Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab, Scott Pianowski and Matt Harmon explain why this year’s Jacksonville Jaguars remind them of the 2021 Bengals.
FRANK SCHWAB: I love the Jaguars here. And I hate being against Scott on anything. But I just look at this Jaguars team, and it is throwing off so many 2021 Bengals vibes to me. You got the team that's hot late in the year, they've won six in a row, there's the ascending quarterback. Look, I know people aren't watching the Jaguars week in week out. But Trevor Lawrence is the real deal. I get, yeah, four interceptions right away last week. Not ideal.
But for him to stay in that game, 24-year-old guy in his first playoff game to throw four touchdowns after that and bring his team all the way back? Make all the Chargers jokes you want. But Trevor Lawrence still had a lot to do with that. Other quarterbacks would have wilted in that spot. I thought it was huge for him to come back there. I think Trevor can keep them in this game. And I do believe-- like Scott said, if you take the points, usually you have to think that this team has a shot to win. And I do. I actually think the--
I think we are going to look up in the fourth quarter, and we're going to be like, whoa. The Jaguars got the ball. It's four minutes left. And they're down 3 points. What are we watching here? Are they going to pull off this upset? Because I think that they could take advantage of that Chiefs defense, I think their defense maybe can-- just a big player too. We're not asking you to stop Patrick Mahomes. That ain't happening.
But maybe you get a couple tied turning plays. And I think with the Jaguars, I think they've been playing really good. The only bad game they've had was at the Lions. And I mean, I'm talking about recently since our bye week. There's no shame in losing to the Lions. We saw the Lions late year. That was a good football team. But the key for me last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars as an underdog won a playoff game when they were minus 5 in turnover differential.
Turnover differential, that ain't going to happen every week. Right? This is just a team that overcame. They played really, really well. I think they got a lot of confidence going. And I love the Jaguars. I love them at 8 and 1/2. Like Scott said, yes, it does change in the playoffs. I totally agree with him there. But this Chiefs team is still one that doesn't cover a lot of spreads, they get over inflated in the market. I love the Jaguars here. I'll be on the points for sure. And I'll take some on the money line too too just in case.
MATT HARMON: Yeah, I mean, those are all really good points. And I love your comparison to the 2021 Bengals. And it's, hey. It's good to have the number one pick. It's good to get a franchise-changing quarterback. And I think obviously, teams are going to be bidding like crazy for the number one pick potentially this year. I don't know that there's a Joe Burrow, I don't know there's a Trevor Lawrence in this year's draft. I don't really know anything about that.
But it's just, when you can get that guy like-- and I love some of the sounders that came out of Lawrence saying, hey, there's not a 27-point play. We just got to go-- we got to go play by play here, just keeping the guys cool. I agree with you, Frank. That was a huge testament to Trevor Lawrence. I'm going to bet against Trevor Lawrence here. I'm going to go with the Chiefs as well, Scott. I just think they're so well-rounded. Andy Reid coming off a bye. As you mentioned, they should be extremely prepared here.
But it's no slight to Jacksonville who, I don't think-- do I think they're a Super Bowl contender? Do I think they're a real threat there? No. Probably not. But at the same time, they are a legit playoff team. They deserve to be here. They have clear cut roster strengths and not a lot of like, oh man. That is a glaring, glaring hole. The offense is pretty solid when it could get rolling. The defense has its strengths as well. They're a legit playoff team. But I think at the end of the day, the Chiefs are just a better team. I will take the Chiefs.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I know you can only beat the teams on your schedule. And I'm pro-Jags-- Jaguars. I'm pro-Trevor Lawrence. I'm so glad that in a-- in a year and in a league that desperately needs quarterbacks to come through, we need this class, his class has been such a mess. We don't know if Trey Lance can play, Mac Jones has backslid. Zach Wilson nobody wants to talk about. Justin Fields has no help in Chicago. We need Trevor Lawrence to be great. And he looks like he's going to be.
But this run they've had, it's still two wins over the Titans who really have nothing left to give. They beat Zach Wilson and the Jets in a game where it felt like the Jets could have played for 10 hours and they wouldn't have scored a touchdown. There was a Houston win in there. And then last week. Yes, did they win minus 5 in turnovers? Yes. But if I told you before the season, who's the playoff team that will blow a 27 nothing lead in the playoffs? I think everybody comes up with the Chargers right away.
What a lot of people are going to do, if you think the Chiefs win, you should think a big favorite's going to win. But the spread has you turned off. You could tease the Chiefs--
- That's another-- Scott, that's another reason I like the Jaguars. Admit-- which person in the world isn't going to be on that Chiefs, probably Eagles teaser, right?
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Right. It's America-- it's America's tease. It's America's teaser. And I'll admit. As square as it is, that tease is so square, it's divisible by 4. But I punched it on Wednesday.
FRANK SCHWAB: I get it. I just I hate that when I know everybody's going to be--
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, it's true. It's true. Yeah, think of the worst gambler you know and what they're betting on. Don't bet that. Usually good advice. But I'm falling into that trap this week.
MATT HARMON: Hey, man. It makes a lot of sense. And again, it's a good point, Scott, about the Jags strength of schedule, everything like that. I think we'll see if they're really worth the challenge here with this one.