JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sunday's Jaguars-Chiefs game is the NFL's version of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Both the Kansas City offense and the Jacksonville defense rank in the top 10 in each of these categories: yards per game, passing yards, scoring, third downs and sacks per attempt.
The Chiefs come into the game with the hottest quarterback in the league, Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown 14 touchdowns and no interceptions, leading the highest-scoring team in the league.
"That's incredible," said defensive end Calais Campbell. "At the same time, I'm looking forward to the challenge. This is one of those games that you have to be very assignment sound. We need to do a good job of tackling and making sure when they do get those explosive plays, that we get them down."
The Jaguars have allowed only 14 points per game, the best in the NFL. They also lead the league in confidence. In speaking with several defensive players on Wednesday, you couldn't find anyone who didn't give off an air of confidence that the Chiefs should be ready for a tougher test than they have faced all year.
"I think they're a very high-powered offense with a lot of weapons and coached very well," defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. "They do a lot of great things, but they haven't played us yet, so we'll see."
Jaguars' linebacker Telvin Smith hinted that the Jaguars were finding more ways to stay motivated each week, and that this week, the acclaim that the Kansas City offense has received would fuel the motivation for the Jaguars defense.
"Every time we step out on the field, we want to test ourselves, see how good we can be, see how dominant we can be as a team," Smith said. "See how far we could push each other. Our opponent, every week they just happen to have a story behind them."
The game could have long range ramifications. The first tie-breaker for playoff positioning is head-to-head competition. The winner of Sunday's game could look back on this game in January and realize that it is the difference in playing a playoff game at home or on the road.
"Both teams are playoff contending teams," Smith said. "We're fighting for that home spot later in the season. Obviously, they have the record everybody wants. It's going to be a great game."