The Jaguars have won each of their two season openers under head coach Doug Marrone. To keep that streak alive, all the Jaguars have to do is slow down the most high-powered scoring offense in the world.
No big deal. Right?
Let's take a look at my five keys for victory.
This will be one of the keys to the Jaguars entire 2019 season. If the Jaguars can score early, it will force teams to play from behind. What happens when teams are playing catch up? They have to throw the ball, which plays into the strength of the Jaguars' defense. It will also allow the Jags' offense to play ball-control and run down the clock. With Nick Foles' accuracy in the short parts of the field, and Leonard Fournette looking like himself again, the Jaguars should thrive in those situations. The success of John DeFilippo's game script to start the first quarter will be vital.
Capitalize off Turnovers
The Jaguars' defense played better against the Chiefs last year than you may remember. Pat Mahomes didn't throw a touchdown in the game and was actually picked off twice. The Jaguars were only able to capitalize once on those turnovers. They'll need to do more with the turnovers they get in this one if they want to starter 1-0.
Move the Chains
The Jaguars have got to be able to pick up first dows with more regularity. It'll help keep the Jaguars' defense fresh and in turn, wear down the Chiefs' defense. Far too often in 2018, the Jaguars went three and out. To beat Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs' high-flying offense, they'll need to move the ball.
It's easier said than done, especially when tempers are flaring and temperatures are high. But the Jaguars need to do a good job of avoiding penalties that give the Chiefs a new set of downs. On the offensive side of the ball, it's okay if the Jaguars get a false start or two, but avoiding holding calls and personal fouls will be vital for their success.
Flip the Field
Logan Cooke needs to come in clutch in this one. He's got a penchant for landing punts inside the opponents' 10-yard line. If he can consistently pin the Chiefs back, it'll significantly help the Jaguars odds of success in this one. Not only does Cooke need to be able to pin Mahomes and the Chiefs deep, but he also needs to avoid blunders. Several times during his rookie season in 2018, Cooke whiffed on punts. Giving the Chiefs a short field is a recipe for disaster.
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