Chiefs have something to prove against Jaguars

By Clayton Wendler  |   Thursday, December 28, 2006  |  Comments( 0 )

Kansas City Chiefs
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When the Kansas City Chiefs pass: Trent Green's struggles continue. Against the Raiders a week ago he threw an awful fourth-quarter interception that will be forgotten only because Oakland failed to do anything with the turnover. Chiefs fans would like to see Green close out 2006 with a confidence-inspiring performance, but it's unlikely against Jacksonville's defense. The Jaguars have a pair of corners in Rashean Mathis and Brian Williams who are easily up to the challenge of shutting down KC's wide receivers.

Jacksonville's pass rush isn't as feared as Baltimore's or San Diego's, but left end Bobby McCray will probably give Chiefs right tackle John Welbourn some trouble. The one advantage the Chiefs do have is Tony Gonzalez. At times this year the Jags have been burned by tight ends, like last week, when New England's David Thomas and Daniel Graham combined for 127 yards and a touchdown. The absence of free safety Deon Grant will make defending Gonzalez even harder.


Edge: Jaguars


When the Jacksonville Jaguars pass: Arrowhead Stadium in December is a tall mountain for Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard to climb. He's passed for just 170 yards per game on the road this year and threw three interceptions in his last road contest in Tennessee. Despite his mobility, he's been sacked twice as much as Byron Leftwich, including 14 times in four road games.

Tamba Hali and Jared Allen should have no problem with Jacksonville's offensive tackles, but the Jags' wide receiving corps presents some matchup problems. The Chiefs have no one capable of covering the 6-foot-6 Matt Jones one on one, and the last time they faced receivers this large (three receivers and two tight ends, all at least 6-foot-3) was in Cleveland, where they got burned all game long.


Edge: Chiefs


When the Kansas City Chiefs run: This is where the game will likely be decided. The Chiefs have struggled to run the ball against elite rush defenses. They were shut down by Baltimore, Pittsburgh and San Diego this year. The matchup between the defensive tackles and offensive guards in this breakdown is truly a battle of titans. Marcus Stroud and John Henderson for Jacksonville against Will Shields and Brian Waters for Kansas City.


Edge: Jaguars


When the Jacksonville Jaguars run: If Fred Taylor is recovered from his hamstring injury, the one-two punch he forms with rookie Maurice Jones-Drew will really test KC's run defense. Justin Fargas found success against it last week, as did LaDainian Tomlinson the week before. The Jags have the personnel on the offensive line to maul the Chiefs inside, and as we've already noted, the size of their receivers is a factor. This might be the best running game the Chiefs will face all year.


Edge: Jaguars


Special teams: As good as Jones-Drew is on offense, he might scare the Chiefs just as much on kickoff returns. The Chiefs have a slight edge in kickers, but give the Jags the advantage with their kickoff coverage and return team.


Edge: Jaguars


Intangibles: The Chiefs haven't quit. They'll likely turn in an inspired performance in the final home game of the season. Of course, the Jaguars haven't quit either, but they're a pitiful 2-5 on the road in 2006. Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards is 1-1 lifetime against Jack Del Rio.


Edge: Chiefs


Prediction: The Chiefs will struggle on offense, but Arrowhead will simply be too much for David Garrard, who will likely make more mistakes than Trent Green. It will be interesting to watch future Hall of Famer Will Shields in what will likely be the final game of his career.


Prediction: Chiefs 16, Jaguars 10
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