Chiefs Ready to Shake Florida Blues

The state of Florida has not been very good to the Kansas City Chiefs. They've only won three games in the last fifteen years. In 2001 they defeated the Jaguars but before that their last Florida victory was back in the Joe Montana era. That's a trend the Chiefs hope to change on Sunday as they'll face a Jacksonville team that's struggling after a hot start.

The Chiefs are coming off their most impressive victory of the season a 27-24 victory against the Baltimore Ravens a week ago Monday. On Sunday they hope to be making one of two appearances in Jacksonville. If the Chiefs have any visions of playing in the Super Bowl in February on the Jaguars home field, they must win this game.

On paper it's a might mismatch but as the Chiefs have learned this season that has not always been a recipe for victories. Still they are favored in this game despite their 1-3 record. The Jaguars started the season with three straight defensive victories but have faltered the last two weeks against better opponents.

In the Chiefs Monday Night victory in Baltimore, Kansas City played their best game of the season and dominated the line of scrimmage for much of the game. They must show that brazen attitude in Jacksonville if they want to win.

The strength of this Jaguars team remains their defense despite faltering the last two weeks. Up front Jacksonville posses a couple of menacing defensive tackles in Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. Both young tackles have the ability to clog up the middle and they'll need to do that if they intend to stop Chiefs running back Priest Holmes.

If the Chiefs can run off tackle and pull their guards, they should be able to have a monster day running the ball. The Jaguars also have a decent trio of linebackers led by Mike Peterson, former Chief Greg Favors and Akin Ayodele.

This will be the first week that the Kansas City Chiefs offense will have all of their offensive weapons on the field. Wide receiver Eddie Kennison returns to the roster and his ability to stretch the field gives the Chiefs more options on offense. One thing that's been missing from their arsenal has been running screen plays for Holmes. With defenses keying on the Chiefs All-Pro back, Trent Green has been unable to do anything but try and get the ball to Tony Gonzalez first then the rest of the receivers.

Against the Ravens, Green had the luxury to execute his play action passes because the running game was strong. But now that Kennison is back, Green the Jaguars won't be able to bring up their linebackers and safeties. That means the Chiefs offense should be able to sustain long drives and score plenty of points.

On defense the Chiefs have improved dramatically each and every week. They have confidence since they held All-Pro running back Jamal Lewis to a mediocre 77 yards rushing. This week they face a similar running back in Fred Taylor. Though Taylor has struggled behind a weak offensive line, he has the ability to make long runs. Taylor has 328 yards rushing this season but has only scored one touchdown on the season. The Chiefs defense led by defensive tackle Lional Dalton must get a strong push up the middle. As mentioned the Jaguars offensive line is banged up and simply not playing as cohesively as they need to establish a strong running attack.

That means quarterback Byron Leftwich has been forced to carry the load offensively. He has a rocket arm and can move out of the pocket with ease. The last two weeks he's put up some impressive numbers and he's more than capable of lighting up the Chiefs secondary.

Wide receiver Jimmy Smith has been extraordinary this season. The 35-year old leads the team in receptions with 382 yards receiving but even more impressive is the fact that he's averaging 18.2 yards per catch.

That means that Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield will need to be very aggressive in his coverage on Smith. The Jaguars will get a boost this week with the debut of tight end Kyle Brady who has yet to play a game this season. Though he's not quite the receiver he was earlier in his career, he can block and that should open up some holes for Taylor.

The Chiefs are coming off their bye week and they stand 1-2 under the Dick Vermeil era. But they stand 10-3 the following week when they don't turn the ball over. The Jaguars early season three game win streak was predicating on their ability to create turnovers. If the Chiefs hold onto the ball, they should walk away with their second straight victory.

Before the season started, I thought the Jaguars were a lock to win but I don't feel that anymore. The Chiefs made a statement against the Ravens and it would uncharacteristic of this team with all its veteran leadership to not back it up and play well in Jacksonville.

If Kansas City plays like it did against Baltimore on the road; they'll easily defeat the Jaguars on their home turf. That would mean the Chiefs are officially back in the AFC West race.

Prediction:
Kansas City Chiefs 34 – Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Quick Stats:
* The Jaguars are 5-8 the last three seasons after they lose two in a row.

* The Chiefs have won seven of nine games the last three years in the month of October.

* The Jaguars have lost seven of nine games in the month of October the last three seasons.

* The Jaguars lead the all-time series 3-1.


WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories