coleryan Posts:19021 Followers:23
On 09/01/2013 04:59 PM in NFL

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars: Preview and Pick

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars: Preview and Pick

The start of the NFL season is a chance for all teams and their fan bases to have high hopes again. This is the case for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars as they play one another in week one of the 2013 season. Both of these teams are off horrible seasons, but hope to change things around this season with a big year.

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars Odds

Despite how poorly the Chiefs played a year ago, there is no team (maybe the Raiders) that have a worst outlook than the Jaguars. With that being said, it is no surprise that the Chiefs opened up as (-2.5) point favorites over the Jags. What is a little surprising is that the number has been boosted up to (-4) at several offshore sportsbooks with the public fading the Jags and pushing this number over the key number of three.

Will the Jags have enough talent to stun Kansas City in the first game of the season? That may be asking too much. They do have one of the best running backs in the league in Maurice Jones-Drew but they are still very one dimensional. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert suffered a thumb injury in the preseason but he was still named the starter. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon will miss this game due to a suspension and that could hurt this offense.

The Chiefs have plenty of new pieces that they will see on display for week one. Head coach Andy Reid brings his unique coaching style to Kansas City along with quarterback Alex Smith. Reid was booted out of Philadelphia and Smith was passed over in San Francisco which could make them the perfect duo to revive the football program in Kansas City.

The football betting trends for this game are a bit surprising. The Jags start the season off on the right foot as evidenced by the fact that the Jaguars are 12-2 against the spread (ATS) in their last 14 games in Week 1.The Chiefs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in Week 1, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games, and 0-4 ATS in the last four games overall.

It may be asking a lot to have the Jaguars complete a full turnaround in one season, but they are starting to build with the right pieces. The Chiefs on the other hand have the pieces, they just need to keep the turnovers to a minimum and protect the football better than they did last year.

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:19021 Followers:23
09/02/2013 02:34 PM

The Chiefs are 3 1/2 point favorites in the game, and are trying to usher in a new era in the franchises history. New quarterback Alex Smith, will be making his first start for the Chiefs, hoping to get the offense going early.

The game will be a battle of new head coaches as well. Andy Reid and Gus Bradley are both making their debuts for their respective teams, and both want to get off to a great start.

A key spot to keep an eye on will be the blocking duel of number one overall pick, Eric Fisher, and the player who immediately followed him at number two, Luke Joeckel.

Fisher is playing right tackle in his first season, and Joeckel is set to start at left, protecting quarterback Blaine Gabbert‘s blind side. Joeckel has had a good preseason and the Jags view him as an area of strength on their roster already. He will be tested early and often in the first start of his career. Chiefs linebacker, Justin Houston, is poised to have a career year, and Tamba Hali is still a premier pass rusher in the league. Could be a long day for the rookie.

Jags QB, Blaine Gabbert has missed most of the preseason with a hairline fracture on his right thumb, which is on his throwing hand. Setting whatever pain aside, Gabbert is listed to start at quarterback and may come out a bit rusty. Chad Henne is his backup and could possibly see time if Gabbert is still having issues with his thumb.

The Jags wide receiving group won’t be at full strength this Sunday either. Former Oklahoma State wide reciever Justin Blackmon, has been suspended the first 4 games of the regular season for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. Blackmon was the Jags leading receiver in receptions last season with 64 for 865 yards and 5 touchdowns. Wide receiver Cecil Shorts, and tight end Marcedes Lewis are the other two receiving threats for the Jags. The Chiefs, on paper, match up well against the Jags receivers, especially without Blackmon. His presence will certainly be missed for Jacksonville.

Nicknamed pocket Hercules, Maurice Jones-Drew (MJD) is coming off Lisfranc surgery in his foot and hasn’t been satisfied with how his health has been progressing. MJD is entering the final year of his contract, and the lack of satisfaction may be stemming from his worries about how productive he can be while trying to recover from his surgery. Lack of production could equal the lack of dollars for MJD.

The Jags other running backs are Justin Forsett and Jordan Todman. Forsett has been limited with a toe and Todman has played well when given the opportunity this preseason. MJD is expected to make the start Sunday, but it’s hard to say how effective he will be. Either way, the Chiefs need to be prepared for him. He is a dynamic player when healthy, and the Chiefs need to make sure he doesn’t take control of the game.

The Jaguars drafted former Michigan quarterback, Denard Robinson, this past April and Gus Bradley seems to have many plans for him in their offense. Robinson has lined up at receiver, running back and quarterback in wildcat-type formations. With the suspension of Blackmon, Robinson will likely be on the field quite a bit this Sunday, and the Jags will find ways to get the ball in his hands. It will be interesting to see how the Jags do use him, and how the Chiefs plan to match up against him.

The Chiefs offensive line will be dealing with an average front seven in Jacksonville. Tyson Alualu and Jason Babin anchor down the defensive front, and the Chiefs should have opportunities to drive them off the ball and protect Alex Smith. Alalu has been a solid starter the last few years, but hasn’t had much success with getting after the passer. He had a team best 3.5 sacks last season, which is great news for tackles, Branden Albert and Eric Fisher. Jacksonville really struggled to get after the passer as an entire defense, only finishing with 20 sacks last season. It’s important for the Chiefs to give Alex Smith a clean pocket to throw from and they shouldn’t have much trouble.

One player who will make an impact for the Jaguars is linebacker Paul Posluszny. Posluszny has been a tackling machine his entire career, making at least 100 tackles six out of his seven years in the league. Last season he finished with 139 tackles, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. He will be all over the field on Sunday, and it will be important for the Chiefs to keep a body on him. If Posluszny is able to run free, it could be a tough day for Jamaal Charles and the rest of the rushing attack.

The future might be bright for the Jaguars, but they are likely facing another tough season. Jacksonville is set to lean on a recovering MJD and an underachieving first round quarterback. Unless a switch can go off for Gabbert and the rest of their offense, defenses will stack eight in the box and force Gabbert to beat them over the top. Without Blackmon, the Chiefs shouldn’t have much trouble defending Gabbert’s deep ball. That is a match up that should favor the Chiefs.

Andy Reid and the Chiefs need to get off to a fast start and Jacksonville should be the perfect opponent for them to do just that. The Chiefs, on paper, outmatch the Jags in talent and coaching. If they want to have a shot at the playoffs this year, games like this need to be won.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:19021 Followers:23
09/03/2013 03:57 PM

Answering questions about the Kansas City Chiefs.

1. Who is the easiest player on the roster to root for?
Tamba Hali was taken by the Chiefs in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, and was a high selection primarily because of his incredible work ethic and motor. Others in the NFL might have more natural talent, but his perfected technique and relentless drive make him one of the NFL's best. The Chiefs have only had two winning seasons in Hali's seven years in the league, so it'd be nice to give him some finer moments on the backside of his career arc.

2. If you could buy a ticket to just one game this year...
Week 13 vs. the Denver Broncos. So many amazing things about this game, from the storied rivalry to the scene at Arrowhead Stadium. With the Raiders and Chargers looking rather pitiful, the Chiefs have a solid path to second place in the division, and the team's two divisional contests vs. Peyton Manning and company will have the greatest impact on the Chiefs' ultimate success in 2013.

3. Which notable players were released during roster cut downs?
The Chiefs churned over the bottom portion of the roster more than most teams, and John Dorsey has largely cleaned house after last year's 2-14 team. That much is understandable, but it was interesting that the Chiefs gave up on Tony Moeaki. When healthy, he's a well-rounded tight end who'd be an asset for any team in the NFL. Still given his health concerns, many fans weren't surprised at the move.

4. Which second year player is going to make the biggest leap?
The young Chiefs roster need several to make the leap, but Dontari Poe is most likely to make a major step forward. He was drafted at No. 11 overall last year for his high ceiling, and few linemen have his blend of size and athleticism. With a full year of experience under his belt, expect Poe to make the leap into the conversation of upper-tier NFL defensive tackles.


5. What are the odds of the head coach getting fired?
Zero. Andy Reid was a major get for owner Clark Hunt. Even if the Chiefs finish in the cellar once again in the AFC West, it would be at least two more seasons before any talk of a hot seat would develop for Reid.

6. What franchise or NFL records could be broken this season?
Jamaal Charles is a threat to break any offensive record -- both for the franchise and the NFL. He could easily improve on last year's numbers and could jump Christian Okoye and move into third place on the Chiefs all-time rushing list (behind Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes). With a monster season he could set the Chiefs new franchise record. Dwayne Bowe should also jump into No. 3 on the Chiefs all-time receiving yards list behind Tony Gonzalez and Otis Taylor. It will take a couple more seasons for guys like Hali or Derrick Johnson to climb higher on the sacks and tackles lists, respectively.


7. Which rookies will see regular playing time this year?
Knile Davis is clearly making plays as a returner for the Chiefs in the preseason, and he'll spell Charles in the backfield. Eric Fisher will start from day one on the right side. With Moeaki out of the picture, Travis Kelce stands a good chance of reps at tight end.

On the defense, both Nico Johnson and possibly even Sanders Commings stand a good chance of earning regular playing by season's end. Both have dealt with injuries to one degree or another this preseason, but the Chiefs have needs at inside linebacker and safety. Commings has yet to play with a broken collarbone. Dorsey has to hope that one or both turn into a long-term answer.

8. Predict the order of finish in the AFC West.
1. Denver Broncos
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. San Diego Chargers
4. Oakland Raiders.

9. What do you expect your season-end record will be?
9-7. The Chiefs got better at the two biggest problem areas from last year -- quarterback and head coach. An improved defense with two solid pass rushers and two good cover corners, along with an easy schedule -- Raiders twice! -- means the Chiefs are going to be competitive late into the season.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:19021 Followers:23
09/04/2013 03:52 PM

Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs were in a tough battle for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft — a battle the Chiefs won by tiebreaker. Kansas City’s terrible team was a far more repairable situation, and they were immensely more aggressive trying to fix their problems than the Jaguars.

Outside of the draft and a new coaching staff headed by Gus Bradley, the Jags have done next to nothing to cure what ailed them in 2012. This season will likely see them in another climb to the top of the draft board.

While the Jaguars have a much less talented roster than KC, they do have a couple of advantages in this game. First, they’re at home. Jacksonville isn’t exactly known for their hostile environment, but at least they don’t have to deal with a Kansas City fan base that is dying for something to cheer for.

The second advantage is they know who they are. The Jags have basically the same core group of players they have had for the past couple of seasons, whereas the Chiefs have replaced over half of their roster, including eight starters. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses and the better chemistry could work to Jacksonville’s benefit in this game.

Depending on where you look, the Chiefs are about 3.5-point favorites in this game. There are few other places where KC would be able to start the season as favorites on the road, but this spread makes sense.

There are a lot of uncertainties with the new-look Chiefs, and where Kansas City has questions, the Jags have answers. The problem is most of Jacksonville’s answers are pretty bad. The Chiefs are a much more talented team with a lot of potential.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:19021 Followers:23
09/05/2013 02:53 PM

Quarterback Alex Smith has repeatedly stated the same goal for the 2013 season ever since he stepped onto the Chiefs’ practice field last spring. 1-0.

Smith knows the value of playing well and winning the season opener, especially when a team hires a new coach and brings in a new system as the Chiefs did. A win in Sunday’s season opener at Jacksonville will be the first step in validating the changes that were made, starting with the trade with San Francisco for Smith.

“You love to get off to a great start, 1-0,” Smith said. “It’s 100 percent different than a 0-1 and the feeling … especially with this team and a lot of new faces and coaching staff coming together, would reinforce everything you’ve been doing.”

Smith speaks from experience. In 2011, when Smith was with the 49ers, Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach and brought a new scheme and staff.

Smith was efficient if not flashy in the season opener against Seattle. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 124 yards in a 33-17 victory that triggered a 9-1 start. The 49ers would go 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game.

In last season’s season opener, Smith performed brilliantly at Green Bay. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 30-26 win over the Packers. Smith would lead San Francisco to a 6-2 start before he missed a game with a concussion and lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick for the Super Bowl runner-up 49ers.

“It’s tough to compare different situations,” Smith said. “For me, it’s going to be about getting a win. Obviously playing good football, playing smart football at the quarterback position. That helps put your team in position to win games. Anything it takes to win.

“Hopefully we put up a lot of points. The great thing is I think we can do it in a lot of different ways. I’d say that might be our biggest strength. We aren’t limited to anything we can or can’t do. … We’re ready for this next step of real games”

In three preseason games, Smith completed 31 of 48 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. His long pass play was a 30-yard catch-and-run to Dwayne Bowe, but the Chiefs are just itching to see him throw it downfield when the games count for real.

“That’s big right there, because earlier in my career, I haven’t really been a part of a big over-the-top passing game,” said running back Jamaal Charles. “It’s always throw the ball to Jamaal or hand the ball off to Jamaal. We got Donnie Avery, he’s a speed guy, and that’s big, that these guys can run and help Dwayne Bowe and just run straight go (routes).

“It’s not like he’s coming in and he doesn’t have anybody to throw it to. Where he had (Michael) Crabtree last year … he had Frank Gore in the backfield … he has weapons around him that make him look good. That’s probably what made him come here because he has great weapons like he had in San Francisco. … You’ve got to put good players around a good quarterback.”

Smith also has brought a leadership quality at quarterback that hasn’t been seen in Kansas City since Trent Green last played for the Chiefs in 2006.

“He gets us going,” said guard Jeff Allen. “Early on in preseason, in that game against the Steelers, when we were down 10-0, he kept his composure, he came to the sideline, he didn’t panic. First thing he said to us was ‘It’s all right, man. It’s a long game, we’re going to get things going.’ “Two straight drives, we got two scores, a field goal, and we got a touchdown to go in at half and that changes the momentum.”

Smith’s track record at San Francisco carries a lot of weight in the Chiefs’ locker room. “When you see a guy who is accomplished and has won a lot of football games, he’s been to the conference championship, he’s won his division, so he’s a proven winner,” Allen said. “You can’t do anything but respect a proven winner and follow a guy like that.”

Smith also has won over the Chiefs’ defensive players, who went against him every day in training camp. In fact, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson said it wasn’t much fun playing against Smith because he rarely made mistakes.

“When we’re going against him in practice, he doesn’t throw a lot of picks,” Johnson said. “You want him to throw the ball at you at times. When you know the routes, what’s coming to us on defense, you jump certain things … but he’ll hold it a little longer, or he’ll take off running … he’s a guy who poses some problems for the defensive side.”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:19021 Followers:23
09/06/2013 02:25 PM

The issue of whether the Chiefs made the right decision in choosing one offensive tackle, Eric Fisher, over another, Luke Joeckel, won’t be settled Sunday when Fisher’s team, the Chiefs, plays against Joeckel’s, the Jaguars. But the fact that the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the April draft will be on display in the same regular-season opener provides a handy occasion to look back at the reason the Chiefs picked Fisher instead of Joeckel.

There was no magical moment that vaulted Fisher over Joeckel in the minds of Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid. After their exhaustive research, they simply believed Fisher had a better chance of becoming a great player. “I thought Eric Fisher (would help) the Kansas City Chiefs more than Luke (would),’’ Dorsey said.

The young NFL careers of both players have run roughly the same course. Each is playing right tackle and missed some time in camp because of injury. It might not be a surprise if the careers continue to parallel one another.

There seems to be little that separates them. “Both of them are very good players,’’ Reid said. “They’re both going to have long careers and a lot success in this league . ... I think (Joeckel) is a heck of a football player and I think he’s done well in the preseason so I know he’s going to have a great career.”

Had the draft order been reversed, with Jacksonville picking first and the Chiefs second, Joeckel and Fisher would have wound up with the same teams. Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said the Jaguars had Joeckel as the top-rated player on their draft board and Fisher No. 2.

Another sign, perhaps, that there’s little to choose from between the two. “If Fisher had fallen to us, believe me, we would have been excited, too,’’ Bradley said. “We just felt like Luke, in talking to him and his play on tape and just the conversations we had with him, we had him rated higher but it wasn’t a significant difference."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:19021 Followers:23
09/08/2013 08:29 AM

PICK

UPSET ALERT: The Chiefs were bad last year and although they have a new coach and a new QB it still has to come together on the field. Gabbert looked good enough in the preseason and MJD is finally healthy. The Jaguars are 12-2 against the spread (ATS) in their last 14 games in Week 1 and will play a good game to start the season.

Jags +4

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0