JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2018 season, nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if:They force some takeaways on defense. Jacksonville should have had three interceptions last week against the Jets. Turnovers come in bunches and it will happen Sunday against Kansas City. Sure, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 14 touchdowns and no interceptions, but he's human. Jacksonville will intercept him twice.
The Chiefs will win if:They make Jacksonville one-dimensional. The Chiefs are bad on defense – and even without running back Leonard Fournette, the Jaguars should be able to run. Kansas City will do its best to take that away and force Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to beat them.
As Ballou sees it:Jaguars, 27-21. Bortles, who needs to show consistency, will finally put together two consecutive impressive games. The Jaguars will move against Kansas City and score three touchdowns. Defensively, they will make some big plays and improve to 4-1.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
The Jaguars will win if:They make Mahomes uncomfortable in the pocket and hit him early and often. He is going to make some plays, and they have weapons all over the field, but you have to make them earn every yard. Offensively, they need to have the mindset that they need to score 30. With no Fournette, they need to play a ton of three-wide receiver sets and get after an average Kansas City defense.
The Chiefs will win if:Mahomes gets going early and is comfortable in the pocket. If this happens, it will be hard for even the great defensive backs of the Jaguars to run all day with the offensive speed the Chiefs have on offense.
As Boselli sees it:The Jaguars' defensive line will have a big day and make it tough sledding for Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. Offensively, we will see the offense that put up over 30 against the Patriots and Jets. With no Fournette, I think Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will come out calling an aggressive game and Bortles will have another monster day. Jaguars, 31-28.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if:If they can cover long enough to make Mahomes antsy in the pocket. He has been great – even off schedule – but his receivers get open. The Jaguars must cover them. And the Jaguars must move offensively against a weak Kansas City defense.
The Chiefs will win if:They can contain the Jaguars' offense. The Chiefs have not been good on defense, so the Jags expect to go up and down the field in this one some, too.
As Frangie sees it:This is the game the takeaways will come for the Jaguars: Sacks, picks and maybe a defensive score. The Chiefs will score, the Jags will score more. Jacksonville will win a close one.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if:They can control an offense that has weapons in every area and a quarterback that is doing a great job at getting them the ball: a big challenge – but one that a talented Jaguars defense is more than capable of. The Jaguars must also win against a Chiefs defense that is not very good to put it plainly, but they do have two good edge players in Dee Ford and Justin Houston.
The Chiefs will win if:They can connect on deep ball opportunities. The Chiefs are very aggressive at pushing the ball downfield and have Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Chris Conley at receiver with speed. Demetrius Harris and Travis Kelce at tight end are also capable of threatening vertically. If running back Kareem Hunt gets rolling on the ground, it will make Mahomes almost impossible to stop.
As Lageman sees it:This is one of the NFL's great matchups this season. Strength vs strength. No. 1 scoring offense vs. No. 1 scoring defense. The less-talked-about matchup will be the difference in this game, with the Jaguars offense finding consistency behind Bortles. The Jaguars will win a close game in one of the NFL's great environments.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if:They hold the Chiefs to 24 points or less. That doesn't seem too daunting for a defense allowing just 14 points a game, but we know how prolific the Kansas City offense has been so far this season. The start of this game is important for the Jaguars. Kansas City certainly has the weapons to rally, but chasing the Jags on the scoreboard invites mistakes from a young quarterback and would play right into the hands of this defense.
The Chiefs will win if:If their trends of quality third-down defense and holding onto the ball offensively continue. This will be a tall task for the Jaguars without turnovers and mistakes from Kansas City. Mahomes thus far has been a great caretaker of the ball in 2018. The Chiefs' defense is interesting; they are giving up so many yards, but they are making plays when it counts on third downs. Getting the Jaguars off the field means getting their own offense back on the field and that's a good recipe for the Chiefs.
As Martineau sees it:The Jaguars will win because something has to give on Sunday; I'll take an experienced, talented defense against a young quarterback in most matchups. I also think the Jaguars' offensive players will play with a chip on their shoulders and try to prove they can put back-to-back performances together. This one will live up to the hype, but I like the Jaguars on the road, 27-23.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if:They score early and force two turnovers. This game feels like the AFC Divisional Playoff against the Steelers last season. If the Jaguars get ahead early, the defense can swarm and disrupt the Chiefs' dynamic offense
The Chiefs will win if:The defense can limit the Jaguars' offense. The Chiefs' offense will score, but it's hard to see a 30-point effort for Kansas City against this Jaguars defense. If the Jaguars' offense can move the way it did in Week 2 against New England and Week 4 against the Jets, the Jaguars should be able to maintain the lead in a relatively high-scoring game.
As Oehser sees it:This is elite defense versus elite offense. In that scenario, it's usually the offense that gets the pregame hype – and it's often the defense that makes the plays to win. If the Jaguars get an early takeaway, and if the Jaguars' offense can stun the Arrowhead Stadium crowd with a first-quarter touchdown, the Jaguars could get the early edge they need to win. The thought here is that happens and the Jaguars win by double digits.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if:They can run the ball. I don't doubt Bortles against the 32nd-ranked defense but he's best with play action at his disposal and that is only available when you've proven you can run. If the Jaguars can run for 125-to-150 yards they might run away with this one.
The Chiefs will win if:Hill gets loose in the return game. I expect the Chiefs to score. They have the game's hottest quarterback and a stable full of weapons. Hill's ability to tilt the field in the return game, though, could make an already big job for the defense huge. If the Jaguars can back them up and make them drive it works to their advantage.
As Sexton sees it:The Jaguars are a more complete team than the Chiefs. They're great on defense and can be very good on offense. I expect them to put together a complete game and upset the Chiefs in Mahomes' sixth career start.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if:The offense can find perform at a high level without running back Leonard Fournette. They did it in Week 2 against the Patriots – and as the team said, a lack of execution in what turned out to be a good game plan in Week 3 cost them the Titans game. The Jaguars must score touchdowns Sunday.
The Chiefs will win if:They disrupt Bortles enough and force takeaways. The last thing you need is to give Mahomes extra possessions or a short field – even against a very good Jaguars defense.
As Shadrick sees it:The Chiefs are the AFC's last remaining unbeaten team and have Mahomes leading the way. The Jaguars are 3-1 and have the league's No. 1 ranked defense. It's good-on-good – and even if Mahomes gets something going, it should even out at some point. An early Jaguars lead would help the Jags defense get to their peak performance, and that's why this is an important performance for the offense. Can it execute at a high level like Week 2 against New England and last week against the New York Jets? If so, this Jaguars team can beat any team in the NFL.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
The Jaguars will win if:The offense takes advantage of facing the worst defense in the league. The Jaguars put up 503 yards against the Jets last week; if they get anywhere near that number this week, they will win. Bortles needs to be consistent and take control of this offense for the Jaguars to win.
The Chiefs will win if:The Jaguars' secondary doesn't perform at their highest level. Mahomes is the NFL's hottest quarterback and will target his play-making wide receivers. This is the Jaguars' secondary's biggest test of the season.
As Sullivan sees it:This is the most-hyped matchup the Jaguars will see all season. It's strength against strength. This is the game the Jaguars defense has been waiting for. The Jaguars will win because their dominant defense will perform at a high level on a big stage. The offense will need to contribute with points, but the defense wins it this week.