After a long offseason, opening week is finally here. The Chiefs will begin things with a matchup against a sneaky Jaguars team. This is a Chiefs team that is highly anticipated. As they kick off their season in Jacksonville, it’s time to get down to business. Everyone is excited for Sunday. Now, let’s get things going on this Chiefs-Jaguars preview.
Meet The New Boss
The new look Kansas City defense gave us some glimpses throughout camp and the preseason. There still seems to be personnel questions at cornerback. However, safeties Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill and Jordan Lucas may also play some reps at cornerback as well. How will all of these new changes and additions look? There could be some time needed for this unit as a whole to gel, but for the most part, the Chiefs additions provide just what they needed. The new scheme, energy and mindset look to be beneficial to this team’s success this season.
Against the Jaguars, the Chiefs defense will face some questions in their opponent too. Will Nick Foles work in Jacksonville like he did in Philadelphia? Is Leonard Fournette going to be back to his rookie season form? Either way, the Jaguars will have their hands full with Steve Spagnuolo‘s blitz packages. There is no tape yet on this Chiefs defense with this group of players. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is down to their third string left tackle due to injuries. That should bode well for Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Chris Jones, etc. If the pass rush can come through like last year, the Chiefs weakness at cornerback would benefit mightily.
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Strength Vs Strength
Watching the Chiefs receivers face off with the Jaguars secondary will be more than exciting. Kansas City has one of the most exciting receiving cores in the NFL. On the other hand, Jacksonville’s secondary is nasty and can wreck game plans easier than most.
We know Tyreek Hill vs Jalen Ramsey will be a key matchup. When these teams played each other last year, Hill caught two passes. One catch was for 36 yards, once he blew past the big-mouthed defender. Hill and the Chiefs were able to agree to a contract extension just days before the game. Could that give some added motivation to the receiver on Sunday?
Overall, the speed that each of these two units employ can be daunting. If there is an edge though, I think it would go to the Chiefs receivers. The “Legion of Zoom” isn’t just fast. They’re dangerous. The addition of rookie Mecole Hardman will give the offense a new added boost opposite of Hill and Sammy Watkins. Travis Kelce is so athletic for a tight end, and can beat opponents multiple ways in space. Also, it will be interesting to see if Demarcus Robinson can breakout this season.
The Chiefs will be using a running back by committee approach this season. Damien Williams did a real fantastic job last season, after stepping in for Kareem Hunt. Additionally, you have the addition of LeSean McCoy. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think McCoy could be the leading rusher of this offense. But, he doesn’t have to do that for this offense. The important thing for him in Week One, will be to pick up the offense quickly and grind out some tough yards.
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Rookie Darwin Thompson will still be a factor in the offense, despite the addition of McCoy. He provides even more speed to a fast offense. Thompson will also run hard in between the tackles. Each of these backs provide a different pace, and it will be interesting to see the rotation the Chiefs use.
Matchup To Watch: Patrick Mahomes vs Jaguars D
Could this be a revenge game? Believe it or not, it will be for Patrick Mahomes. During an MVP season last year, there was only one game where Mahomes did not throw a touchdown. That was against the Jaguars. It was also the game where he threw his first interception, two in fact. Mahomes made some great throws in that contest, but there will be some urgency from the QB to want to embarrass this defense greater this time around. There were game last season, where Mahomes came out a little too amped up to begin things. That seems to be fixed based off the preseason. Obviously, preseason is not a good thing to judge. But, the gunslinger came out calm and poised to begin things, and he hopes to do the same on Sunday.
Andy Reid‘s teams are notorious for hot starts to the season in September. In the Reid era, the Chiefs are 5-1 in season openers. Reid’s first game as Chiefs head coach in 2013, was a Kansas City 28-2 win at the Jaguars.
In last year’s game vs the Jaguars, Travis Kelce notched 100 receiving yards. Jacksonville had only allowed 135 receiving yards to opposing tight ends in the first four games before that. Also, it was the first time since the Divisional Round playoffs the year before, that a tight end amassed 100 receiving yards against the Jaguars defense.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.