With the Jaguars’ defense zeroed in on not letting Patrick Mahomes make the big play downfield, the Chiefs record a season-high total on the ground. Andy Reid schemes up running lanes for Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and friends, who eclipse the 189-yard rushing mark the Chiefs logged twice this season (in Week 4 and Week 15).
Stat to know: Generating pressure was one of the keys to Jacksonville’s late-season surge. The Jaguars had a 38.6% pressure rate during their five-game win streak to end the regular season, which was second best in the NFL over that span, and they sacked Justin Herbert three times in the wild-card round. But the Chiefs led the NFL in pass block win rate (74.7%), and Mahomes is No. 1 in the league in QBR (84.7) and completion percentage (77.2%) when he doesn’t face pressure.
If you had your pick of any quarterback still in the playoffs to win you one game, who would it be?
Ruiz: This is like one of those “Are you a robot?” tests, right? If I don’t answer Patrick Mahomes, I can’t proceed with this survey? Well, I was going to take him anyway.
Kapadia: Mahomes. He was the best quarterback in the NFL during the regular season. Others can match his ceiling, but Mahomes is the most consistent and trustworthy.
Solak: Mahomes. The conversation “any one quarterback to do X” always begins and ends with Mahomes. The interesting question is who I would pick after Mahomes. (Probably Allen.)
Jones: I’m not overthinking this: It’s Mahomes. (If he were playing the Bengals this week, I’d probably overthink this.)
Kelly: Gotta go with Mahomes. He’s a human cheat code.
Gayle: Mahomes. Come on. Don’t be cute.
Heifetz: I keep trying to say Mahomes, but every time I open my mouth, it comes out as “Daniel Jones.”
Chiefs vs. Jaguars: Kelce goes berserk
When the Chiefs and Jaguars played back in Week 10, Travis Kelce had a good game. He caught 6 of 7 passes thrown in his direction, totaling 81 yards and a touchdown. But as we know, Kelce is capable of much more than even that stat line. And the Jaguars struggled badly to defend tight ends this season. Jacksonville ranked 32nd (also known as last) in the NFL in DVOA on throws to tight ends, according to Football Outsiders. The Jags yielded 81 receptions for 1,066 yards and seven scores to players at the position, and we have seen their linebackers, in particular, get taken advantage of in coverage throughout the year. Even against the Chargers last week, Gerald Everett and Donal Parham combined for 10 receptions for 133 yards and a score on 13 targets. Expect Kelce to have a big day on Saturday.
30 - Kansas City Chiefs
Bryan Bresee, DT
Year: Sophomore (RS)
Teams are split on Bresee. I love the size (6-5, 305), quickness and toughness, but he has some stiffness and an injury history. The opportunity for him to learn from four-time Pro Bowler Chris Jones makes Kansas City the ideal landing spot.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Bijan Robinson RB
TEXAS • JR • 6’0” / 220 LBS
WILSON: The Chiefs go back to the well at running back with Bijan Robinson. Josh Edwards loves the pick ... if Robinson actually makes it this far. “You talk about putting that kind of talent in Andy Reid’s scheme, I mean that’s almost unfair. ... He’s the best running back prospect we’ve seen since Saquon Barkley, so you put that in Kansas City’s offense, that’s going to open up a lot of things. He’s a great pass-catcher, he’s a good [pass] blocker, he’s got it all. I don’t have any real weaknesses for him, so it’s almost unfair to see him fall to Kansas City.”
Around the NFL
Left tackle Jonah Williams and right guard Alex Cappa have been officially ruled out, leaving Cincinnati with three total reserves on the offensive line. Right tackle La’el Collins has been out since Week 16 with a torn ACL in his left knee.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said the unit’s communication and level of detail was the most encouraging thing as Cincinnati prepares for Buffalo’s loud and rowdy home-field advantage.
“I thought they did a good job,” Taylor said of the group’s synergy. “I think they are ready to go and take advantage of their opportunities.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
2. Matching up with Jaguars wide receivers
The first time these two teams matched up, the Jaguars’ offense didn’t have its most impressive day. The big plays they did have came from slot receiver Christian Kirk beating slot cornerback L’Jarius Sneed in coverage.
According to PFF, Sneed covered Kirk on four targets. Kirk turned those into 54 yards, three first downs, and two touchdowns. The shiftiness and quick change of direction was getting the best of Sneed, who covers best when he gets hands on and is physical with a receiver.
That game was only the second in the return of rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie from his Week 1 injury. In the time since, the Chiefs have trusted McDuffie more in the slot — pushing Sneed to the perimeter in those instances.
That changeup is perfect for matching up with Jacksonville. Kirk plays over 75% of his snaps in the slot, and McDuffie is a better fit for defending Kirk’s play style. It also allows Sneed to match up and potentially have the edge over solid, veteran receivers like Marvin Jones Jr. and Zay Jones.
A tweet to make you think
How the #Chiefs decide to deploy their secondary and pass rush will be instrumental to Saturday's success against the Jags. #KingdomKeys@ReceNickelz | @priceacarter | @natech32 pic.twitter.com/eL9hpgzydb— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) January 20, 2023