The staff at Black and Teal had a chance to talk with FanSided’s Arrowhead Addict ahead of the game between the Jaguars and Chiefs on Sunday.
The NFL season has begun. The Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears opened the 100th NFL season with a 10-3 win for the Packers on Thursday night. Now, it’s the Jacksonville Jaguars turn as they face the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday afternoon.
It’s nice to watch football games that matter. It’s also nice to see the Jaguars send out a new quarterback and new offensive coordinator with the hope of changing the direction of a franchise that won a division title and reached the AFC Championship in 2017 but fell into the NFL abyss last year.
The feeling is quarterback Nick Foles is the guy to put this team over the top, with what remains a very good defense. The Chiefs scored at will last season no matter which team this offense faced. It’s daunting to think Kansas City could be just as good, if not better this season.
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We had a chance to catch up with Matt Conner of Arrowhead Addict, FanSided’s NFL site for the Chiefs. He answered a few questions for us about the game and the Chiefs, in general, to give our readers more insight as to what to expect this weekend.
Here’s what he had to say.
What is the buzz in Kansas City about Tyreek Hill facing Jalen Ramsey in Week 1? Ramsey dismissed Hill last season as a real threat on offense. Do you think Hill makes more of an impact in the passing game or the return game against the Jaguars? There’s little buzz about [Tyreek] Hill facing [Jalen] Ramsey overall. Hill had 87 yards from scrimmage last time around after all the trash talk, including a 36-yard catch, and there are simply too many pass catchers on board this offense for the Chiefs to get worried about someone shutting down one in particular.
The Chiefs have a year of experience with [Patrick] Mahomes under center now and have added LeSean McCoy and Mecole Hardman to the mix while remaining healthy. Ramsey certainly presents the best sort of challenge, but any sort of one-on-one trash talk is lost in the offensive ability of this whole unit.
What are the expectations for quarterback Patrick Mahomes? Is this a “Super Bowl” or bust kind of season? Do fans believe a 5,000-yard season and 50 touchdowns are the new norm in Kansas City? Yes, anything less than a Super Bowl appearance is a total failure of a season. The Chiefs came within an offsides call (or a roughing the passer call or a coin flip) of besting the Patriots last postseason. Remember the Chiefs also looked completely lost at halftime. The game was already in the books and then Mahomes came out as a man possessed in the second half to even make it competitive again.
In terms of stats, regression is to be expected because the goal is for the defense to not allow every game to turn into a shootout. Then again, the offense has more weapons than ever before and players like Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are playing for plenty of future earnings in 2019.
What does Andy Reid have to do to win a Super Bowl? He is one of the best coaches in the game, but may go down as the “Best to Never Hold a Lombardi Trophy”. Is this finally his year? I think so. I think any year that Andy Reid is coaching Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City gives him the chance to finally win the Super Bowl, so I’m not so sure that the focus on this year alone is the main idea.
The Chiefs are now facing a wide-open Super Bowl window with the NFL’s best young quarterback at the helm. In the same way, every year is possible for the Patriots to add another title, I think the same of the Chiefs.
What are your expectations for this defense? Can it become a juggernaut to match the offense? That’s the biggest question. Any decent quarterback is going to be able to find or even help create mismatches in the secondary, but hopefully, the upgrades at safety (Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, a healthy Dan Sorensen) and the front line overall (Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Chris Jones) will be enough to cover any issues.
Most Chiefs fans are crossing their fingers for a decent defensive showing on Sunday as a sign they’ve actually turned the corner under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
What does Kansas City have to do win in Jacksonville on Sunday? Do what comes naturally, which is efficiently score points en masse. This defense is going to be a significant test, to be sure, and the first game of the season might bring out some jitters. If it takes a half to settle in and play the way they know how to play, that wouldn’t be surprising, but a loss would be nearly unthinkable at this point.
The schedule gets tougher down the stretch which tips the scales a bit and requires the Chiefs to sweep the first month or two if possible. My prediction: Chiefs 33, Jaguars 24