Find out how to watch the Week 1 clash between the Chiefs and the Jaguars on Sunday, Sept. 8.
Patrick Mahomes more than lived up to the hype of his first full season as quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, throwing for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns to power Kansas City to a 12–4 record and an AFC West title. The 23-year-old mastered Andy Reid’s varied offensive attack–helped by a cannon disguised as his right arm–in becoming just the seventh player to reach 5,000 passing yards and third to register 50 scoring tosses. The Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping for the same kind of bounce as Nick Foles takes over under center for them when they host the Chiefs in Sunday’s regular-season opener.
Mahomes still has his three primary vertical threats in wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins and tight end Travis Kelce, but replacing running back Kareem Hunt will be a challenge. Kansas City cut Hunt late last season for lying about his involvement in two separate off-field incidents.
The Chiefs appear to be replacing Hunt’s production by committee, with Damien Williams getting the Week 1 starting role. But with the signing of veteran running back LeSean McCoy, there may be some changes to that depth chart in short fashion.
Defensively, Kansas City is going to a 4-3 formation with new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after yielding 26.3 points and 405.5 yards per game. They signed free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu and landed defensive lineman Frank Clark via trade from the Seahawks as part of their overhaul, with hopes Clark can team with Chris Jones to form a 1-2 punch up front. Jones is coming off a 15.5-sack season.
The Jaguars were unable to sustain the momentum from their surprising run to the 2017 AFC title game last season, going from 10–6 to 5–11 as the Blake Bortles era came to an end. Jacksonville addressed its quarterback situation in the offseason by signing Foles to a four-year, $88 million contract that could reach $102 million if he hits all his incentives.
In 2018, Foles directed the Eagles in the playoffs for a second straight postseason, upending Chicago in the wild-card round before their Super Bowl defense ended with a 20–14 loss at New Orleans in the divisional round. Foles has started just eight regular-season games in the last two years and has never been a starter for a full season since entering the NFL in 2012.
If running back Leonard Fournette stays healthy, Jacksonville's chances at a postseason appearance would also greatly improve. Fournette, who rushed for 1,040 yards as a rookie in 2017, was limited to eight games last season through injuries and a suspension.
The defense will be anchored by linebacker Myles Jack, who recently agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $57 million that includes $33 million guaranteed. Jack, who is in the final year of his rookie contract as a 2016 second-round pick, played all 1,024 defensive snaps for Jacksonville last season and finished second on the team with 107 tackles.
How to Watch Chiefs vs. Jaguars
Date: Sunday, Sept. 8
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Live stream: Watch the game live on fuboTV. (Local restrictions apply.) fuboTV now features NFL Redzone as well as SI TV, available on the Sports Plus package. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial.