The NFL regular season kicks off on Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars go up against the Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch from last year’s week five (1pm ET). Only this time, the Jaguars will be bringing a new signal caller to the table, one who could make all the difference.
In week five of the 2018 NFL season, the Jaguars were riding high. They had started 3-1, including a victory over the New England Patriots who had defeated them the year prior in the AFC Championship. Everything was coming up for roses for Jacksonville until they headed into Arrowhead Stadium for a clash with the undefeated Chiefs. Things didn’t exactly go the way the Jaguars had hoped. In fact, things went the exact opposite. The Chiefs won 30-14 with Jacksonville never leading in the game. What followed was devastating for the Jaguars as they went on to lose six games in a row after losing to Kansas City. What otherwise looked like a promising season with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations turned into an utter disaster for Jacksonville. The prior year’s runner-up in the AFC, the Jags finished with just five wins the next season.
Nick Foles vs Patrick Mahomes
The Philadelphia Eagles, 2017’s Super Bowl Champion, went on to reach the postseason in somewhat improbable fashion thanks to Nick Foles’ magic. That magic continued as the Eagles won their first playoff game and almost lasted even longer as Philadelphia came close to defeating the New Orleans Saints to advance to the NFC Championship for a second year in a row. You might wonder, what does the Eagles season have to do with Jacksonville’s? Well it doesn’t, but Foles does. With Eagles QB Carson Wentz returning to his position as the starter, the Eagles made the decision to trade Foles and he landed with Jacksonville, a team in desperate need of some magic.
Perhaps Foles’ magical ways wouldn’t have made a difference against the Chiefs last year, but this time, Jacksonville will look to their new savior in his first game with the team, to bring that magic all the way down the East Coast. Especially, given this is a huge first game for the Jaguars as they look to get back to their place atop the AFC South and back in the conversation among the AFC’s best. That is a conversation dominated by the Patriots and Jacksonville’s opponents on Sunday in Kansas City.
Kansas City’s rise hasn’t been meteoric but rather gradual. In January 2013, prior to the start of the season, the Chiefs hired Andy Reid as their new coach. That year, they made the playoffs for the first time since 2010. In Reid’s first year, the Chiefs also went 11-5 after opening with a 9-0 record behind the duo of Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs returned to the playoffs in 2015 after another 11-5 record and again the following year at 12-4. It wasn’t until last year however that Kansas City went from playoff perennial to Super Bowl hopeful and the reason for that was simple. Prior to the 2018 season, the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes. In his rookie year, Mahomes was nothing short of sensational. Last year’s NFL MVP, Mahomes absolutely shattered QB records throwing for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. That was 11 more than the next highest mark, that of recently retired Andrew Luck, who had 39.
The Chiefs’ offense was historic and unfortunately for Jacksonville, that’s the same offense that will be taking the field on Sunday. While there is always a possibility of a Mahomes sophomore slump, it’s not likely given the weapons he has and his pure ability. Jacksonville’s defense will have its work cut out for them for sure as they face what was last year’s third highest ranking offense in NFL history. Not to mention the team that may have advanced to their first Super Bowl since 1970, if only Mahomes had gotten a chance with the ball in overtime of the AFC Championship.
That all being said, the Jaguars were the only team in the regular season to hold Mahomes without a passing touchdown last year. They were the team to hold him to a career-low 62.7 passer rating. In the end, it wasn’t enough, which has to be the most terrifying reality about the Chiefs offense. They can beat you on the ground, in the air or through the defensive side of the game. They are one of the NFL’s best all-around teams so it certainly won’t be an easy task for the Jaguars.
Our Betting Preview’s Kansas City Chiefs vs Jacksonville Jaguars Predictions & Picks Verdict
Ever since Andy Reid took the helm, the Kansas City Chiefs have been riding high. They are owners of three AFC West division titles and have double digit victories in all but one of his six seasons as coach. Then there is Mahomes, who could be one of the best young quarterbacks ever to launch a ball. Not to mention Tyreek Hill and the NFL’s best tight end, Travis Kelce. The Chiefs went 13-5 last year and are likely to be in the same window this year.
Jacksonville has had their ups and downs recently but are severely hoping last year was an outlier. They will look to return to championship form in 2019 with Foles leading the way. Now, Foles has a mixed record when it comes to being an NFL starter but lately he has been on fire. Foles is one of the main reasons the Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Perhaps that same magic can give Jacksonville their first as well. The Jaguars enter this season one year removed from having the fifth best defense in the league but their offense suffered. Foles could be just what they need to marry the two and become an all-around team like the Chiefs.
If you throw out the Patriots for a moment, this very well could be a week one match that turns into an AFC Championship rematch. At the very least, you should expect to see both of these teams in the playoffs this year, especially given how the AFC South is ripe for the taking now that Luck has retired from the Colts. As for this game’s Kansas City Chiefs vs Jacksonville Jaguars predictions, this is how our picks, with the top rated and trusted oddsmakers, look:
- Expect Kansas City, 7-0 ATS (against the spread) in their last seven September games, to keep up that mark with a victory over the Jaguars to kick off the season on Sunday. We recommend a bet on Chiefs -3.5pts @ best odds of +102 with BetOnline.
- Look for the under on 51 total points as crazy as it might sound. With the Jags’ defense as good as it was last year, they should be able to limit Mahomes from having one of those monster games he became known for in 2018. Plus, the under is 3-0 in the last three meetings between these teams. Bet under 51pts @ -120 with Intertops. Otherwise it is under 50.5pts @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker or BetOnline
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.