The AFC’s divisional-round game is set to feel mighty familiar for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s a regular-season rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs, who faced off with the Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium back in Week 10. It’s the same opponent and the same location, but the stakes are much higher. Jacksonville also hopes for different results as they lost the initial matchup 27-17 despite Kansas City turning the ball over multiple times.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Jaguars HC Doug Pederson spoke about what his team needs to do better this time around in order to come out with an upset.
“We have to execute better than we did the first matchup,” Pederson said. “That was one of the things, going back and watching that game again, I thought our execution was off. Again, when you’re playing a good football team, a well-coached team (you have to execute better). Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo on defense – who I know – teams that don’t do a lot schematically, but they do it well and they’ve got great players over there. So, we just have to execute better. We have to take care of the football. We can’t obviously do what we did the other night and expect to win, not against this team. We’ll take a look at it and make some adjustments for the week.”
Pederson knew heading into the first matchup that he’d need to give his team every possible opportunity, opening up the game with an onside kick. Even though the onside kick was successful, the defense thwarted their attempt to steal a possession, forcing a punt on the drive. In the playoffs, that sense of urgency against an opponent like Kansas City increases according to Pederson.
“When you get this far into the postseason now, everything matters,” Pederson explained. “Every mistake is magnified, every turnover is magnified. Every point you can get – and again – you’re playing an explosive offense, you better score touchdowns. I mean, that just goes without saying. Because you know they’re going to score and you’ve just got to try to minimize as much as possible, but maximize your opportunities.”