Where: TIAA Bank Field
When: Sunday, September 8, 2019, 1:00 pm ET
The National Football League is back, and we have a terrific opening matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars. Kick-off is slated for 1:00 pm ET and I for one can’t wait for Sunday!!
Kansas City is coached by Andy Reid and is won the AFC West with a 12-4 record before losing in the AFC Finals to eventual champion by a score of 37-31. The Chiefs are poised to make another run to the Super Bowl and would like to open their season with a road win over the Jaguars.
Jacksonville finished their 2018 season under third-year Head Coach Doug Marrone with a disappointing 5-11 record and is hoping to turn things around for a 2018 team that had high hopes after a 10-6 record and AFC South Title in 2017.
Mahomes Reigning MVP
The Chiefs ended their 2018 season seven points away from a Super Bowl berth. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was awarded the AP NFL MVP award and is poised for another run that hopefully leads to representing the AFC in the Super Bowl in February. Kansas City is 54-26 over their past five seasons and their 12 regular-season wins were the second 12-win season over their last five under Head Coach Andy Reid.
Mahomes is a generational talent that threw for over 5000 yards and led a Chiefs offense ranking first in points scored (565), yards (6810) and 50 passing touchdowns. The Chiefs scored on an NFL leading 52.6 percent of their offensive drives and their 39.8 net yards per drive along with their 3.2 points per drive average were tops in the National Football League.
The offensive backfield looks solid; running back Damian Williams took over for a suspended Kareem Hunt and rushed for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Williams should be the featured back and over the last week, Kansas City signed free agent and likely future Hall of Famer LeSean McCoy to give Williams a breather.
Mahomes can sling it from anywhere and has some serious weapons at his disposal; wide receiver Tyreek Hill avoided suspension and returns from a 1479 yard, 12 receiving touchdown season; add wide receivers Sammy Watkins and DeMarcus Robinson along with rookie speedster Mecole Hardman to the mix and they can punish opponents in a number of ways.
The Chiefs recently signed Hill to a contract extension.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue my playing career here in Kansas City,” Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill said. “Kansas City is my home, and I appreciate the love and support from Clark Hunt, Coach Reid and Brett Veach along with my coaches and teammates. To Chiefs Kingdom, you’re the best fans in the world.”
Oh, and Mahomes also has tight end Travis Kelce to throw to. The four-time Pro Bowler hauled in 103 of his 150 targets for 1336 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
The defense was the Chiefs Achilles Heel and Football Insiders ranked Kansas City 26th in DVOA. Defensive tackle Chris Jones is looking at another great season after recording 15.5 sacks and will be the leader of the Chiefs new-look 4-3 defensive set. The Chiefs rank #31 in passing yards allowed and 31st in rushing yards allowed per attempt and the 4-3 set is supposedly supposed to fix this. Defensive back Kendall Fuller will anchor a defensive backfield that allowed 30 passing touchdowns in 2018.
Foles Replaces Bortles As QB of Jags
After a fast 3-1 start, the Jaguars lost seven straight and nine of their next 10 contests that led to a last-place finish in the AFC South. The Jaguars released starting quarterback Blake Bortles just 13 months removed from signing him to a three-year deal and signed free agent Nick Foles to replace him. Running back Leonard Fournette missed six games due to injury so it was a tough season for Head Coach Doug Marrone to swallow.
Foles was the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl hero and now the Jaguars are asking him to lead the 30th ranked DVOA according to Football Outsiders. Foles threw for 1413 yards and seven touchdowns as a starter last season for the Eagles, completing 72.3 percent of his passes but did pitch four picks and was sacked nine times as a starting quarterback in 2018.
Fournette averaged just 3.7 yards per carry in 2018 and his off the field antics make this a crucial season for the young man’s career. Rookies Devine Ozigbo from Nebraska and Ryquell Armstead from Temple will backup Fournette this season.
Wide receiver Dede Westbrook returns from a 66 catch, five receiving touchdown season to lead one of the worst wide receiving corps in the National Football League. Marqise Lee is coming off an ACL injury that caused him to miss 2018 and former Chiefs starter Chris Conley is coming of a 32 catch, five-touchdown season, but the Jags lack a true number one go-to guy for Foles.
According to Football Outsiders, Jacksonville had the six-best defensive DVOA in the NFL last season. That was a stout defense that won games for the Jaguars and much is expected from them this season. Gone is free safety Tashaun Gipson and linebacker Telvin Smith is skipping 2019 due to personal issues off the field. The secondary will be forced to rely on safeties Ronnie Harrison and Jarrod Wilson, who have 10 starts between them.
- Chiefs are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games in September.
- Chiefs are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 road games.
- Chiefs are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 vs. AFC.
- Jaguars are 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games on grass.
- Jaguars are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Jaguars are 2-8-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall.