Chiefs Vie for 5th AFC Conference Gameby Liz Pendergraft January 21, 2023 0 comments
The Kansas City Chiefs will be taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend. The winner will move on to the AFC Championship game. If the Chiefs win, they will make their fifth appearance to compete for the AFC Conference title. They will Join other teams, such as the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots, who played their way into multiple AFC Championship games.
To get there, they will have to defeat the Jags at Arrowhead. Usually, there might be no doubt the Chiefs would come out victorious. However, watching the Jags make a comeback against the Chargers serves as a reminder that you never know what might happen on any given game day. The bye week has allowed Kansas City to rest players and study their opponent. So, let us take a look at the Chiefs and Jags.
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Week 10 Battle
To understand how the game might go, we might look at their previous matchup in Week 10, where the Chiefs won 27-17. Granted, these teams are not the same ones from weeks ago. However, it might be able to give us an idea of how it might go.
Luckily the Jags could not take too much advantage of the turnovers the Chiefs gave them. It is nothing new for the Chiefs, as it seems to be a significant issue that has run throughout the season. Patrick Mahomes was 26 of 35 for 331 yards and had a passer rating of 129.6, and Trevor Lawrence was 29 of 40 for 259 yards. His passer rating was 106.1. Both quarterbacks threw for touchdowns; Mahomes had 4, and Lawrence had 2. There was one interception thrown by Mahomes, which was one of the three turnovers they had.
The defense was able to keep Travis Etienne relatively contained. This helped to slow down the Jags, keeping them from getting momentum. They were also able to force Lawrence to throw under pressure. While there were no interceptions, Kansas City performed well enough to keep the Jags at bay. They held the Jags to 75 rushing yards, which is good for a team who sometimes has issues stopping the run. They were also able to contain the Jags enough to keep them from making big passing plays as well.
First Time for Everything
After the Jags’ victory this past weekend, many kept pointing toward Lawrence’s record for Saturday games. He has been unstoppable in games played on a Saturday, going back to high school. Well, there is a first time for everything. So it is understandable it is a matter of pride Jags fans feel when thinking about that stat. The Chiefs will be waiting and ready to put an end to the streak.
What Do the Chiefs Need to Do?
They need to stop turning the ball over. Maybe they can get away with it in the regular season, but in the playoffs, they need to nip it in the bud. Mahomes needs not to play gunslinger too much; perhaps he needs to watch Lawrence’s interceptions as a “what not to do” lesson. Over and over. The offense needs to get the team to a lead early and then have long drives to eat up the clock. Keeping the Jags’ offense off the field is the best way to ensure they do not make a dramatic comeback.
The defense will need to do what they did in Week 10, only more of it. They do not need to be overly aggressive, but they need to ensure that the offense for the Jaguars is stopped at every opportunity. If there is any weakness in the Chiefs’ defensive line, the Jags will exploit it just like they did with the Chargers.
Control the Game
The Chiefs had control of the game in Week 10. They will need to do it again. It’s essential that Kansas City not let the Jags have time to start a great drive, and if it does happen, hold them to a field goal. Kansas City needs to score early and often, then run the ball every chance they get. If the Jags turn over the ball, they must take what was given to them and score. All of this might appear to be obvious. However, it is never as simple as one thinks it is. If the Chiefs do not fall apart in the second half, like the Los Angeles Chargers did, they will be well on their way to keeping the game under their control.
What the Chiefs need to do is simple and expected of them. However, it is always different on game day. Anything can and will happen. Win or lose, the game against the Chiefs will be a way for Jacksonville to measure how they fit into the NFL landscape going forward. If they can take from the game what worked and did not work, they will be light years ahead of the other AFC South teams.
The Chiefs are expected to win but should not take the Jags for granted. The AFC Championship awaits…the Chiefs need to run it back.
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images