The 2013 NFL season begins this Thursday with the Ravens taking the field against the Broncos, but the Jacksonville Jaguars get a few more days to prepare for their matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Despite finishing with the same record last year (2-14), the Jaguars and Chiefs have drastically different outlooks going into this season.
- The Chiefs went all-in with their current foundation by adding an experienced head coach in Andy Reid and a veteran quarterback in Alex Smith to a fairly talented 2012 roster.
- The Jaguars went in the complete opposite direction, opting instead for a rookie head coach – general manager pairing. The new front office went on to completely overhaul the roster, changing potentially 10+ starters on offense and defense and a majority of the reserve players.
Most analysts have the Chiefs competing for a playoff spot and the Jaguars competing for the first overall pick. We won’t get a good grasp on how far apart these teams actually are until they square off this Sunday, but there are plenty of interesting notes to study before then.
The Chiefs had 6 Pro Bowlers last year? What happened?
Much like the Jaguars, the Chiefs were maligned by the coupling of a lame duck head coach (Romeo Crennel) and possibly the worst quarterback situation in all of football. Having 6 Pro Bowl players doesn’t mean much if the quarterbacks lead the offense to the worst points/game (13.2) and pass yards/game (169.6) in the NFL. Alex Smith isn’t an elite quarterback, but just simple competence should catapult this team past 6 wins or so.
Why did the Chiefs choose Eric Fisher over Luke Joeckel?
Most mock drafts had the Chiefs taking Joeckel first overall up until about a week or so before the draft. In reality choosing between the two couldn’t have been too scientific – Eric Fisher provides more overall athleticism while Joeckel showed better technique and consistency against higher competition. If the Chiefs had taken Joeckel then Fisher would be a Jaguar. In all likelihood, both players are going to end up being really good and this comparison is going to be moot. On the off chance one busts, we’ll look back on this decision and wonder what might’ve been.
Initial Prognosis – Advantage Chiefs
The Jaguars are playing at home which usually bodes well for them on week 1, but Blaine Gabbert is coming into the game off a non-trivial injury without a full set of reps with the starters this preseason. The Jaguars also don’t have a dependable pass-rusher to put pressure on Alex Smith and his pretty stout offensive line. There are some interesting matchups at the skill positions, but the Chiefs have an advantage almost top to bottom.
- Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89