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2023 NFL Home Opener: Final Analysis and Expert Insights on Chiefs vs. Jaguars

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JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2023 season, Jaguars "experts" – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Kainani Stevens – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.

Up this week:

Tony Boselli, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Left Tackle

  • The Jaguars will win if: They can start fast offensively, with a very effective running game that will allow them to control the clock and have balance. This puts the onus on the Jaguars' offensive line, especially the interior three with the return of Jones. Defensively, the key will be to limit Mahomes' off-schedule plays, which usually lead to converted third downs and splash plays.
  • The Chiefs will win if: They control both lines of scrimmage, allowing them to run the ball offensively and defensively make the Jaguars offense one-dimensional – playing uphill behind the sticks. This is not the Chiefs of the last several years, because they lack the speed they have had in the past at the skill positions.
  • As Boselli sees it: This is going to be a tight game that will come down to a big play or mistake in the fourth quarter. I believe we will see a better performance from the Jaguars' offensive line than in Week 1 against Indianapolis. If they can come out even or on the positive side of the turnover margin, they will be on the right side of the scoreboard. Jaguars, 31-28.

Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars

  • The Jaguars will win if: They play tough defense similar to last week but against a much better passing game. The defense looked fast and physical last week, but this week they must harass Mahomes, get him off his spot, disrupt his timing. You need him off schedule. Offensively, the Jags must take care of the ball. The Chiefs are the one team you cannot afford to help with extra possessions. The offense will move and score, but must protect the ball. That is key.
  • The Chiefs will win if: They protect Mahomes and give him time. It's the key to every Chiefs game. They also need to stop the Jags running game in an effort to make Jacksonville one-dimensional. The Jags will strive for balance.
  • As Frangie sees it: This could be one of the best games in the early part of the NFL season. The Jags are at home, playing well, ready. If they take care of the ball, they have a heck of a chance.

Jeff Lageman, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Defensive End

  • The Jaguars will win if: They control the tempo offensively. Mahomes is the best quarterback in the game, but he can't make plays from the sideline. Having a balanced attack will allow Lawrence to find opportunities with an aggressive Chiefs defense.
  • The Chiefs will win if: Mahomes is allowed to make plays both from the pocket and from outside the pocket with the "off-schedule" plays. Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen described Mahomes as "wiggly" with his knack for escaping tough situations with his feet. If he can do this, it will put tremendous stress on the Jags defense.
  • As Lageman sees it: This game will have a fantastic environment at EverBank Stadium, with possible seeding implications at season's end. The Jaguars were trying to get their offensive footing at Indianapolis in Week 1 and still hung 31 on the scoreboard. If Lawrence and his offense can smooth out some of the wrinkles it will be tough sledding for a Chiefs team that will have Jones and Kelce back in the fold. The heat will be the Jaguars friend and the Chiefs enemy. Duuuuuuvaaaaaal!

Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director

  • The Jaguars will win if: They win the run game. This is an overlooked part of last year's games. The Chiefs stuffed the Jags in the first meeting and Chiefs running back Isaiah Pacheco had big runs in both games. If the Jags win the run game, they will hold the ball for longer. If they stop the run, they will set up third-and-long plays for Kansas City.
  • The Chiefs will win if: Someone else other than Kelce has a big day. Kelce will get his stuff, but the Chiefs need someone else to get going on offense. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney was terrible in the season opener, but he had big plays last year against the Jags.
  • As Martineau sees it: This has all the ingredients of a Jags win except the fear factor of Kansas City losing consecutive games to start the season. The Jaguars are good, and could have won both games last year at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. EverBank Stadium will be rocking and I think this game means a lot to the Jaguars' locker room. Jags win, 37-30.

John Oehser, Senior Writer

  • The Jaguars will win if: They pressure Mahomes into a turnover – maybe two – and if they can get the Chiefs' defensive front blocked. If a beat-up Jaguars offensive line can protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence, they have the skill position players this season to do what they couldn't in two meetings with the Chiefs last season: Get above 30 points and win a shootout.
  • The Chiefs will win if: They pressure Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence into mistakes and make more plays offensively than they did in a regular-season-opening loss to the Detroit Lions. The return of Jones will help them toward the first objective and the return of Kelce will help them toward the second.
  • As Oehser sees it: This is too close to call. The Jaguars should be an improved team since last season with the addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley. They also have the edge of playing at home. This could be their time to join the conversation as one of the AFC's best teams. But Mahomes is the NFL's best player and usually plays like it in these sorts of matchups.

Brian Sexton, Senior Correspondent

  • The Jaguars will win if: They keep up on the scoreboard. No disrespect, but the Jaguars' defense isn't going to shut down Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes – especially if tight end Travis Kelce returns as expected. Great defenses have tried and failed. You beat the Chiefs if you match them point for point and your defense can break serve once or twice in the second half. The Jaguars have the potential to be as explosive as the Chiefs; they scored 31 points last week and didn't look particularly explosive. That tells you their potential. You must score at least 30 to win.
  • The Chiefs will win if: They disrupt the Jaguars' offense. Defensive tackle Chris Jones wrecked the right side of the Jaguars' offensive line last November at Arrowhead Stadium and severely limited the playbook. His return after a holdout will lift the performance of the entire Kansas City defense. If that unit breaks the Jaguars' rhythm once or twice in the second half, this is the Chiefs' game.
  • As Sexton sees it: The Jaguars are getting a lesser version of the Chiefs in Week 2. Jones is back but won't be able to be himself with two days of practice – and in the intense heat in Jacksonville in September. Kelce may be back, but he won't be ready to be the same Kelce with a bone bruise; those can linger all season. It's tough to pick the Jaguars to beat the defending Super Bowl champions because Mahomes is so good – and no head coach is better than Andy Reid of the Chiefs. Still: I like the Jags this week and believe they will find a way to win.

J.P. Shadrick, Senior Reporter

  • The Jaguars will win if: They can improve on third downs and stay on the field offensively. Maintaining possession of the football is key this week. Don't give the Chiefs short fields and keep Mahomes and Co. on the sideline as long as possible. Empty possessions should not be part of the equation this week – points, and preferably touchdowns, are needed all day. Lawrence needs to have another efficient day, and a big shot or two could be big to flip momentum.
  • The Chiefs will win if: Mahomes has time to do whatever he wants against this defense. The Jaguars must pressure him, but he can make off-script plays and take deep shots when you think you have him bottled. It feels like the Jaguars have a stout front seven against the run, so build from there. The secondary must stick with their men downfield no matter what, because Mahomes can make you pay anywhere on the field.
  • As Shadrick sees it: It doesn't matter if Kelce and Jones are available; the Chiefs are still the AFC standard. They have hosted five consecutive AFC Championship Games for a reason: Mahomes. The Jaguars feel like they are the next team to move into the upper echelon of AFC contending teams. A win over the Chiefs would send an early-season salvo to the rest of the AFC. The Chiefs are trying to avoid starting 0-2 for the first time since 2014, when Mahomes was a freshman at Texas Tech. This could be an instant classic game, maybe coming down to the final possession to decide who wins.

Kainani Stevens, Team Reporter

  • The Jaguars will win if: Everything goes just right. I believe in the Jaguars' ability to score and compete with the defending champs, but sometimes you need a little luck to win. The Jags have the weapons and confidence to hang with the Chiefs, but they will need to execute their game plan to a T. You cannot give Kansas City any extra possessions or the Chiefs will make you pay.
  • The Chiefs will win if: Mahomes and Jones dominate. We know the magic Mahomes can make, and he won't be stopped short of an injury. Jones returning this week will make life difficult for Lawrence. The offensive line is banged up and Jones is primed to take advantage of that.
  • As Stevens sees it: It's a coin flip for me. I have faith in the Jags to take advantage of the moment – and playing in the heat on Sunday will be a great homefield advantage. That being said, the Chiefs are the champs until proven otherwise. I'll take the Jaguars sneaking out a win late in the fourth quarter.

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