JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We are now entering Week 2 of the NFL regular season and the Jaguars are trying to keep up the positive momentum after winning in Indianapolis 31-21 against the Colts in Week 1.
The Jaguars are now preparing for their highly anticipated home opener against the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
The teams are somewhat familiar with each other as of late with the Chiefs beating the Jaguars twice last season. The Chiefs ended the Jaguars playoff run, knocking them off in Arrowhead Stadium 27-20 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. The Jaguars also loss to the Chiefs last year in Kansas City 27-17 in Week 10.
So, some might see this as a little bit of a revenge game for the Jaguars. The Jaguars also get the Chiefs at home in a sold out and “newly” named EverBank Stadium.
Sunday’s game will also mark the fourth time Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson has faced his former boss, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. Pederson is 0-3 all-time against Reid and looks to change that this weekend.
There isn’t a whole lot different for the Chiefs this year. They added another Super Bowl championship to their resume last season, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in a come from behind win.
However, this is a new season, and the Chiefs are looking to bounce back this week after losing their regular season home opener 21-20 to the Lions on Thursday Night Football.
The Chiefs did not play their best football and were without two of their top three players.
All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce and defensive linemen Chris Jones did not suit up for the game against the Lions.
Kelce did not play due suffering a knee injury during practice in the days before Thursday night, while Jones chose to sit out due to contract disputes.
The Jaguars know they will face a fired-up Chiefs team, ready to write the wrongs of last week and use the loss as motivation moving forward.
On Friday, Reid said that both Kelce and Jones will play in Sunday’s game against the Jaguars barring any setbacks.
On Monday, the Chiefs announced that the team had agreed to a new one-year contract with Jones.
“Chris is an elite player in this league, and over the last seven years, he’s really developed into a leader on our team,” Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said. “He’s been instrumental to our success and Super Bowl championship runs and it was a priority for us to keep him in a Chiefs uniform. I’d like to thank Chris and his representation, Michael and Jason Katz, for their desire and patience to get this done. Through this process two things were obvious, Chris wanted to be a Chief, and the Katz brothers worked diligently on his behalf.”
The Jaguars offensive line did struggle at times in their victory against the Colts, quarterback Trevor Lawrence was sacked twice with one of them resulting in a fumble that was returned for a Colts touchdown. So, look for Jones and the entire Chiefs defense to keep the pressure on.
On Wednesday, Jones spoke with the media about being excited to be back in the building and focused helping the team turn things around this week.
“We are focused on winning the next game.” Jones said. “We got the Jacksonville Jaguars coming in, a very good team. Coming off a loss to the Detroit Lions which is tough. But yeah, we are looking for a bounce back week.”
As for Kelce, Reid provided an update to the media earlier in the week, saying Kelce is making progress towards playing on Sunday.
“Trav is getting better,” Reid said. “He’s progressing. We’ll see how he does the rest of today and tomorrow. We’ll go from there.”
Another guy who will be getting a lot of attention from the Jaguars defense on Sunday is arguably the Chiefs best and most important player, quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes said he felt “embarrassed” after the loss to the Lions last week, so look for him to be motivated to do everything in his ability to keep the Chiefs from losing back-to-back games.
On Wednesday, Mahomes talked about having Jones and potentially Kelce back for the matchup on Sunday and how the team is ready to respond after the loss.
“You want to go out there and play with the guys that have put in the work. That go out there and execute and play at a high level for a long time.” Mahomes said. “But I think guys are ready to go. We didn’t like how we played this past Thursday. So, I think guys are ready to get out there and prove to everybody, even ourselves, who we really are.”
The Jaguars defense is looking to build off an impressive Week 1 performance against the Colts, holding them 1 of 5 on fourth down, forcing two turnovers and sacking rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson four times. Jaguars edge rusher Josh Allen played one of his best games in his career, accounting for three of those sacks and adding another two tackles for loss.
Mahomes was also asked about going against Josh Allen and the Jaguars defensive front.
“They are a talented defensive front; I have played them twice and understand that. This will be a great challenge for our offensive line, and I have got a lot of trust in those guys.” Mahomes said. “So, we will keep trying to build as an offense and when I need to get the ball out of my hand, I will get it out of my hand and when we need to take a shot, I will trust those guys to make the blocks.”
Reid also had good things to say about this Jaguars defensive front, adding that it will be a big test for the team’s offensive line.
“Both those defensive ends are phenomenal players, they’re fast and they have high motors.” Reid said. “Linebackers are fast, secondary is aggressive. They’re a good defense all the way around and to answer your question that defensive front is strong.”
There will be a recognizable name to Jaguars fans, this time lining up along the Chiefs offensive line.
Chiefs offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor is quite familiar with the Jaguars since he spent his first four seasons in Jacksonville before Kansas City signed him to a four-year, $80 million contract this past offseason. So, it will be somewhat of a homecoming for Taylor as he goes up against his former teammates.