12/9/18 Chiefs vs. Ravens Pregame
On Sunday Lamar Jackson will start his 4th straight game and his second road game. He is getting a little bit better every game but still looks very much like a rookie quarterback. This road game on Sunday will be for him like nothing else he has ever seen. Kansas City’s Arrowhead stadium holds 80,000 lunatics that pride themselves as being one of the most difficult places in the NFL to play – and by accounts it is. They have recorded crowd noise in Arrowhead in the 137-decibel range. For those of you that might not understand what that means – it is comparable to the sound of a jet engine at 100 feet away. The human ear experiences pain at 125 decibels. I have heard quarterbacks say that the noise in Arrowhead was so severe that they literally could not think straight. Lamar is young and has no idea what he is walking into, and when the Ravens get to 3rd down he is going to learn very quickly what it means to play there and how hard it will be to call plays in the huddle. I would expect to see at least 3 to 5 penalties from the Ravens offense this Sunday ranging from movement to delay of game. It is going to be a big challenge.
The Chiefs are the highest scoring offense in the league averaging 37 points a game. They have an awesome set of receivers and probably the best tight end in the game right now in Travis Kelce. Pat Mahomes is having an incredible season and he will eclipse 4,000 passing yards for the season when he plays the Ravens. For the record, Joe Flacco has never had a 4000-yard season. While the Ravens did an incredible job against the Falcons last week, Matt Ryan does not have the athletic gifts that you will see in Mahomes. The Ravens defense, while ranked #1 in the league, will be challenged to catch Mahomes who is fast and elusive when he scrambles. Mahomes also has a unique ability to throw laser beams to receivers while rolling out or scrambling. So far this week, our best CB, Marlon Humphrey, has been sidelined with a groin injury which does not bode well for the defense if he does not play on Sunday, or if he does is limping out there. The Ravens line backers and safeties are going to be challenged keeping up with Kelce who is having a career year and is already over 1,000 yards for the season. If the Ravens have any chance to keep this game close, they are going to have to pressure Mahomes and keep him from getting outside the pocket. Judon and Suggs will have to play the game of their careers to contain him. Two things that are in the Ravens favor is that they will not have to face the recently cut Kareem Hunt, and Pat Mahomes while playing very well is prone to making mistakes at times – and when he does you have to make him pay.
The Ravens have been fortunate these past three weeks in that they have played very weak defenses and have been able to take advantage of their opponents poor run defense. The Chiefs are not very good either, and are currently ranked 31 in yards given up per game and are dead last in passing defense giving up an average of 295 yards per game. That said, the Ravens are not built for passing with Lamar and are unlikely to take advantage of this poor secondary. The Ravens have not won a game this season where their opponents have scored more than 21 points. You can go to the bank on this prediction – the Chiefs will score more than 21 points. To be successful on Sunday the Ravens have to do what they have done the past few weeks, and that is run the ball effectively and use up the clock. If the Ravens have TOP of 35 plus minutes it could be interesting. Mahomes can’t score if he is not on the field and the best defense quite frankly is to keep him off the field as much they can. To win, the Ravens must have several long sustained offensive drives that end in touch downs, and if they cannot do that it is likely to be a long day for the Ravens defense. If Tucker goes out on the field, it had better be for extra points.
This game is going to be the biggest test of the season for the Ravens and while I believe the Ravens defense is very good, I don’t expect them to shut out the Chiefs in any individual quarter. The Chiefs are 10 and 2 this season and they are undefeated at home – and that is because they have excellent skill players. The Ravens will bring their A game but I don’t think that will be enough to beat this team on Sunday. I personally hope that they keep it close and don’t embarrass themselves, but the Ravens offense as it stands today is not built for high scoring games, and the Chiefs offense is built that way. Coach Mornhinweg will have his work cut out for him on Sunday and Lamar will have to pass more to keep pace with the Chiefs. Coach Wink will also have to call a perfect game and it would be great if the defense could get a few picks which is something that they have not done in a long time. Vegas has the Chiefs by 6 ½ points and I think they will cover – especially because they are at home. The over/under is set at 51 points and I like the over. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.
Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Baltimore Ravens – December 9th at 1:00 pm
Odds – Chiefs by 6½
Score Ravens 23 Chiefs 30
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 201 Chiefs 84
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 198 Chiefs 325
• Kelce has 8 receptions for 93 yards
• Ravens commit 10 penalties for 95 yards
• Ravens get their 1st pick since week 5
• Refs make terrible calls
Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
• Jackson struggles in Arrowhead
Keys to the Game
• Run the ball 40+ times and burn the clock
• Don’t give up big plays (20 + yards)
• Win the turnover battle by plus 2, no make that 3