Chiefs Host Jags, Jags Sign QBsOctober 21st, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
Every now and then you see a team tempt fate with only two quarterbacks on their roster. This decision may come back to haunt the Jaguars this week. After suffering injuries to both of their quarterbacks Monday night against the Titans, Jacksonville went out and signed quarterbacks Todd Bouman and Patrick Ramsey this week. Starting quarterback David Garrard suffered a concussion, and backup Trent Edwards a thumb injury on his passing hand. Neither practiced on Wednesday. Teams are very careful with concussions, so I find it unlikely that Garrard will play. Hard to tell with Edwards, who was picked up only weeks ago after getting cut from the Bills, and still only knows part of the playbook.
Jacksonville is Struggling
Even before the injuries to Garrard and Edwards, the Jaguars have been struggling offensively. Their offense is ranked #25 in yards per game, and they’re #23 in points per game. Statistically they’re a bit like the Chiefs. They run the ball well (Jaguars #6, Chiefs #1) and find it difficult in the passing game (Jaguars #26, Chiefs #27). Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (described by coach Haley as a “rolling ball of butcher knives”) is one of my favorite players in the league, but I’m a little surprised that he’s only averaging 77.2 yards per game (#13 in the league) and 3.9 yards per carry.
Since the Jags are 3-3, you would assume that their defense must be playing well since their offense appears mediocre at best. But they’re not. They’re ranked #27 in the league in total defense, and are among the worst three teams in the league in points per game.
How are the Jaguars 3-3? You wouldn’t know it by looking at the numbers.
How the Chiefs Will Stop the Jaguars
The mark of a good running game is when the opposing team knows you’re going to run the ball, and you still cram it down their throats. The Chiefs are the best running team in the league. They run the ball effectively with both Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, and do so in a variety of ways. We’ve seen flashes of an effective passing game from Kansas City against the 49ers and the Texans. I’m expecting to see the Chiefs have some success throwing the ball against the Jaguars as well.
The Chiefs defense was exposed against the Texans last week, giving up four touchdowns on Houston’s last four possessions. But the Texans may have the most explosive offense in the league when you consider their ability to pass AND run the ball. They’re the most two-dimensional offense I’ve seen this year. Houston is going to exploit defensive deficiencies. And the Chiefs still have some defensive deficiencies.
So why has the Chiefs defense played well this year other than the last quarter against Houston? Because they do a great job of shutting down a one-dimensional team. Against the Browns and the 49ers, the Chiefs shut down the running game and dared their opponents to pass. Against the Colts, the Chiefs showed little concern for their running game, and played effectively against Manning and his receivers. The Chiefs are becoming a good defense, but they’re not a great defense yet. The good news is that they’re facing a one-dimensional offense this week who will likely be playing without their starting quarterback.
But you want to know what I want to see this week? Anger. The Chiefs let the Houston game slip between their fingers. They were up by 10 but failed to stop the Texans when it mattered the most. Jacksonville is like a wounded dog. I want to see the Chiefs show up with the attitude that they want to punish the Jaguars after losing to the Texans last week. I want to see the Chiefs close the door on the Jags early and often. And not just close the door, but slam it shut. They can do it. Some of that Arrowhead magic is returning to Kansas City. The Chiefs defense is playing better. They’re running the ball and controlling the clock. The Chiefs need to show that they’re not happy with their 3-2 record. Good teams get mad when they lose. And I think the Chiefs are becoming a good team. They need to kick the wounded dog while it’s down, not let it bite.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Jaguars 9