The Jacksonville Jaguars will travel over 1,000 miles to the loudest NFL stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. The AFC Divisional round game will be a rematch of Week 10, where the chiefs won 27-17 against a very different Jags team.
As we sit two days out from the Chiefs returning to action, the team was open to sharing how they felt coming out of the bye week.
“Obviously the environment and the atmosphere we’re going to play in is one of, if not the best in the NFL,” Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “I mean, I can’t imagine it would be much louder than our fans were here on Saturday.”
The second year quarterback doesn’t seem fazed in his return to Kansas City. The last time the teams met, Lawrence threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Lawrence also had a touchdown called back after a penalty.
Despite a fairly decent performance from the Jags leader, Kansas City knows the power of Chiefs Kingdom.
“The intensity is crazy, man,” defensive lineman Chris Jones said. “It’s something that can’t be explained. You actually have to feel it, you actually have to be there and see their level of the game. But it’s also a pleasure to be in this because you can take these moments for granted.”
Defensive end Frank Clark (groin) was upgraded to a full participant and is good to go against the Jaguars. Wide receiver Mecole Hardman has been ruled out with a pelvis injury, but head coach Andy Reid is proud of Hardman’s commitment to get back on the field.
“The only person that didn’t practice was Mecole. We backed off him just to see if we couldn’t get him back going this weekend,” Reid said. “He’ll most likely be listed as out going forward, but it’s not for lack of effort, it’s just the injury.”
Luckily for the offense, they still have Patrick Mahomes leading the way. In the last meet, Mahomes threw for 331 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Of course, Mahomes has pulled off some magical throws in his career, but knows he’ll have to be on point come playoff football.
“The speed picks up, every play matters,” Mahomes said. “In the regular season, you feel like that, but you might try a little bit more because you know that you can make a mistake and maybe come back from it. But in the playoffs, every every single play matters, mistake or positive.”
Tight end Travis Kelce, who caught a touchdown against the Jaguars in their last matchup, hasn’t found the endzone in six straight games. That might be a worry to some, but for offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, it’s minimal.
“Making sure that he (Mahomes) can find other guys who are open, who’s not being doubled,” Bieniemy said. “But on top of that, Kelce, you know, he’s a little slick. He understands the game. I’m pretty sure he’ll have a few wrinkles up his sleeve.”
We’ve seen young players like Isiah Pacheco, George Karlaftis and more make a huge impact throughout the team. With some players experiencing their first playoff game, this is a chance to show out in this biggest game of the year.
“The game speeds up, the level of intensity, the level of discipline,” Jones said. “You have to make sure you minimize error and maximize potential. So I think we beat the young guys up over the week to understand what type of level of play we need from them and the expectation playing in playoff football.”
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