The Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs will meet for the second time this season, as the NFL divisional round kicks off Saturday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
It has been quite a roll for the Jaguars, who have won six consecutive games and eight of their past 10 following a five-game losing streak. Their last loss came on Dec. 4 at Detroit and the one before that? You guessed it: This week’s opponent. This will also be the first road game for Jacksonville since a New Year’s Day victory at Houston and the first game away from their friendly confines against a team that ended up making the playoffs since that aforementioned game against Kansas City on Nov. 13.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs have had quite a bit of rest and are also on a winning streak, taking five straight and 10 of their past 11 with only a loss to Cincinnati in Week 13 sandwiched in between.
Let’s take a closer look at the lines as of late Wednesday night (provided by FanDuel Sportsbook) and trends:
(4) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (10-8)
at (1) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (14-3)
Time/TV: 4:30 p.m. Saturday (NBC).
Line: Chiefs by 8.5.
Previous meeting this season: Chiefs won, 27-17, in Kansas City, in Week 10.
All-time series: Chiefs lead, 8-6. This is the first-ever postseason game between the two.
Series trends notes: Kansas City has won six consecutive games in the series, including the past three by at least 10 points. Prior to that, the Jaguars had three two-game win streaks with one Chiefs victory sandwiched in between each.
Jaguars offense: 14th rushing, 10th passing, 10th overall.
Chiefs defense: 8th rushing, 18th passing, 11th overall.
Jaguars defense: 12th rushing, 28th passing, 24th overall.
Chiefs offense: 8th rushing, 1st passing, 1st overall.
- This will be the 39th postseason game for the Chiefs in their history and 17th since Andy Reid took over as head coach before the 2013 season. Kansas City is 9-7 under Reid in the playoffs and 17-21. They are 6-8 in the divisional round and have made it to the Super Bowl four times, winning twice (following the 2019 and 1969 seasons).
- The Chiefs had two five-game winning streaks for the first time since the 1968 season, but this marked the 10th straight year they had one streak of at least that long.
- Patrick Mahomes has had a career season – even for him. He set a personal best in completion percentage (.671) and passing yards (5,250), becoming the third player in NFL history (Drew Brees and Tom Brady) with multiple 5,000-yard seasons. He also set the NFL all-time mark for most offensive yards (passing and rushing) with 5,608, topping Brees’ 5,562 in 2011.
- Mahomes has had a passer rating over 100 in four consecutive games and has done it 10 times this season. He had a stretch from Weeks 6 through 12 where he passed for 320 yards or more and has at least one touchdown pass in every game this season and in 26 straight, including the postseason.
- This is the 16th postseason game in Jaguars history, but only the fifth in the past 15 seasons. They are attempting to make a conference championship game for the fourth time in the franchise’s 28 seasons (where they are 0-3).
- Jacksonville is 8-7 all-time in the playoffs, but 4-6 on the road. They have a record of 3-2 in the divisional round, winning at Pittsburgh in 2018, vs. Miami in 2000 (which was Dan Marino’s final game) and at Denver in 1997.
- The team’s current win streak (six) is more victories two they had in two previous seasons combined (4-28). It’s their first six-game win streak since taking 11 in a row under Tom Coughlin in 1999 on their way to the top seed in the AFC and a loss in the conference championship game to Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans.
- In his second NFL season, quarterback Trevor Lawrence more than doubled his touchdown passes from 12 to 25 and cut his interceptions by more than half from 17 to eight. He passed for 4,113 yards and rushed for 291 with five more scores.
(The analysis and prediction are taken from Jim Derry’s NFL Divisional Round picks column from Thursday morning. Click on the link to read his picks for all four playoff games this weekend.)
There is one thing that’s scary about this one: If it’s too good to be true … well, you get the picture.
Other than that, what could possibly make anyone like Jacksonville here other than the fact they seem to have the football gods on their side? We know this: If it weren’t for Chargers coach Brandon Staley, they wouldn’t be here.
Kansas City is No. 1 in total offense and passing offense, and they have the best football player on the planet. Jacksonville has the 28th-ranked passing defense, the 24th overall, and in their last four games against teams that made the playoffs this season, they allowed 30 to the Chargers, 34 to the Cowboys, 27 to the Ravens and 27 to the Chiefs.
Meanwhile, Kansas City has not allowed more than 28 to any team in 12 consecutive games, and only 17 to the Jaguars in their other meeting this season – in Week 10 at Arrowhead. In that one, it was like a cat toying with a mouse, as the Chiefs collected 486 yards of total offense to Jacksonville’s 315, as Trevor Lawrence was sacked five times.
All that equals to the Chiefs being in the position here of quite possibly being the best teaser leg of the season at 8.5, which means you go through the 7 and the 3 and get them at -2.5. This especially is true if you think Kansas City will score at least 28 here in a game that appears to be free of weather issues with projected temps around 40 degrees with no rain and little to no wind.
Side note: If you agree with me, find a game you want to pair it with now (Bengals +11.5 over the Bills is my best bet). I am very surprised 8.5 has lasted this long into the week, and I will be shocked if this spread doesn’t jump to 9 by Thursday afternoon or Friday – if for no other reason than to get rid of the teaser value.
SCORE PREDICTION: Chiefs 34, Jaguars 23.