Jaguars-Chiefs playoff predictions from national NFL experts

Jacksonville Jaguars place kicker Riley Patterson (10) and his team celebrate his game-winning field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game, Saturday, Jan.  14, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla.  Jacksonville Jaguars won 31-30.  (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Jacksonville Jaguars place kicker Riley Patterson (10) and his team celebrate his game-winning field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville Jaguars won 31-30. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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A statistic widely shared on social media noted that the Jacksonville Jaguars have collected eight playoff victories since joining the NFL in 1995.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was born in 1995, also has eight playoff victories. On the day Mahomes was born, the Jaguars were playing their third game in franchise history.

That connection between Mahomes and Jaguars is an odd and somewhat amusing coincidence.

Mahomes will lead the Chiefs into Saturday’s AFC Divisional playoff game against the Jaguars. Who will get that ninth victory?

Here is who 45 national experts are predicting will win the game, which kicks off at 3:30 pm Saturday and will air on KSHB (Ch. 41).

A 34-24 Chiefs victory is the prediction from Bill Bender of the Sporting News. This is an excerpt from his story: “Both teams closed the regular season on five-game winning streaks. Lawrence and Travis Etienne have been difference makers, and the defense stopped the Chargers’ running game. Kansas City presents a far-more difficult challenge on the road, and Patrick Mahomes II is 8-3 in the postseason with 28 TDs and seven interceptions. … The Chiefs won the regular-season matchup 27-17. The same margin holds here in a higher-scoring game.”

All eight writers at CBS Sports have the Chiefs winning: Jason LaCanfora, Pete Prisco, Jared Dubin, Will Brinson, John Breech, Dave Richard, Ryan Wilson and Jamey Eisenberg. Prisco sees a 34-28 score. Here is part of what he wrote: “The Jags don’t rush the passer that well, which is a big advantage for Patrick Mahomes. Jacksonville did not have a sack in the first meeting. That’s always an issue against Mahomes. I do see the Jaguars scoring against a Chiefs defense that can be beaten as Trevor Lawrence plays well.”

The Chiefs are the pick for the writers at Pro Football Talk. Michael David Smith predicted a 30-21 score. He wrote in part: “The Jaguars already being in the divisional round in Year One of Doug Pederson and Year Two of Trevor Lawrence is a great sign for where this team is heading. But they’re not yet on the level of the team Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have in Kansas City.” Mike Florio sees a 30-27 final. This is part of what he wrote: “The Chiefs are on upset alert. It will not surprise me at all if the Jaguars win the game. They’re loose. They have nothing to lose. The Chiefs may be peeking past the Jaguars, with a much-hyped Bills rematch looming.”

Nine of 10 athletic writers picked the Chiefs to win: Zack Berman, Larry Holder, Michael-Shawn Dugar, Mark Kaboly, Josh Kendall, Nick Kosminder, Austin Mock, Tashan Reed and Ben Standig. The lone pick for Jacksonville came from Jay Morrison. Here is an excerpt of what Adam Gretz wrote: “The big question for the Jaguars here will be whether or not they can avoid another slow start. Jacksonville has made a habit of having bad first halves every year, posting a minus-11 first-half point differential this season, one of the worst marks in the league. They overcame that with a plus-65 mark in the second half of games, which was the fourth-best mark in the league.”

A 30-23 Chiefs win is the prediction from NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal. This is a snippet from his story: “Both have a group of weapons greater than the sum of their parts, lifted by brilliant play-callers and savvy quarterbacks who win before the snap more than they are given credit for. But let’s not get carried away with Trevor Lawrence’s development here. He’s great, but he’s not Patrick Mahomes-in-2018 great, much less Patrick Mahomes-in-’23.”

Five of seven writers picked the Jaguars in a Florida Times-Union story: Demetrius Harvey (35-31 final score), Mike DiRocco (33-31), Gene Frenette (30-27), Justin Lewis (31-27) and Tim Walters (3-34). Taking the Chiefs: Garry Smits (24-17) and Clayton Freeman (30-24). Walters wrote in part: “Football is crazy and the Chiefs are one of the few constants. Yet, there’s always one upset per weekend, and the Jaguars seem to have the momentum to be the upset special of this weekend’s four games. With that, the Jags fall behind in the first half, the defense clamps down in the second half and the Jags’ offense takes advantage of the No. 16 defense in the league to go on a run and win a crazy game by a point. I’d say it seems far-fetched if it hadn’t happened five times already this season.”

Going with the Chiefs are the six USA Today writers: Jarrett Bell (31-27 final score), Chris Bumbaca (35-27), Nate Davis (30-23), Safid Deen (37-31), Tyler Dragon (32- 24) and Lorenzo Reyes (31-26).

The five experts at ESPN all have the Chiefs winning: Stephanie Bell, Mike Clay, Dan Graziano and Seth Wickersham.

The Chiefs are the pick for the five Sports Illustrated writers: Conor Orr, Gary Grammling, John Pluym, Albert Breer and Mitch Goldich.

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