The story line for Sunday’s Chiefs-Jaguars game is easy: Patrick Mahomes and the NFL’s top scoring offense against the league’s top defense.
Mahomes added to his amazing start in Monday’s 27-23 victory at the Denver Broncos, helping the Chiefs overcome a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit with a pair of touchdown drives.
On those possessions, Mahomes went 12 for 15 for 147 yards, right-handed. And 1 for 1 with for six yards and a big first down left-handed, on the touchdown drive that completed the comeback.
For the season, Mahomes stands at an even 1,200 passing yards with a NFL-best 14 touchdown passes and zero interceptions.
But here comes Jacksonville, and limiting damage in the passing game is what the Jaguars do best. They lead the NFL in fewest points (14.0) and passing yards (164.2) allowed.
In a victory over the Patriots earlier this season, Jacksonville, led by All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and a nasty defensive front, held Tom Brady in check and built a big lead before cruising home.
In their 31-12 victory over the Jets on Sunday, the Jags didn’t allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter and the Jets went five yards on that possession. Jacksonville has allowed four touchdowns this season.
The Chiefs have scored a NFL-best 19 touchdowns, 18 on offense.
Chiefs vs. Jaguars
When: Noon at Arrowhead Stadium
TV/Radio: CBS (Ch. 5), KCFX (101.5 FM)
Line: Chiefs by 3
Before last weekend’s NFL games, Bovada updated odds for the season and listed the AFC favorites in this order: Patriots, Chiefs, Jaguars, Steelers and Chargers.
You might notice the Chiefs face the teams just before and after them in the next two weeks and have already beaten the other two on the road.
Projecting NFL schedule strength is a fool’s errand, but when the Chiefs’ 2018 slate was unveiled, it was logical to point to their current stretch of at Denver, vs. Jacksonville and at New England, as the most difficult.
The Chiefs are 1-0 in that run after Monday’s dramatic 27-23 triumph, and now face the first of two 2017 AFC finalists this weekend.
The Chiefs’ run defense had a rough night against the Broncos. Jacksonville has a stud in Leonard Fournette, but he’s been limited because of a hamstring injury. Against the Jets, Fournette played for the first time since Week 1 but left in the second quarter.
The Chiefs’ 4-0 start is their best since … last season. The Chiefs left the gate 5-0 and looked like a runaway winner in the AFC West. But they lost five of six before a late rally. Is this team better equipped to handle success? With a dynamic, playmaking quarterback, that would seem to be the case.