Jaguars vs. Chiefs divisional round matchup preview and current betting lines
The Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) are fresh off their bye week as the No. 1 seed, and they will look to sweep the Jacksonville Jaguars (10-8), who are coming off the third-biggest comeback in NFL playoff history. The Jaguars turned a 27-0 deficit into a stunning 31-30 win over the Chargers despite losing the turnover battle 5-0.
But the Jaguars lost 27-17 in Kansas City back in Week 10 before the team had a bye week and went on this 7-1 run to get to this point. The Jaguars trailed 20-0 and were able to pull within 10 points thanks to three takeaways, but they could not get the ball back late in the fourth quarter as the Chiefs ran out the clock. The Jaguars did miss two field goals in the game as well.
Kansas City piled up 486 yards, almost 50 more than the Jaguars allowed in any other game this season. So, despite the takeaways that Kansas City struggles with, the Jaguars still had a hard time stopping the Chiefs from moving the ball up and down the field.
But in recent weeks, we are seeing a better Jacksonville team and one that can win games despite trailing by many points and having to come back. This is new for the franchise:
- In Jacksonville’s first 455 games, the team won one game when trailing by more than 15 points.
- In their last 10 games, the Jaguars have comeback wins of 17 (Las Vegas), 17 (Dallas), and 27 (Chargers) points.
- By losing 27-17 to the Chiefs, the Jaguars had lost 41 straight games when allowing more than 20 points. But since beating Baltimore 28-27 in Week 12, the Jaguars are 4-1 in such games.
But Trevor Lawrence got a playoff start under his belt, and after the worst start possible for the quarterback who never lost a Saturday game or thrown a first-quarter pick, he rebounded with four touchdown passes to beat the Chargers.
The Jaguars also have Doug Pederson, Andy Reid’s former assistant, and he is 6-0 ATS and 5-1 SU as an underdog in the playoffs. He knows how to embrace that role well this time of year, and he has a fighting chance to upset the Chiefs in this one.
Of course, the Chiefs still have Patrick Mahomes, who will run away with the MVP vote this year after he received 49 of the 50 votes for first-team All-Pro quarterback. The NFL divisional round odds have the Chiefs as an 8.5-point home favorite with a total of 52.5 points.
Players to watch in the Jaguars vs. Chiefs game
Christian Kirk: Jacksonville’s No. 1 wide receiver has had a very good season, and he did not disappoint against the Chargers with eight catches for 78 yards and another touchdown. He had nine catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs in Week 10, and the Chiefs have allowed plenty of great games to top wideouts this year. Look for Kirk to be a big factor again.
Kansas City Chiefs
Jerick McKinnon: How many more games in a row will Jerick McKinnon catch a touchdown pass? He has done it six games in a row despite playing almost exclusively on passing plays as Isiah Pacheco has taken over the ground attack. But McKinnon is the first running back in the modern era to catch a touchdown in six straight games, and you never know if he’ll do it on an improvised play from Mahomes or a screen.
Our Best NFL Bets for the Jaguars vs. Chiefs game
We have two NFL divisional round predictions for this Week 10 rematch between two long-time coaching buddies.
Jaguars vs. Chiefs Point Spread Pick: Jaguars +8.5 (-110)
The Jaguars vs. Chiefs spread opened with the Chiefs as an 8.5-point home favorite and it has remained consistent.
For Trevor Lawrence, the ball is coming out fast all year as he ranked fourth with an average 2.59 seconds time to throw according to Next Gen Stats. In Week 10, he was even faster at 2.29 seconds, but the Chiefs still sacked him five times that day as they finished second with 55 sacks and one of the best pressure rates this year.
The average pass against Kansas City’s defense travels 7.0 yards, the fifth-shortest distance in the league this year. Lawrence was at 7.2 yards in Week 10, a game where he was not great, but he did have two touchdown passes and no turnovers. But when Lawrence is under 7.2 average depth of throw this year, the Jaguars are 7-2 compared to 3-6 when he is above 7.2 yards.
Jacksonville can succeed with a quick-passing game in this matchup, but it will need much more out of the run game this time. The Jaguars only got 11 carries for 45 yards out of Travis Etienne, who came in hot with 100 yards in each of his previous three games. Etienne is coming off a 109-yard game against the Chargers, including his crucial run on fourth down to put the Jaguars in game-winning field goal range.
But the Jaguars are 3-0 when they rush for under 70 yards this year, so that is good versatility for winning games. It’s just that the Chiefs are so hard to keep down for 60 minutes. Kansas City is the ninth team since 1978 to have a fourth-quarter or overtime lead in every game in the regular season. The Chiefs have had at least a fourth-quarter tie in 30 straight games going back to last year.
But the Chiefs are just 6-10-1 ATS. They have needed late comebacks against the Broncos and Texans (overtime even). They needed a 17-point comeback at home against the Raiders in a 30-29 win.
The Jaguars have only lost two games by more than 8 points this season. With the way the Chiefs often give up an obligatory fumble, Harrison Butker leaving points on the field in the kicking game, and Pederson’s usual underdog success in big games, this feels like another case of where Chiefs moneyline, but the opponent covers is the right bet. It worked seven times in the regular season for the Chiefs.
Maybe the Jaguars party like it’s 1996 again and they pull off their biggest upset in the divisional round since they beat John Elway and the Broncos. That team also went from 3-6 to 9-7 to a couple of playoff upsets before losing in the AFC Championship Game.
Win or lose, this has been a successful season for the Jaguars. For the Chiefs, a loss here would be a massive disappointment. But that is unlikely to happen with Mahomes at home against a below-average defense.
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Team First Half Total: Chiefs Over 16.5 Points (-110)
The Chiefs may not always close playoff games well, but they usually know how to start a run with a great first half. Here is the scoring total in the first half of the first playoff game for the Chiefs since 2017:
- 2017 vs. Titans: 21 points
- 2018 vs. Colts: 24 points
- 2019 vs. Texans: 28 points
- 2020 vs. Browns: 19 points
- 2021 vs. Steelers: 21 points
What did the Chiefs score in the first half in Week 10 against Jacksonville? Another 20 points. When this team is on, they are hard to stop. The second half can always be a different story, and the Jaguars have been a second-half team in this season.
But even the Jaguars should look to start this game better than last week, which should only spur the Chiefs on to put up a good score in the first 30 minutes.
Jacksonville has played five games this season against teams that were top 12 in scoring points. Here is how many points they allowed in the first half of those games:
- Week 4 vs. Eagles: 20 points
- Week 9 vs. Raiders: 20 points
- Week 10 vs. Chiefs: 20 points
- Week 13 vs. Lions: 23 points
- Week 15 vs. Cowboys: 21 points
This matchup is not just any top 12 offense. Now we are talking about Mahomes in Arrowhead and the No. 1 offense in the league. It would be a disappointment if the Chiefs did not hit 17 points early.bet on nfl with fanduel >
Frequently asked questions about the Jaguars vs. Chiefs game in the divisional round
The game is being played at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Since 2013 with Andy Reid at head coach, the Chiefs are 9-7 SU and 8-8 ATS in the playoffs.
As an underdog in the playoffs, Doug Pederson is 6-0 ATS and 5-1 SU. All but one of those games was with the 2017-18 Eagles. Pederson is 0-2 ATS and SU against Reid’s Chiefs.