Reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs open the season with a visit to Nick Foles and the Jaguars in what promises to be an intriguing contest.
Mahomes helped the Chiefs finish 12-4 in the regular season, giving them their sixth straight winning campaign and third consecutive AFC West title. The Chiefs have made the playoffs five times in six years under Andy Reid and they have not finished worse than second in the division in the span.
The Jaguars, on the other hand, have a lot of work to do after a bad season. They were off to a 3-1 start but a seven-game losing streak pretty much sealed their fate and they finished last in the AFC South with a poor 5-11 record.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, September 8 at 1:00 PM ET
TIAA Bank Field
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by Bovada
- Chiefs -3.5 vs. Jaguars
- Over/Under: 52
Kansas City Chiefs
Last season was magical for the Chiefs, the quarterback position transitioned from Alex Smith to Mahomes and he won the league’s MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards.
Mahomes is primed for another big year following a breakout season in which he became the second player in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in the same campaign.
The Chiefs made significant offseason changes hoping they can help put them over the top in the AFC. The disappointing 37-31 loss in the AFC Championship game against the Patriots led to the firing of defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. Steve Spagnuolo replaced him and he overhauled the defense and switched their base formation from a 3-4 to a 4-3.
Defensive ends Frank Clark and Emmanuel Ogbah, safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Bashaud Breeland were all brought in to solidify the defense and if the Chiefs can improve on that side of the ball they will be nearly unstoppable.
Patrick Mahomes will also get some new weapons on offense, including rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman, rookie running back Darwin Thompson and veteran running back LeSean McCoy. The Chiefs led the league in yards per game last season and all these additions will make their offense even better.
While McCoy ran for just 514 yards and three touchdowns on 161 carries over 14 games (13 starts) last season, he will still bolster Kansas City’s depth at running back behind starter Damien Williams, rookie Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams.
The Jaguars want to make the playoffs again and it all starts with a solid defense that was one of the best in the league two years ago. Their defense showed up last season as well but their offense never got going and they will not go anywhere unless there’s a significant improvement on that unit.
Signing Nick Foles is a step in the right direction, he is big upgrade from the erratic Blake Bortles and as long as he is healthy they should be competitive every week. If Foles provides a spark to the offense and the defense does their part, there’s potential to go far in the AFC.
Jacksonville still has franchise running back Leonard Fournette and intriguing wide receivers like Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook but Foles has to bring them all together and get the best out of them.
Trends and Prediction
The Kansas City Chiefs are:
- 7-0 ATS in their last seven games in September
- 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine road games
- 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games against AFC opponents
The Jacksonville Jaguars are:
- 2-5-2 ATS in their last nine games against AFC opponents
- 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games on grass
- 1-3-1 ATS in their last five home games
- 2-8-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall
The Chiefs are clearly the better team and it will be very interesting to see their explosive offense going up against an elite Jaguars defense. Jalen Ramsey will shadow Tyreek Hill and I can’t wait for that epic matchup but even if Hill is contained, the Chiefs have just too many weapons and is hard to see the Jaguars click on offense enough to get a cover.
Picks: Chiefs -3.5
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