JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars both won only two games last season but that’s where the similarities between the teams end. The Chiefs turned over virtually the entire franchise since the end of the 2013 season. They acquired a general manager, coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, a starting quarterback and 29 other new players.
Kansas City and Jacksonville are in much different places as they begin the season. The Chiefs point to their six Pro Bowl players from last season and the many changes made to their football operation. They believe they are playoff contenders.
It’s time for the Chiefs to put up. Legitimate playoff contenders don’t lose to opponents like the Jaguars, who look more like contenders to have April's top draft pick.
The pressure today is squarely on the Chiefs. Lose to the Jaguars and their goals are already severely damaged. They’ll have plenty of time to recover but how much hope can there be when they lose to one of the league’s worst teams?
With so many new parts, one key for the Chiefs is how quickly they can put everything together. The prediction here is that they will do it fast. They put in a lot of good work in the offseason, training camp and the preseason, everything aimed at winning their season-opener for only the second time since 2005.
That guarantees them nothing because they are still a team with issues. They didn’t run the ball well in the preseason and were sporadic with the passing game. Defense and special teams may have to carry the Chiefs today.
Whatever ails the Chiefs, Jacksonville is in a worse place. The Jaguars’ list of concerns begins in at precarious position, at quarterback, where Blaine Gabbert has missed a lot of practice time recently because of a hand injury.
Against most of their other opponents, it might be too much to expect the Chiefs to go on the road and bring back a victory. But not against Jacksonville.
Prediction: Chiefs 20, Jaguars 17.