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KC Chiefs’ offense faces stiff test in Jacksonville Jaguars

Perhaps Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill didn’t have the requisite amount of deference in his voice when he spoke about Jacksonville Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Of course, Ramsey never actually heard the comments himself before clapping back at Hill being a “return specialist.” Whatever the case, Hill’s original sentiment extends to the entire offense.

This weekend’s game against the Jaguars in Arrowhead Stadium gives the Chiefs the chance to solidify themselves as the top offensive unit the NFL. They might not get a bigger opportunity to add some bonafides to their resume than facing what’s probably the best defense in the league, and almost assuredly the best defense they’ll face this season.

“He’s a great player, and I’m always up for a challenge,” Hill said of Ramsey, the outspoken All-Pro. “To get my name out there more I need to go up against more talent like him. … He is the top dog right now, so I can’t wait.”

Ramsey is only one piece of the Jags’ daunting defense. They entered this week ranked among the NFL’s best in yards per play (second, 4.5), passing yards per game (first, 164.3), points allowed per game (first, 14.0) and red-zone conversions (second, 25 percent). They also rank second in DVOA, or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, another means of assessing the efficacy of a defensive unit..

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The group boasts All-Pros at every level, in defensive end Calais Campbell, linebacker Telvin Smith, cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Ramsey. Last season’s Jaguars defense featured six Pro Bowl selections.

“They don’t have a lot of weaknesses,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “They have good players; you could start right up front and go all the way to the back end and everything in between. They’re a good football team. That’s why you love the challenge of playing against a team like this.”

Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ offense comes off of its lowest-scoring game of the season — a game in which they still scored 27 points, quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for more than 300 yards and running back Kareem Hunt rushed for 121 and a touchdown.

Thus far, the Chiefs’ offense has been as good as advertised in camp, with a bevy of proven weapons surrounding their young quarterback. Hill ranked seventh in the NFL in receiving yards last season, Hunt led the league in rushing and tight end Travis Kelce also logged more than 1,000 yards receiving. Then they added Sammy Watkins, who’d been a number one receiver during his time in Buffalo, in the offseason.

Mahomes looked like the biggest question coming into the season, but he started off with an NFL-record 13 touchdown passes in his first three games. He already has 1,200 yards passing and has completed 65.2 percent of his attempts without an interception through four contests.

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone heaped praise upon Mahomes this week, saying, “Right now, he is playing better than any quarterback has ever played.”

Well, three of the Chiefs’ previous four opponents — the Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers — have allowed more than twice as many points per game as the Jaguars.

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The Jaguars aren’t necessarily known for exotic defenses, but they’re individually talented and play as well as a unit as anyone in the league. They’ve already registered a win over the New England Patriots and star quarterback Tom Brady. They allowed just nine points in their lone loss this season to Tennessee.

“First of all, they have a great scheme,” Mahomes said. “They do a lot of things really well. They do a lot of the same stuff, but they do it to a very high, pristine type of thing. They have a ton of talent over there. We have to utilize our offense and our weapons and try to do what we can to attack them.”

Lynn Worthy

Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Chiefs and NFL for The Star.

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