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The Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars traveled two different paths to reach duplicate 2-14 records last season.
A stagnant passing offense combined with a strong running game did little to score points for this team.
A solid defense combined with five team representatives from the Pro Bowl remain a mystery as to why the Chiefs were so poor last season.
The Jaguars was engulfed in misdirection from the start of the season. A coach in way over his head combined with injuries to a makeshift offensive line, the starting quarterback and star running back was enough to wave the white flag early and often on this franchise.
So with the two worst teams in the NFL by record meeting in the first game of the 2013 season, what can fans expect? Is Blaine Gabbert’s broken thumb healed? Can Maurice Jones-Drew get over the injury that required surgery and rehab in the offseason? Does Alex Smith hold the key to the Chiefs' possible playoff appearance? And what about Andy Reid and Gus Bradley as two new head coaches who are taking over franchises that need a real boost?
It looks like the Chiefs may be moving in the right direction. The Jaguars on the other hand, may need some time to grow into their position.
I guess all that is left is the playing of the pigskin. Here are some bold predictions for Sunday’s game.
The Jaguars double up the Chiefs
Whoa! Coming out of the gate strong. I am predicting a 26-13 win for the Jaguars. I liked what I saw from Blaine Gabbert against the Jets and know he was working hard in practice and camp before fracturing his thumb. What can he do in the regular season.
I think this is a new season of redemption for this offense under Jedd Fisch. Gabbert seemed more comfortable and was able to do more things athletically than he has in the past. The Jaguars scored 23 points in their opening game last season and lost to Minnesota. This year, they score 26 and win.
Jamaal Charles runs wild.
The Chiefs may not score many points, but that does not mean Charles is not a force in this contest.
This is year two of Charles’ recovery from knee surgery. While he was pretty good last season, this is the season he will be looked at to determine if his knee is 100 percent and whether 2,000 yards is a possibility.
While the Jaguars' front four is better than last season, can this team step up and stop of the great runners in the game? If Roy Miller and Sen’Derrick Marks are as good as they say they are, then this is not an issue. If it is, then 150 yards or more is a strong possibility for this back.
Secondary is first rate
During the offseason, Chiefs receiver Dwyane Bowe said he would lead the league in receiving.
What was he thinking? Alex Smith is a game manager and a player who will move the ball in bits and pieces not in huge chunks. Bowe must have been living a pipe dream.
The Jaguars' secondary is going to be young, fast and hopefully exciting. Dwayne Gratz and Jonathan Cyprien will start the first game along with Alan Ball and Dwight Lowery. Demetrius McCray, another rookie figures to see plenty of playing time as well.
Watch Gratz and Cyprien get an interception each in their first regular season games in the NFL.