The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost three straight games to the Kansas City Chiefs (including one in the playoffs) dating back to last year. However, the Jags find themselves above the defending Super Bowl champs in a couple of Power Rankings heading into Week 10.
Both Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Pete Prisco of CBS Sports have Jacksonville ahead of the Chiefs in their respective Power Rankings. Florio says they'll be the real deal if they can beat the San Francisco 49ers Sunday. Prisco seems to agree, noting that it will be a "proving game of sorts in terms of the national stage."
While both Florio and Prisco placed the Jags at No. 3, Eric Edholm of NFL Media ranked them fourth, bringing up their incoming schedule as the reason.
"After a 1-2 start, the Jags reeled off five straight wins in five different stadiums, handling extensive travel, injuries and a short week extremely well. Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne are having terrific seasons, Doug Pederson is coaching his tail off, and the defense leads the NFL in takeaways per game. That's the good news. But the Jaguars better have rested up during their Week 9 bye, because the schedule down the stretch is a whale. "
While Florio Prisco and Edholm may disagree on the Jaguars' spot, they have the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens as the top two teams in the NFL. Still, all of them have the Jaguars in the top 5, which goes on to show they're not going unnoticed.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will have a chance to make a statement in Week 10
The Jaguars will next face the 49ers, followed by a couple of divisional bouts against the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans. They'll then play the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Ravens.
Jacksonville already lost the Texans earlier this year and no division game is ever easy, so they cannot afford to take the Titans lightly despite the fact that they're 3-5. Also, all the AFC North teams they'll face off against are playoff caliber. The Jaguars should be aiming at going 4-2 the next six weeks. If they do, it'll prove they could make noise in the postseason. They need to take one game at a time but beating San Francisco at home would be an encouraging start.
The Niners, just like the Jaguars, are coming off their BYE week and got reinforcements for Week 10. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel's back from a shoulder fracture. Moreover, they traded for Chase Young, who'll form a disruptive pass-rush duo alongside Nick Bosa. That said, they're riding a three-game losing skid, and their offense, in particular Brock Purdy, has been exposed.
The Jaguars' defense, on the other hand, ranks in the top 10 in most meaningful categories and leads the league in takeaways. If they can slow down All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey and force Purdy into making mistakes, they'll have a shot at winning.
The offense, for their part, must do a better job of converting on third downs. Not being able to consistently move the chains has been a reason their drives stall. Currently, they have a 36.4 percent completion rate, good for 25th in the league. That's an area they'll need to fix if they want to be able to go toe-to-toe with other contenders.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have their work cut out for the second half of the season. Expecting them to go undefeated is a tad unrealistic, they must prove they can keep up in the AFC arms race. The margin for error will be slim.