Jaguars at Chiefs predictions: Writers’ picks for NFL’s Divisional Round
By Scott Loring
The Chiefs will try to put an end to the Jags’ Cinderella season, and the winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the AFC Championship Game.
The Kansas City Chiefs begin their playoff run toward another Super Bowl on Saturday, hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Divisional Round matchup of the AFC West and AFC South Champions.
The Jaguars are coming off an impossible comeback victory over the… oh, wait, of course, it’s not impossible. It’s just the Chargers again. Nevertheless, the Jaguars did manage to outscore the Chargers in an unconventional fashion by the final score of 31-30, overcoming a 27-0 deficit. The Jaguars pulled off their rally without forcing a single turnover, a remarkable feat of consistency and relentless pursuit on both sides of the ball.
The Chiefs will try to put an end to the Jags’ Cinderella season, and the winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the AFC Championship Game and await the winner of Sunday’s long-awaited Bengals/Bills do-over.
Here’s a glimpse at this week’s Staff Picks for the Chiefs and Jaguars:
Patrick Allen (13-4)
The last time these two teams met, the Chiefs were able to do pretty much anything they wanted offensively. Isiah Pacheco averaged 5.1 yards per carry, and Mahomes threw for 331 yards and 4 TDs. I don’t expect things to go much differently this time around. The Jaguars are playing good football but the Chiefs have more talent. Add in Andy Reid off a bye and the crowd at Arrowhead, and I think the Jaguars are in for a rude awakening. The Chiefs win easily.
Chiefs 33, Jaguars 24
Matt Conner (13-4)
The Chiefs walked through the last victory against the Jags with relative ease and it’s not as if Jacksonville is playing lights out this late in the season. Stumbling into a victory is not going to carry any team past the Chiefs.
Chiefs 37, Jaguars 20
Scott Loring (11-6)
Patrick Mahomes is a snow-game guy. Even he says so. The forecast for Saturday calls for some precipitation, and the Chiefs are all-systems-go for their playoff stretch. The Chiefs are Pete “Maverick” Mitchell hitting Mach 10 in Darkstar, and the Jags are Snoopy and his Sopwith Camel. Kadarius Toney is going to do something astounding, and the Chiefs prepare to beat the Bills in Atlanta (aka the Home of the Chiefs).
Chiefs 30, Jaguars 15
Ellen Mathis (15-2)
The Chiefs finally make their playoff debut and after resting for a week, they are ready to take on the challenge. The Jags had a nice run and to go from worst to a playoff win is respectable. However, experience wins the day here. Andy Reid takes on his protege yet again while Patrick Mahomes shows the leadership and calm that comes from being in the playoffs yet again. The Chiefs clean up the mistakes they made in the last matchup and this game ends up a lot like the 3:30 CT of Wild Card weekend: it starts out close but in the end, is a blowout.
Chiefs 36, Jaguars 17
Jacob Milham (14-3)
The divisional round has a lot to live up to, after an electric Wild Card Weekend. The Jaguars coming back to Arrowhead will be no cakewalk. Andy Reid has an 18-9 record against his former assistants, but Doug Pederson is no slouch. The Super Bowl-winning coaches’ duel will be a great game, especially if Reid pulls out more from the bag of tricks. The Chiefs’ speed on offense will test the Jaguars’ defensive backfield. If the offensive line can suppress Jacksonville’s young pass rush, this should be a good win for the Chiefs.
Chiefs 30, Jaguars 23
Greg Morse (9-3)
The Jags are better this time around, but I just don’t see them being able to go toe to toe with the Chiefs…unless Kansas City lets them. I’m not getting my hopes up yet, but maybe, just maybe, they’ll have a comfortable blowout win as they did against the Raiders.
Chiefs 31 Jaguars 10
Charles Robinson (15-2)
Well, I don’t think anybody expected that we’d find ourselves here. Of course, the Chiefs would be in the divisional round, that was a given, but when the 3-7 Jaguars left Arrowhead in early November I don’t know that anyone saw this matchup coming. Multiple resurrections later, here we are. Fitting that they meet the Grim Reaper after one of the most thrilling playoff comebacks of all time. The Chiefs are laser-focused on a Super Bowl run and will roll the Jags back to DUUUUVAL.
Chiefs 38, Jaguars 20
Byron Smith (7-2)
Uh-oh, controversial opinion time! Despite what the score may imply, I think we leave this game talking about KC’s defense, specifically the DPOY, Chris Jones. Give me an astonishing eight sacks for the entire defense, with Jones accounting for a monster four of them! Three interceptions (one of which is for a touchdown) later, the offense barely has to show up for this game, with the fifth and final touchdown from KC being scored by Chad Henne.
Chiefs 35, Jaguars 10
Stacy Smith (4-1)
Despite a clean game in the first matchup, the Jaguars posed no real trouble to the Chiefs. This time, Kansas City will take better care of the football and be less of a liability on special teams. I suspect this game will be close for a half, but ultimately, Jacksonville simply won’t have the horses to keep their playoff chances alive. Patrick Mahomes is dialed in and has a three-touchdown day, and the defense gives Trevor Lawrence a hard time again.
Chiefs 30, Jaguars 21
Lucas Strozinsky (14-3)
The Chiefs should not lose this game as they haven’t failed to make the AFC Championship Game since Patrick Mahomes took over in Kansas City. The Jaguars have a star at quarterback and are well-coached, but the Chiefs are better at pretty much every single position, including the head coach. It may not be pretty, but a loss in this game would be utterly shocking.
Chiefs 26, Jaguars 20
Grant Tuttle (14-2)
The Jaguars spent everything they had to beat the Chargers, whom the Chiefs beat twice. While Trevor Lawrence has undoubtedly been better on Saturdays than Sundays, he will not have enough left in the tank to hang with the Grim Reaper. Look for the offense to have some big plays en route to an easy victory.
Chiefs 35, Jaguars 20