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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Point Spread - Pick

Kansas City Chiefs (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
Week 1 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 1PM EST
Where: TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: KC -4/JAC +4
Over/Under Total: 52

The Kansas City Chiefs come to TIAA Bank Stadium on Sunday to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, as each team kicks off its 2019 regular season. With the Chiefs and Jags, you have the past two losers of the AFC Conference title game. The Chiefs took the NFL by storm last season, riding the rocket arm of defending league MVP Patrick Mahomes. A lot of people are looking for them to do big things this season. But that was said about the Jags before last season, only to see them fall flat on their faces with a demoralizing 5-11 mark. Will the Chiefs begin part 1 of their AFC takeover or will the Jaguars serve notice at home that perhaps people shoveled dirt on them prematurely?

I think the offseason reflected well on both teams. The Chiefs were able to avoid a beating in the personnel department, as Tyreek Hill is ready to go. Losing him and Kareem Hunt in less than a course of a season would have been a rough pill to swallow. As it is, they are loaded on offense. Adding some key pieces on defense should also pay off and it's hard to deny their status as a conference favorite. Jacksonville may have gotten some answers on the quarterback front, with Nick Foles coming into the fold. Also, less injuries and some better overall fortune could possibly have them looking more like what we saw in 2017 and less of what we saw in 2018.

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We'll have to see what they have with Nick Foles. It's foolish to question his credentials after what he has accomplished. Still, when a quarterback finds sudden success in a system after struggling most of his career and then joins a new team, it doesn't always come off as well as some would have liked. Still, he brings a certain level of professionalism and consistency that should benefit this offense. But Foles doesn't quite have the support he had in Philly in terms of what is around him. The O-line could make some strides with better health and youth developing ahead of schedule, but heading into week one, it looks like one of the weakest and least-talented fronts in the conference.

Further handcuffing Foles' attempts to resurrect this franchise is a dicey group of playmakers in which he has to work. Receivers like Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, Marqise Lee, and DJ Chark (questionable) could come around, but as of now, it's an inconsistent group that is also injury-prone. It's a lot of slow-developing talent aerially for the Jags. Same in the backfield, where they're hoping Leonard Fournette can show he's a reliable back who can do some of the heavy lifting. They're really going to need their defense to chip in and help the cause like they did in 2017 with their rigidness and overall playmaking ability.

With some better overall fortune, the Jaguars' defense could potentially reclaim its greatness. They're really up against it in week one against a KC offense that was hard to stop last season. They added a potential difference-maker in the draft with LB Josh Allen. With Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, that's a lot of juice in the middle. The front still has horses with Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Marcell Dareus. At corner, Jalen Ramsey is one of the best with a lot of help around him. They should be a decent test for the Chiefs.

But let's face it—the Chiefs have a ton going for them, not the least of which is Mahomes. Taking over as a starter for the first time, he won the MVP and put this team on his young shoulders. He had a nose for victory, stunning with his skills and ability to improvise when he felt the pressure. He is innovative with both his legs and arm. He doesn't work behind the best line, a group that might be downgraded slightly from last season after losing center Mitch Morse. But if anyone can make it work, it's Mahomes.

Helping his case is some of the league's best talent around him at the skill positions. With Tyreek Hill at receiver and Travis Kelce at tight end, he has access to two of the more dangerous contributors at their respective positions. Sammy Watkins can provide a lot and maybe rookie Mecole Hardman can show some of the fire he has shown in camp. They are still looking for a gem at running back after losing Hunt, but Carlos Hyde is in the mix now, as is Damien Williams. After seeing the way they were able to run the ball last season after losing Hunt, one can almost think that it's more the system than the individual when it comes to the Chiefs' rushing game. Until we see different, I'd anticipate more fireworks from this group.

I think the KC defense caught a lot of unnecessary flack last season. While they lag behind the offense in terms of overall effectiveness, they had some shining lights and look to have added some clout. They can get after the quarterback with Chris Jones and newly-added Frank Clark. They have juice in the middle with Anthony Hitchens, Reggie Ragland, and first-year Chief Darron Lee. And maybe adding Tyrann Mathieu to the secondary can help get better from Kendall Fuller, Daniel Sorensen, and Bashaud Breeland. Again, with the offense doing their thing, they still helped the team win 12 games. They don't need to be great—just OK. Maybe when it comes down to the conference title game, they will have whipped themselves into some shape. But they're good enough to not completely hold this team back.

It's not clear how much the Chiefs 30-14 home win over the Jags last season even means at this point with all the different personnel and timing. And I don't question whether the Jaguars will see better results than their 5-win season of last year. This is a dangerous spot for Kansas City, playing in Florida when it's still hot against a defense that has a lot of playmaking ability. I just think that in a game of offense that the Chiefs are so far superior that even if Jacksonville reclaims some of its defensive prowess this season, it might not be enough. I see Mahomes and Company getting it done by a decent margin. I'm taking the Chiefs in week one.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus 4 points. Bet the Kansas City vs. Jacksonville game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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