Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs (1/21 @ 4:30 PM EST)
Spread: Chiefs -8
Money Line: Jaguars +329 / Chiefs -402
Overview and Betting Info
The Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8) will head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs (14-3) on Saturday to kick off the NFL Divisional Playoff round. These two teams met in November, with the Chiefs winning 27-17. The Chiefs are the top seed in the AFC, while the Jags are the four-seed after winning the AFC South.
The Jags are 9-9 against the spread this season, covering five of their last six (including last week). They have gone over the total nine times but have been under in three of their last four.
The Chiefs are 6-10-1 versus the spread and have covered just two of their last six games. They have gone over the total eight times, including in three of their last five.
The Jag’s offense averaged 357.4 yards and 23.8 points per game. After an awful start against the Chargers last week, they finished with 390 yards and 31 points en route to a comeback win. They are led by Trevor Lawrence (4,113 yards, 25 TD), who bounced back last week to throw four touchdowns after throwing four interceptions in the first half. He did well in their regular season matchup with the Chiefs, completing 72% of his passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns.
The Jacksonville receiving corps has been led by Christian Kirk, who had 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season. He went for 78 yards and a touchdown last week and went for 105 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs this season. He is joined by Zay Jones (823 yards, 5 TD), Evan Engram (766, 4 TD), and Marvin Jones Jr (529 yards, 3 TDs) to round out the Jags’ top pass-catchers. Each scored a touchdown last week and will play an important role again on Saturday. Jones had 68 yards against the Chiefs earlier this season, while Engram and Jones were essentially non-factors.
Travis Etienne Jr has led the Jags’ backfield with 1,125 yards (9th in NFL) and five touchdowns. He had a big game against the Chargers last week, averaging 5.5 YPC for a total of 109 yards. He only saw 11 carries versus the Chiefs this season, thanks to an early 20-0 deficit, but he averaged a solid 4.1 YPC. Etienne shared some carries with JaMycal Hasty (194 yards, 2 TD) during the regular season. However, the third-year back saw just one carry against the Chargers last week.
The Jags’ defense was bottom ten this season, allowing 353.3 yards and 20.6 points per game. Their struggles can be attributed to their secondary, 28th in the NFL with 238.5 YPG. They allowed 27 points in the first half against the Chargers but went into lockdown mode and allowed just a field goal in the second half. They’ve been led by an incredible season from Foyesade Oluokun (184 tackles, 2 sacks, 12 TFLs, 5 PD) and Josh Allen (57 tackles, 6 sacks, 11 TFLs). Both played great last week, with Allen registering his first postseason sack. The Jags’ secondary is led by Andre Cisco (3 INT, 10 PD, 1 TD), Rayshawn Jenkins (3 INT, 12 PD, 1 TD), and Tyson Campbell (3 INT, 15 PD). They surrendered 331 yards and four touchdowns to Mahomes earlier this season and were torched in the first half by the Chargers. We’ll find out Saturday if they fixed something in the second half of that game or if they are in for another long day against the Chiefs.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chief’s offense led the NFL with 413.6 yards and 29.2 points per game this season. They are helmed led by Patrick Mahomes, who leads the NFL in passing yards (5,250), touchdowns (41), and QBR (77.7). The quarterback has also been impressive on the ground, with 358 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He dominated the Jags in their earlier season matchup and has eight touchdowns to one interception over his last four games.
The Chiefs’ receiving corps is led by Travis Kelce, who has 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is coming off of back-to-back quiet games where he accumulated just 81 yards and zero touchdowns. The good news is Kelce found success against the Jags earlier this year, going for 81 yards and a touchdown. Kelce is joined by Juju Smith-Schuster (933 yards, 3 TD) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (687, 2 TD) on the field, though he is the clear top option. Smith-Schuster has disappointed a bit this season and was held to 33 yards against the Jaguars. Keep an eye on MVS, as the speedster managed 60 yards and a touchdown against the Jags.
The Kansas City backfield is led by Isiah Pacheco, who went for 830 yards and five touchdowns this season. The rookie has been a nice surprise for the team after taking over the starter role and has now scored in their last two games. He also succeeded against the Jags this season, averaging 5.1 YPC for 82 yards. The backfield will get a boost this weekend as Clyde Edwards-Helaire (302 yards, 3 TD) is off of injured reserve and expected to play some this Saturday. The back hasn’t played since November 20th and will likely be limited, but he is an effective rusher that the Jags will need to watch.
The defense has allowed 328.2 yards and 21.7 points per game this season. A run defense has boosted them, and they are top ten in the NFL (107.2 YPG). They’ve been led by the play of Nick Bolton (180 tackles, 2 sacks, 9 TFLs, 2 INT) and Chris Jones (15.5 sacks, 17 TFLs). Bolton has been a playmaker all over the field and leads the team in tackles, while Jones is fourth in the NFL in sacks. Jones had a great game versus the Jaguars, where he got to Lawrence twice. Keep an eye on Willie Gay as well, as he 9 TFLs and 8 PDs and had one of his 2.5 sacks against the Jags this year. The Chiefs’ secondary has been led by L’Jarius Sneed (3 INT, 11 PD, 3.5 sacks, 5 TFLs) and Juan Thornhill (3 INT, 9 PD). While they allowed Lawrence to go 29-40 with two touchdowns earlier this year, they held the Jags to just 17 points (including a garbage-time touchdown).
Free Pick: Chiefs -8
We also like the over here, but the chance of rain combined with the Chiefs’ mismatch is too good to pass up. One of the big reasons for this pick is the inexperience of the Jaguars. We saw them come out flat and get rattled in the first half last week, only to rally for the win. While this was impressive, that only happens against the Chiefs. Mahomes and the offense will take advantage of the opportunities that the Chargers did (who were also inexperienced), especially if he’s given excellent field position from turnovers. The Chief’s pass rush will also be a big factor against a young quarterback whom they sacked five times earlier this season. Combine all this with the fact that the game is in a very hostile environment at Arrowhead, and you get a recipe for a blowout.
If you still aren’t sold, we also see a considerable mismatch between the Chiefs’ passing attack and the Jaguars’ secondary. We’ve seen them get burned by good opponents all season, including once by the Chiefs. Though they won six of their last seven games now, they did so despite their secondary play.
We are happy to give up the points to roll with the Chiefs on Saturday.