Jaguars look to continue miracle run against Chiefs in Divisional round

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

The Jacksonville Jaguars have already made noise throughout the league with their opening-round comeback win against the Chargers, but Saturday’s challenge might be the biggest of this season.

Arrowhead Stadium.

The name alone makes the hair on one’s neck stand. The stadium offers an always-raucous atmosphere, but it’s the team that calls it home that is the true threat.

Under the guidance of head coach Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs have become one of the premier franchises in the NFL. Their last two playoff trips have ended in defeat, but the Red Kingdom is hot in pursuit of another Super Bowl to add to their 2020 win.

It’s easy to write off the Jaguars when going up against such an established powerhouse, but no mindset could be more dangerous going into this weekend. The Jaguars have been fighting for their lives for well over a month; they have nothing to lose.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, have everything to lose. A loss to the Jaguars could send shockwaves through the organization, as it would conclude another ringless season for the talented squad. 

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence at training camp in 2022.
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence’s progression has been evident since a troubling rookie campaign. (Justin Nedrow)

As for the game itself, this matchup isn’t anything new. The two sides met in November, where the Chiefs escaped with a 27-17 win. The Jaguars plagued themselves with mistakes against one of the NFL’s best teams and still managed to only lose by 10.

The Jags have improved mightily since, winning seven of the eight games that followed. The Chiefs may be the consensus favorite, but a good game plan and better execution could be just what they need to pull off the upset.

Jacksonville may have erased a 27-point deficit last week against the Chargers, but they can’t allow themselves to fall into a hole this big again. Kansas City is too good to do something similar, so keeping things close early will be integral to Jaguar success.

Stopping the Kansas City offense, spearheaded by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, will undoubtedly be the greatest challenge for head coach Doug Pedersen and crew. The Jacksonville defense may have given up 27 first-half points, but context is vital to analyzing this.

It may look bad on paper, but put simply, it was quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s fault. His record-setting four first-half interceptions gifted the Chargers incredible field position time after time. This left the defense with zero margin for error as they held on for their lives.

Attacking the Kansas City pass defense in an aggressive, but calculated manner will be key for the Jaguars. Luckily enough for the Jags, this has been an area of strength thanks to development from Lawrence and a talented receiving corps. 

A spot in the AFC Championship will be on the line Saturday as the Jags will look to make a return for the first time since 2017. It won’t be easy, but a concentrated attack – and a bit of Duval County magic – could be just what it takes for the Jags to continue along their incredible run.

Game Info

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs

4:30 p.m. on NBC

GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO


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