The Jacksonville Jaguars’ 27-point comeback against the Chargers set the stage for the Divisional Round matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
What to Watch for:
The Chiefs high power offense off of a bye week is a scary sight. Andy Reid is a master of the bye week, especially in recent playoffs where the Chiefs are 3-0 in the postseason after a bye week since Patrick Mahomes arrived.
Jerrick McKinnon has been electric for multiple weeks now and will look to continue his end-zone hot streak. McKinnon has found the end-zone eight times in his last five games. He has accomplished this without being the starting running back, as Isiah Pacheco has emerged as a potential postseason X-Factor as the teams leading rusher.
Trevor Lawrence has started his playoff career in the worst way possible. He threw four first-half interceptions. But Lawrence ended the game on a high note, completing the third-largest postseason comeback in NFL history.
Lawrence’s postseason jitters should be in the past but keep an eye out for inaccurate passes in the beginning of the game.
Jacksonville’s Head Coach Doug Pederson is a former player and coaching assistant to Andy Reid. Reid has been very successful against his former assistants and is 2-0 when facing off against Pederson, including a 27-17 victory earlier this year.
Why the Jaguars will Win:
The Jaguars are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. Jacksonville has now won their last six games which includes two incredible comebacks against the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Angeles Chargers.
The Jaguars have been in playoff mode for the last half of the regular season. And Coach Pederson has gotten his team playing at a very high level when most think the Jaguars are a year or two away from contending.
Along with being on a hot streak, the Jags might catch the Chiefs looking ahead to a Juggernaut bought against the Buffalo Bills or Cincinnati Bengals.
Trevor Lawrence will have to be the key to winning this game. The Jags almost lost last weeks game because of their young quarterback, but the team was willed back into the game because of him.
Doug Pederson has an incredible playoff resume. Pederson holds a 6-2 playoff record, including his 2017 Super Bowl title with the Philadelphia Eagles. Pederson is known to be an aggressive play caller in the postseason and will continue to be this way against the Chiefs.
Why the Chiefs will Win:
The Chiefs have almost every advantage in this game. The Chiefs have more playoff experience by a landslide. They are more talented at most positions. And the Chiefs have a guy named Patrick Mahomes.
Many playoff games become ugly when the opponent hasn’t had playoff experience. We saw an example of this in Jacksonville’s first half of the Wild Card Round. The difference, in this case, is the Chiefs have been Super Bowl contenders since 2018 and have been through it all.
I’m not saying that the Jags aren’t capable of a large comeback against the Chiefs because they have proved themselves to be capable of that. But if the Chiefs were to have a 27-point lead at half, start the busses. The Chiefs roster is just flat out superior and more experienced than this young Jacksonville squad.
Nonetheless Patrick Mahomes should be able to tear apart this Jacksonville defense. Many teams fear Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs and the Jags might be feeling the pressure.
Trevor Lawrences shaky start won’t fly against Kansas City, the second-year quarterback will have to be on his A-game to take down the number one seed.