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NFL Week 1 Preview: Jaguars vs. Chiefs


The Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs may have finished the 2012 season in the NFL standings cellar with matching 2-14 records, but 2013 brings a clean slate and an early match-up that guarantees one of these teams will begin the new season 1-0.

On Sunday, the Jaguars and Chiefs will look to get their respective seasons started off on the right foot as they square off against one another in Jacksonsville. The Jags will hope to end their five-game losing streak dating back to last season and build off their only preseason victory from Thursday, while the Chiefs will hope their success from two consecutive preseason wins carries over to the first game that really matters.

With Blaine Gabbert back as the starting QB and with Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon lining up at receiver again in 2013, the Jaguars are entering the season with a familiar looking team to last year, but they will have a healthy Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield as they take on a revamped Chiefs squad. Without Jones-Drew – who injured his foot – for a large chunk of 2012, the Jags ended the season ranked 30th in rushing yards.

On the other side of the field, we have the Chiefs, a team that had no problem rushing the football (5th in NFL). Instead, they had some serious issues moving down the field through the air, as they ranked dead last (32nd) in passing yards with fewer than 170 yards per game. However, the hiring of Andy Reid and the addition of former 49ers star Alex Smith could change those pitiful numbers into respectable ones this season.

Of course, any team that goes 2-14 needs a lot of fixes and both teams certainly had big leaks to plug along the offensive line. Fortunately, both clubs addressed that need for bigger, agile bodies this offseason by each scoring a top rookie lineman with the first two picks the 2013 NFL draft. Now, we’ll just have to see who helps their team more – KC’s Eric Fisher, or Jacksonville’s Luke Joeckel.

After beefing up their offensive fronts, both teams should be improved this season (it would be hard not to improve), but on paper, the Chiefs certainly look like the better team after making more notable offseason moves. That’s why it’s not surprising that the Chiefs are favored by 3.5 points, even on the road this weekend.

The Jaguars’ underdog status can also be partially attributed to the absence of Blackmon, who will miss the first four games of the season due to suspension. Couple that with the uncertainty of Jones-Drew’s ability coming off the injury, and it certainly appears that the Chiefs have a solid edge.

Take Kansas City to cover -3.5 in the win on Sunday.

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