JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2022 season, Jaguars "experts" – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton and J.P. Shadrick – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Kansas City Chiefs in a 2022 AFC Divisional Playoff game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
- The Jaguars will win if:They start fast offensively and win the turnover battle. The Jags cannot afford to fall behind early like they did against the Chargers. One of the big keys offensively is to have a plan for Jones, one the best defensive tackles in the NFL. Getting the run game going early will be critical.
- The Chiefs will win if:They jump on the Jaguars early, and force them to play catchup the entire game. A major factor will be protecting Mahomes against a Jaguars pass rush that has been effective the last quarter of the season. The Jaguars' defense has been opportunistic getting turnovers in critical moments, and it will be important for the Chiefs to protect the ball.
- As Boselli sees it:This is all gravy for the Jaguars at this point. I think they come out loose, and get off to good start on both sides of the ball. The goal should be making it a one-possession game going into the fourth quarter, putting all the pressure on the Chiefs. The Jaguars will shock the world, 30-27.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win: They start faster than they have been starting and get the offense going early. The Chiefs can score in bunches, so the Jags must keep up. They also must take care of the ball. Unlike last week, it will be hard to overcome a negative turnover margin. They have to avoid big plays from the Chiefs; make Kansas City go the length of the field in small plays, not chunks.
- The Chiefs will win if: They can jump out fast on a Jaguars team that has tended to struggle early in games of late. They will try to take away the run with running back Travis Etienne Jr. and force Lawrence to throw off schedule. And they will try to take advantage of difficult matchups with linebackers trying to run with tight end Travis Kelce.
- As Frangie sees it: This is obviously the toughest game of the year for the Jaguars. Yes, they played in Kansas City earlier, but not in an elimination game. The Chiefs might be the best team in the league and Jacksonville will have to play its best game. But the Jags are hot, confident and a tough out. Keep it close into the fourth quarter and see what happens.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
- The Jaguars will win if: Lawrence continues his level of play that he achieved in the comeback victory against the Chargers. The Chiefs have the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL and the men in teal (actually black and white) will have to keep the scoreboard busy as well in a hostile environment. In order to score the points needed and for Lawrence to have a great day, balance will be needed. Success in the air and on the ground is imperative.
- The Chiefs will win if: Mahomes dominates with his arm and legs. Mahomes is a tremendous talent that has plenty of experience in Head Coach Andy Reid's system, which allows him to make plays within the design of the system. But Mahomes has a special ability when a play gets off schedule and he starts scrambling around buying time; he finds receivers downfield and tight end Travis Kelce is without a doubt his favorite.
- As Lageman sees it: This will be a great challenge for a young Jaguars team. The Chiefs are experienced in these situations, having hosted four consecutive AFC title games and having one of the NFL's most talented rosters. The Jaguars' offense must play a little defense and sustain drives to keep the Kansas City offense on the sideline. To do so, they must block one of the most dominant defensive players in the game today in Jones. The Jaguars' defense must communicate, play clean assignment football, tackle well and make Mahomes work for everything. Special teams must have an impact play or two. If some of these things happen for the Jags, the NFL can stop worrying about selling tickets to a neutral game site.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jaguars will win if: Lawrence has 300 yards and three touchdowns. It's amazing you can have four interceptions and be as confident as you've been all season, but I think Lawrence feels that right now. This is a magic run right now for the Jaguars and Lawrence's only clean game during the six-game win streak was against the Titans in Week 14. He needs a Titans-like performance to pull the upset.
- The Chiefs will win if: They don't allow any drives of 10 plays or more. The Jaguars have been good this year at long, sustained drives. They had a 17-play drive against the Chiefs in the first meeting. If the Kansas City defense gets Mahomes more chances, the Chiefs will take care of business.
- As Martineau sees it: This team is tough to predict. The Jaguars have done the unthinkable in the last two months. I go into this game thinking, "What is going to happen that is crazy?" It would be crazy if they upset the Chiefs and I think they can do it. Lawrence will have a big game and the Jaguars will stun Kansas City, 35-31.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
- The Jaguars will win if: They force turnovers and finish drives. The Jaguars accomplished half of this in the team's Week 10 matchup, winning takeaway-giveaway 3-0. But the Jaguars, who also recovered an onside kick in that game, scored on just three of seven possessions past midfield.
- The Chiefs will win if: They stay turnover-free and pressure Lawrence. The Jaguars figure to need to steal possessions to win. If the Chiefs avoid short fields and harass Lawrence, it's hard to see the Jaguars winning a seventh consecutive game.
- As Oehser sees it: The Jaguars are improved from the team that lost to the Chiefs in Week 10, and the guess here is they'll show it. The Jaguars won't quit and they won't make it easy on the Chiefs. But beating a team with Mahomes – and one that has played in four consecutive AFC Championship games – may be too big a task.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
- The Jaguars will win if: They score 38 points. I thought the Jaguars' Wild Card victory last Saturday over the Los Angeles Chargers would be a shootout between two hot young quarterbacks, but it was a tale of two halves. Saturday's game for the Jaguars will require scoring early and often. The Chiefs won't let you come from behind to win; they have too many weapons and an elite head coach in Andy Reid. If you want to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City, you must go back and forth with them from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
- The Chiefs will win if: Defensive lineman Chris Jones decides to dominate. Jones reminds some in Kansas City of the late Derrick Thomas, who could make seven sacks in one game and not get another for three weeks. He was a dominant force in the Chiefs' 27-17 Week 10 victory over the Jaguars, pushing offensive linemen into the backfield, clogging running lanes and beating guys off blocks to get in Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's face. If this is one of those games, and he dominates the line of scrimmage, the Chiefs will win.
- As Sexton sees it: The Chiefs will be ready and rested to play for the chance to play in a fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes them the NFL's most dangerous team. They turned the ball over three times in Week 10, but Mahomes threw four touchdowns. The Jaguars can win at Arrowhead, but it will take their best performance of the 2022 season. I can't predict that.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com senior reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They start fast and replicate the blueprint they used offensively in Week 10. The Jaguars moved the ball but failed multiple times to score deep in Chiefs territory. Get the lead, and at least give the Chiefs sideline – and the Arrowhead crowd – something to worry about. Getting down by two-to-three scores this week likely won't cut it. If they rally from that kind of deficit again, then call Hollywood and sell the movie rights.
- The Chiefs will win if: Mahomes has time to do his thing. He can be a problem when he gets out of the pocket and ad libs, so plastering coverage is key until the whistle blows. Tight end Travis Kelce is going to get some, but just don't let him go wild and free in the secondary. Also, if the Chiefs can slow down the Jaguars' running attack and put them into predictable down-and-distances, then the Chiefs pass rush could get cranked up.
- As Shadrick sees it: The Jaguars have not come this far just to come this far. Reid vs. Pederson. Mahomes vs. Lawrence. We are about to witness an outstanding chess match between offensive minds on a huge stage. The Jaguars are feeling it – now just put it on display early and make the Chiefs feel it too. Then put them away, enjoy the postgame burnt ends meal, and get ready to play in the AFC Championship Game.