Chiefs vs. Jaguars: Time, TV channel, streaming, key matchups, prediction for NFL divisional round playoffs

The first recreation of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs pits the AFC’s No. 1 seed, the Kansas City Chiefs, towards the No. 4 seed Jacksonville Jaguars.

With the Jags coming off a rollicking comeback win over Kansas City’s AFC West brethren, they certainly have an upset on their minds as they journey to the midwest. The Chiefs, in the meantime, are hoping to safe a visit to their fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game. They’ve made it at the least that far in yearly of the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes period, and it is unlikely they need that streak to come back to an finish now.

So, which of those groups will advance to the subsequent round? We’re glad you requested. Before we break down the matchup, this is a take a look at how one can watch the sport.

How to observe

Date: Saturday, Jan. 21 | Time: 4:30 pm ET
Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
TV: NBC | Stream: fuboTV (attempt for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Chiefs -8.5, O/U 53 (courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

When the Jaguars have the ball

It’s extraordinarily hacky to mimic the opening of A Tale of Two Cities when introducing some extent, however rattling if final week wasn’t the worst of halves adopted by one of the best of halves for Trevor Lawrence. Prior to halftime towards the Los Angeles Chargers, Lawrence was simply 10 of 24 for 77 yards, one landing, and an unimaginable FOUR interceptions. After the break, he went 18 of 23 for 211 yards and three touchdowns, with zero picks.

Obviously, the previous kind of half completely can not occur towards Kansas City if the Jaguars wish to keep within the recreation. The Chiefs usually are not the Chargers, and they won’t let an opponent survive that kind of efficiency. And the Jags actually would possibly want Lawrence to play on the stage he reached in that second half, for your entire recreation, simply to maintain up with Kansas City’s explosive offense. That means he’ll additionally must exceed the efficiency he put forth when these groups met again in Week 10, when he accomplished 29 of 40 passes, however for simply 259 yards (6.5 per try) and two touchdowns. It was a strong recreation, however not almost sufficient to maintain up with what Patrick Mahomes was doing on the opposite facet of the ball.

If Lawrence is to get the kinds of outcomes the Jags want from him, it’ll probably come by way of throws to the center of the sphere. Kansas City ranked twenty ninth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA on these throws, whereas Lawrence went 35 of 48 for 392 yards, 5 touchdowns, and one choose on passes between the hashes, based on Tru Media. He ranked sixth within the league in Expected Points Added (EPA) per dropback on these performs.

Throwing over the center probably means working the matchups with slot man Christian Kirk (76% of snaps within the slot, based on Pro Football Focus) vs. L’Jarius Sneed, and tight finish Evan Engram vs. Kansas City’s linebackers and safeties. On the perimeter, Zay Jones and Marvin Jones will see protection from rookies Trent McDuffie and Jaylen Watson, and they’re considerably simpler to throw on than is Sneed, however Lawrence was at his finest ripping it over the center — particularly when he was capable of push the ball downfield whereas doing so.

Getting the ball downfield necessitates time to throw, and the Jacksonville offensive line could have its palms full with Kansas City’s entrance — notably Chris Jones. Lawrence’s superpower is his means to keep away from sacks, but it surely’s tougher to do this when the strain comes up the center and immediately into your lap. That’s the place Jones is available in, and if the Jags cannot preserve him from crashing the pocket, it is perhaps a protracted day for their offense. Lawrence may additionally need to work his checkdowns extra usually than he likes (Travis Etienne has hardly ever been focused in current weeks) if Jones is dominating the sport.

The Jags is perhaps tempted to attempt to play conservative in a matchup the place they’re underdogs, however they actually need to do the alternative. Kansas City goes to attain; placing the sport on Lawrence’s proper shoulder, moderately than relying on Etienne and the offensive line to regulate the ball all recreation, is Jacksonville’s finest probability of pulling off an upset.

When the Chiefs have the ball

When these two groups performed a number of weeks in the past, Patrick Mahomes torched the Jaguars secondary to the tune of 26 of 35 for 331 yards, with 4 touchdowns and one interception. He added seven speeding makes an attempt for 39 yards whereas taking zero sacks. He did that regardless of dropping JuJu Smith-Schuster to a concussion and Andrew Wylie to an elbow damage within the first half.

It is smart that he was capable of mild the Jaguars up, given the areas of relative weak point for Jacksonville’s protection.

The Jags ranked thirty second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA towards throws to tight ends this season, for instance, and Mahomes accomplished 6 of seven passes for 81 yards and a landing to Travis Kelce, in addition to 3 of three passes for 26 yards and a rating. for Noah Gray and Jody Fortson. No crew within the league noticed its opponents throw a larger share of its go makes an attempt to working backs, per Tru Media, and Mahomes related with Jerick McKinnon on 6 of 8 passes for 56 yards. Only two groups allowed extra receiving yards to gamers lined up within the slot than did the Jaguars, and Mahomes went 10 of 13 for 153 yards and two scores to fit males throughout the recreation, regardless of Smith-Schuster leaving early.

Well, right here we’re a pair months later, and Kelce remains to be Kelce, McKinnon is much more entrenched because the lead again in Kansas City’s offense, Smith-Schuster is again within the fold, and the Jaguars nonetheless have the identical relative weaknesses as a go protection. In different phrases, this units up as a good looking matchup for Mahomes. The locations he likes to go along with the ball are the identical locations the Jaguars have a tendency to go away open, and we have already seen him choose them aside with these precise kinds of throws.

Betting towards a repeat is betting on Jacksonville’s protection to instantly have an out-of-character efficiency towards one of the best quarterback within the league, or on mentioned quarterback to have an out-of-character efficiency towards a protection not all that nicely geared up to cope with him or his major weapons.

Throw in the truth that the Jaguars additionally ranked twenty ninth within the NFL in rush protection DVOA this season, and that the Chiefs probably have a bonus within the trenches, and the chance of the Chiefs offense failing on this recreation begins to appear fairly minuscule. That’s very true if what we noticed from McKinnon as a runner each final postseason (34 carries for 150 yards) and within the video games the place he truly acquired vital carries this yr (he went 8-53, 8-51, and 10-52 in the one three video games the place he had 8 carries or extra).

Featured Game | Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 20

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