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Eye on the opponent: Kansas City Chiefs



The skinny with the Chiefs is that they're good – perhaps good enough for a deep playoff run.

They have won 15 of their last 17 regular-season games, including their last three regular-season games in succession. Their record in the last 17 games is the best in the NFL during that span.

They enter Sunday with a new starter at quarterback. With Alex Smith in the concussion protocol after leaving a victory over the Colts this past Sunday, backup Nick Foles will make his first start for the organization. Foles, who started 35 games for Philadelphia and St. Louis from 2012-2015, completed 16 of 22 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns replacing Smith Sunday.

The key for the Chiefs is consistency. While they aren't spectacular in a particular area offensively, they minimize mistakes and run a balanced attack. Smith had thrown eight touchdowns with two interceptions in six games this season, and the offense features five receivers with at least 220 yards receiving.

Running back Spencer Ware has rushed for 511 yards on 102 carries for a 5.0-yards-per-carry average. Ware missed practice Wednesday and also is in the concussion protocol.

The Chiefs have won nine consecutive regular-season games at Arrowhead, with their last loss there coming to Chicago 18-17 October 11 of last season.



The Chiefs' statistics aren't all eye-catching this season – but the notable exceptions involve turnovers. Their plus-nine giveaway-takeaway ratio is second in the NFL, and only three teams have scored more points off turnovers than the Chiefs' 48. Cornerback Marcus Peters is the player to watch defensively in this area and leads the NFL with five interceptions. The Chiefs lead the NFL in interceptions as a team with 11 and have returned two for touchdowns.


Tight end Travis Kelce leads the Chiefs 34 receptions for 377 yards and a touchdown. The Pro Bowl receiver had his most productive game of the season Sunday against the Colts with seven receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash called it a "tough matchup," adding, "We have been working on it since Saturday, figuring out how we can handle him in zone and man coverage because he is a mismatch at times. But we'll have a variety of people on him and then other people trying to help with that. It's a situation where we know what we have to do with him snap in and snap out."


Few NFL defensive backs can match Peters' knack for game-changing plays. A second-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, he tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions last season and returned two for touchdowns. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley called Peters "very instinctive," and wide receiver Allen Hurns said the Jaguars must be particularly aware of Peters on timing routes. "You'll see him – whether it's cheating a coverage or not – he'll be on the backside, he'll see an indicator and you'll see him run across the field because he has a chance to read a pick," Bradley said. "I've seen that multiple times from him. So that shows me he's got great instincts, he understands the defense and knows when and when not to take chances."



The Jaguars want to reemphasize the run under new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. To do so Sunday, they must neutralize a Chiefs front that has been steady defending the run his season. Nose tackle Dontari Poe is steady and his athleticism will be a challenge for Jaguars center Brandon Linder and the Jaguars' interior. The Chiefs are allowing 4.5 yards per carry, but have allowed just two runs more than 20 yards and one more than 40. Running back Chris Ivory's 42-yard against the Raiders two weeks ago is the Jaguars' lone run of more than 40 yards this season. Look for the Jaguars to stay with the run even if they don't have early success, so this will be a key matchup throughout Sunday's game.


"They [the Jaguars] have done a good job bringing people in. They currently blend the draft and free agency thing together and worked that out. For free agency, it takes a little bit for everybody to kind of get their feet settled. That goes on; it happens to all of us. But the bottom line is they've got good coaches and good players and so there is going to be a blip here and there – yeah that happens. [Head Coach] Gus [Bradley knows how to work through all that."

---Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid on the Jaguars


"We know Andy Reid. We have played him a couple times when we weren't here and then obviously we played him once when we were here. He's going to run his offense. He's going to attack us how we think we're going to get attacked and it's going to be our fundamentals versus Andy's fundamentals."

--Wash on defending the Chiefs' offense


"I am confident with all the guys back there. You could throw Tyler [Bray] back there and we are going to run with him and rock with him. It is a deal where it is the next-man-in mentality. Whether it is the quarterback position or another position the next man in is going to be held accountable to fill the shoes of the guy in front of him."

--Kelce on the Chiefs' quarterback position

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