Jaguars vs. Chiefs: Updated Odds, Stat Predictions for 2023 AFC Divisional Game
To escape the AFC divisional round, the Jacksonville Jaguars had to climb out of a 27-0 hole keyed by four first-half interceptions by Trevor Lawrence.
One could argue this weekend's challenge facing Lawrence and the Jags looks even more daunting.
In order to extend this run, Jacksonville must do something no team has ever done: knock Patrick Mahomes out of the divisional round.
Since making Mahomes the full-time starting quarterback in 2018, the Chiefs are a perfect 4-0 in this round. They've also only lost two postseason games on their home field with Mahomes at the helm.
That doesn't mean the Jaguars are hopeless here, but there are reasons oddsmakers feel they're the weekend's biggest underdog.
What: No. 4 Jaguars at No. 1 Chiefs
When: Saturday, Jan. 21 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Point spread: Chiefs -8.5
Moneyline: Chiefs -450; Jaguars +360
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Jaguars Prediction: Trevor Lawrence Throws 2 More TDs Than INTs
Last weekend, Lawrence had an identical number of interceptions and touchdown passes, managing four of each.
Don't look for history to repeat itself.
That isn't a knock on Kansas City's pass defense, though takeaways aren't its strong suit (11 interceptions, tied for 21st). Rather, it's a testament to the ball control Lawrence displayed all season before falling into that first-half funk.
Prior to wild-card weekend, he hadn't thrown more than two interceptions in a game this season. He only had a pair of two-pick games, and both came back in October.
Down the stretch, his passes almost never landed with the opposition. In his final nine outings of the regular season, he threw a total of two interceptions with 15 touchdown passes.
Expect the sophomore signal-caller to look more like himself in Kansas City, a place where he managed two touchdown throws and no picks when these teams locked horns in Week 10.
Chiefs Prediction: Travis Kelce Has 10+ Receptions, at Least 1 Score
If you find yourself dabbling in daily-fantasy action on Saturday, go ahead and pony up for whatever it takes to get Travis Kelce on your roster.
There is almost no chance he'll let you down.
He might be this league's lone dud-free option at tight end. His 110 receptions and 12 touchdown catches were both career-highs, while his 1,338 receiving yards were the second-most he's ever posted.
This prediction isn't solely about him, though. Jacksonville's defense, particularly its linebackers, has struggled to contain tight ends all season.
The Jags allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to the position, per Yahoo. They just watched Los Angeles Chargers tight ends Gerald Everett, Donald Parham Jr. and Tre' McKitty turn a combined 15 targets into 12 receptions for 148 yards and a score.
In Week 10, Kelce caught six of his seven targets for 81 yards and a score against this very defense. Fellow Chiefs tight end Noah Gray added a touchdown catch in that win.