NFL Preview: Kansas City Chiefs Face Tough Road Test in Jacksonville

The Kansas City Chiefs are eyeing a Week 1 victory in Jacksonville, Sunday, but could Nick Foles, Jalen Ramsey and the Jacksonville Jaguars spoil the day?

Here’s a look at three things to watch during this contest.

1) Pass Protection

With both KC and Jacksonville having plenty of defenders who can get to the quarterback, it’s important to keep an eye on how many hits Patrick Mahomes and Nick Foles take in this matchup.

Calais Campbell had 10.5 sacks last year to lead the Jags defense and Yannick Ngakoue posted 9.5 QB takedowns.

Chris Jones was outstanding and was third in the NFL in sacks with 15.5. The 25-year old also had two forced fumbles.

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2) Running games

With Kareem Hunt no longer in KC, can the Chiefs develop a consistent rushing attack to aid Mahomes?

The Chiefs ranked 16th last year in rushing with an average of about 116 yards per contest.

In two of the Chiefs’ final three losses last year, they had 60 yards or less.

Can Damien Williams be the primary ball carrier in 2019?

For the Jags, Leonard Fournette will need to show he can mature in this league, but he also needs to stay healthy in order for the Jags to make a lot of noise in the AFC.

Fournette played in only eight games last season as the Jags missed the playoffs after reaching the AFC title game the year prior.

The LSU product saw his numbers dip and averaged 3.3 yards per rush in ’18 after getting 3.6 in ’17.

Can Jacksonville set up the run effectively and allow Fournette to get some momentum?

3) Special teams

Sure we could have discussed the talented receivers on each team, but special teams have to be in line early in the season.

The Chiefs not only had some of the best weapons and best sack artists in the game last year, but their return game was 8th best in the NFL too.

Tremon Smith tallied 886 yards on kick returns last season and averaged 26.8 per return in the process for KC.

Let’s not forget Dustin Colquitt. The Chiefs punter averaged 44.9 yards per punt, including five touchbacks and seven inside the opponents 10-yard line.

Field goal kicker Harrison Butker collected six of seven field goals from the 40-49 yard range and had two 50+ yard field goals, including a 54 yarder. On top of that, he had 65 extra points.

For the Jags, they ranked 25th in the league with a mark of 20.5 kick return yards per game.

DJ Chark totaled 186 kickoff return yards in seven attempts and had a long run of 47 yards for the Jags in ’18; teammate Jaydon Mickens had six attempts for 149 yards and an average of 24.8.

Jacksonville punter Logan Cooke, who stands at 6-5, averaged 45 yards per punt and had 37 punts inside the 20 and seven touchbacks.

As every NFL fan, I’m glad football has returned and this game, in particular, should be one of the better games in the league Sunday afternoon.

Who wins the Kansas City Chiefs-Jacksonville Jaguars showdown? Leave a comment below.

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Fiuza is on Twitter @MakinItBig1.

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