Coming off of the third-largest comeback in playoff history the Jags are heading to Arrowhead.
Like many of the matchups for the postseason, this will be a regular-season rematch. In the previous matchup, one of the storylines was the amount of pressure the Chiefs were able to put on Trevor Lawrence. The Chief was able to get to Lawrence five times. Like many of the multi-sack games, the Chiefs got production from multiple guys. This time around it was from Willie Gay, Carlos Dunlap, Chris Jones, Khalen Saunder, and Leo Chenal.
The manufactured pressure from positions, other than the defensive line, is going to be a key for the Chiefs to win this game because Lawrence is a much worse QB when under pressure. Pro Football Focus has Lawrence as one of the worst quarterbacks when he is under pressure. He has the fifth-worst passer rating in the league.
Part of the draw and why L’Jarius Sneed has become a fan favorite is that Sneed has made multiple big plays from the slot corner position, this includes him blitzing. Leo Chenal, Willie Gay, and Nick Bolton have all been used to blitz up the middle. The Chiefs will benefit from the diverse and unique blitzing game from defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
During its last matchup, George Karlaftis had not started his rise to get sacks but we did see the beginning of what was to come. Karlaftis had two batted passes from the line of scrimmage.
Kansas City will be looking to create miss matches in order to move the ball down the field and that starts with Travis Kelce. The Jaguars have struggled to cover tight ends throughout the year. This includes the last matchup the Chiefs had against the Jags. Kelce had six receptions, 81 yards, and a touchdown.
Kelce has a history of dominating in the playoffs. His statistics put him in a small group of players that have peaked in the playoffs.
Kelce has 1,291 receiving yards in the playoffs which puts him fifth all-time. This includes wide receivers on the list making it that more impressive. He is behind players like Jerry Rice, Julian Edelman, Michael Irvin, and Rob Gronkowski. He is only 152 yards to jump all the way into the number two spot only behind Jerry Rice. With 12 touchdowns he is in third place all-time and is also third place in playoff receptions.
One of the ways that Jacksonville was able to keep the first game close was the Chiefs had multiple giveaways. Isaiah Pacheco and Jody Fortson both lost fumbles. Patrick Mahomes threw an interception that slowed down an offense that never hit a bump in the road.
Despite the turnovers, the Chiefs maintained control of the game for multiple quarters. Mahomes threw four touchdowns and 331 yards without any of his receivers breaking the 100 yards mark. All four of his touchdowns went to different receivers.
This time around the Chiefs will have a healthier wide receiver core. JuJu Smith-Schuster was knocked out of the game with a hit to the head. He would be diagnosed with a concussion and would miss multiple games. Kadarius Toney was not fully healthy in the first matchup either.
The Chiefs’ run game should be more effective this time around. This was Pacheco’s first game as the lead back. His 16 carriers for 82 yards was more than the rest of the team combined. Before this game, other running backs were taking away carriers from him.
If the Chiefs are able to win this game Andy Reid would tie Tom Landry with 20 playoff wins.
A win on Saturday would put the Chiefs in their fifth straight AFC Championship game.