JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars face their second statement game in the first five weeks of the season as they travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs. In the first statement game, the Jaguars dominated the New England Patriots. Can they do the same at Arrowhead Stadium? Here are the four biggest keys for the Jaguars to beat the Chiefs:
1. Offensive consistency
The Jaguars have not had consecutive good offensive performances this year. When they have been good, however, they have been very good. Last week in the win over the Jets, Blake Bortles set a career high with 388 passing yards. Two weeks prior, he enjoyed perhaps his best overall regular- season game as a pro against the Patriots. When Jaguars players talk about what it takes to be consistent, they make it seem simple. Part of the equation for the Jaguars is a fast start. When they don't come out of the gate well, the Jaguars tend to struggle. When they are on, they look like a championship contender.
2. Deal with the noise
Arrowhead Stadium is the loudest stadium in the NFL. That won't affect the defense. The savvy fans in Kansas City save their screams for when the opponent has the ball. That will make communication between the quarterback and receivers, tight ends and tackles more difficult. Blake Bortles has been given more freedom to check to different plays at the line, but it is likely to be more difficult with the "Sea of Red" raising the decibels.
3. Put pressure in Patrick Mahomes' face
Much like facing Seattle's Russell Wilson, Mahomes runs to keep plays alive. He can take off and run, but he prefers to keep plays alive to throw. To minimize the impact, the Jaguars must get pressure in Mahomes' face. That means that Malik Jackson, Abry Jones and Marcel Dareus must push the pocket. On third down, the Jaguars move Calais Campbell inside, since he can certainly contribute to the pass rush.
4. Reduce self-inflicted mistakes
The Jaguars have largely gotten away with penalties and turnovers, but against a team like Kansas City, that's tempting fate. Last week against the New York Jets, the Jaguars committed nine penalties and turned the ball over three times. Against the Chiefs, especially at Arrowhead Stadium, teams who give the Chiefs an edge don't fare well. Sunday would be the perfect time for the Jaguars' secondary to turn in its first interception--or interceptions--of the season.