the NFL in run defense DVOA this season, and that the Chiefs likely have an advantage in the trenches, and the likelihood that the Chiefs’ offense will falter this season. game starts to look pretty tiny. That’s especially true given what we’ve seen of McKinnon as a running back both in the last postseason (34 carries for 150 yards) and in the games in which he received significant carries this year (he went 8-53, 8-51, and 10- 52 in the only three games in which he had 8 or more carries).

featured game | Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 20

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