Sunday, October 7, 1:00 p.m.
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Kickoff Temperature: 84 degrees, 40% chance of precipitation
Line: Jaguars by 2
Records: Jacksonville 2-1, tied for second place in the AFC South; Kansas City 2-2, tied for first place in the AFC West.
Five Most Important Things for the Jaguars
1. Strike early. The Chiefs haven't allowed a second half touchdown this year, so if you're going to beat them, you must score early. Scoring early will also quiet down one of the most raucous crowds in the NFL.
2. Stop Larry Johnson. Larry Johnson struck for 138 yards on the ground, as well as three touchdowns the last time these two teams met, which was just four games ago for the Jaguars. If Johnson gets rolling, that will open up the play-action game for the Chiefs, which will make Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe even more explosive.
3. More Garrard on the move. The pass/run threat of David Garrard kept the Broncos defense on their heels two weeks ago, and if the Jaguars can keep him on the move against the Chiefs, it will open up more opportunities for the running game and passing game.
4. Fight fire with fire. The Chiefs attack offensively with a fantastic running back, a great pass-catching tight end, and a young up and coming wide receiver. The Jaguars have two great running backs, a pass-catching tight end of their own, and a few young, talented wide receivers. The Jaguars must use the Chiefs formula for success as their own.
5. Win special teams. The Jaguars had a punt blocked for a touchdown last time these teams played, and the final margin of victory for the Chiefs was just five points. The Jaguars need to play much better on special teams this Sunday to beat a tough Kansas City squad.
1. Look for a lot of play-action from both teams. Both teams primary weapons stem from the running game, so they both will try and exploit the opposing defenses that will be very focused on stopping the run.
2. Look for Fred Taylor to go over 100 yards. Fred has looked better each week for the Jaguars and this should be the week he breaks out.
3. Look for another big day by the Jaguars tight ends. Lewis, Wrighster, and Estandia are huge targets, and they will have a solid size advantage over anyone on the Chiefs defense who tries to cover them.
4. Look for a lot of draw plays by the Jaguars. The Jacksonville offensive line have been underachieving up to this point, and the Chiefs have solid pass rushers on the outside. Draw plays will counter the pass rush of Tamba Hali and Jared Allen.
5. Look for special teams to decide this one. These teams are so evenly matched, that a big play on special teams, possibly a big return, blocked kick, or long field goal could determine the winner. The Jaguars return men are more explosive, but the Chiefs have the better punter and kicker.
"Not really other than to say that I only put forth the truth. The Chiefs are who we are going to be challenged by. They're a good football team with a very strong running back and a great set of skill people and we need to prepare to give our very best. And that's the challenge, to understand how good this guy is and how good they are capable of being and being at our very best to meet that challenge."
- These teams are very evenly matched. Both teams have solid pass rushers, fast linebackers, and some question marks at safety. Offensively, both teams like to do the same thing, so this one should come down to the quarterbacks. The Jaguars have the better quarterback right now, and that's the way I have to lean. Final score: Jaguars 24, Chiefs 21.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.