The Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes have seen the other six AFC playoff teams battle through one game already, and they are ready to take to the turf at Arrowhead on Saturday to take on the surprising Jacksonville Jaguars.
No Chiefs fan should think this is going to be easy. The Jags are hot, and they will be on an emotional high after storming back out of a 27-0 hole to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in a playoff comeback for the ages on Saturday evening. They became the first team to win a playoff game with a turnover differential of -5 or more, and their defense is playing great football. Even so, Mahomes and the Chiefs start as favorites to win this, with the prize being a date with the Cincinnati Bengals or Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship game a week from Sunday.
Patrick Mahomes Is Playoff Ready
Mahomes was excellent against the Jags back in November. The Chiefs won 27-17, with Mahomes passing for 331 yards and four touchdowns. He did throw one interception, something worth noting, as the Jag’s defense has been incredibly opportunistic over the last month or so of the season. That defense propelled Jacksonville into the playoffs with a touchdown in their Week 18 win over the Tennessee Titans, and they are playing high on confidence. Expect Andy Reid and Mahomes to have a plan to get the Chiefs on the scoreboard early, taking some of the wind out of the Jacksonville sails.
The Chiefs will largely be favored in this one because of their offensive efficiency. The advanced stats tell the same story: Mahomes and the Chiefs dominating the field in categories such as expected points added per play. To do that without Tyreek Hill was exceptional, though Hill was always a massive part of the Chiefs’ offense in post-season play, and someone will have to step up to fill that void in the first playoff game since his departure to the Miami Dolphins last offseason.
Expect Travis Kelce to be huge in this one. Much of the passing offense of late has run through running back Jerick McKinnon, which I expect to continue as he is so good out of the backfield. It is time for Kelce to take over, though, with the Chiefs’ season on the line, something he has done before.
It is also worth noting that Reid is a master of the bye week. His teams are a sensational 27-4 all-time coming off of a week off, as his preparation and ability to scheme remain unmatched in the league. Reid will put this on the shoulders of Mahomes, and the MaGoat will lead the Chiefs to another postseason win.
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