9/22/19 Chiefs vs. Ravens
Kansas City here we come! When the 2019 schedule was announced this past Spring, I thought that this game would be the bell weather game to tell us how good the Ravens will be this year. Kansas City has the league’s MVP Pat Mahomes under center and arguably the most dynamic offense in the NFL. You will recall that the Ravens played the Chiefs last December in Arrowhead and they lost a close one in overtime. That game was Lamar’s 4th start and the Ravens were relying primarily on the ground game keeping his passing attempts to a minimum. Lamar’s come a long way since December and he is a legitimate threat on both the ground and in the air. The Ravens defense gave up 443 yards in that game, of which 348 were through the air. Looking back at the stats for that game – one surprising stat to me was that KC won the time of possession by 5 ½ minutes, which is incredible given that the Ravens ran the ball 40 times.
Coming into this season it was generally felt that the Ravens secondary would be one of the better ones in the league. They didn’t look that special last Sunday and to me this group has not yet found their mojo. The secondary gave up 7 plays of 20 or more yards to Arizona – and that is just unacceptable. Earl Thomas was not around the ball much and I don’t think he is quite comfortable yet with the Ravens defense. He will have to play better on Sunday if the Ravens are going to have a chance. Having watched the game twice, I did see that the DBs were in close coverage for the most part, but appeared to have no eyes on the ball which needs to improve.
The Ravens offense looks good this year, and early on they are playing ball control offense as evidenced by their league leading 38 minutes time of possession. If the offense can avoid committing costly penalties, they will get their share of points even against some of the tougher defenses. Lamar has looked very good in his first two games and his throwing accuracy and poise in the pocket have been impressive for a rookie. As a starter – Lamar is 8 wins and one loss in the regular season, with his only loss coming against the Chiefs last December. It is early in the season and we certainly need more games to evaluate Lamar as an NFL quarterback – but I like what I see so far and I am betting on him.
Sunday’s game will be a tough one for the Ravens and by game’s end we will have a better feel for their strengths and weaknesses. The Chiefs are dominant at home (7 and 1 last year) which is part of the reason they have won the AFC West for the past three years. Road games are tough and the Ravens will have to deal with travel, stadium noise like no other, Pat Mahomes, Andy Reid and a team that is playing with high confidence. I firmly believe that this game will be won or lost by the team that does the better job in the red zone. The Chiefs are an offensive juggernaut and Mahomes is going to get his team points that is for sure. The challenge will be if the Ravens can keep up with the Chiefs and match their scoring. The Ravens offense is better this year, but I think the defense may have taken a small step backward. The Ravens match up well with the Chiefs and if anyone can beat them in Arrowhead it is the Ravens. Ravens have to play a clean game and keep their penalties to under 6. Coach Wink will need to call a perfect game to keep Mahomes in check and that will be no small task. The Ravens offense will try to control the ball and keep Mahomes off the field – which is probably their best defense. As of this writing the odds makers have the Chiefs by 6 points which has come down from 7 ½ points earlier this week. This game is a winnable game for the Ravens but I think in the end it will be Mahomes who will win the day with his skill and creativity. I don’t think the Chiefs will cover the spread. The over/under on points is set at 52.5 and I would go with the over. Enjoy the game my friends and stay thirsty.
Score Ravens 27 Chiefs 31
Turnovers Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 144 Chiefs 69
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 277 Chiefs 321
• Mahomes achieves a QB passer rating of 93 or above
• Ingram carries 18 times for 79 yards and 1 TD
• Ravens commit 9 penalties for 84 yards
• Refs make terrible calls
Keys to the Game
• Contain Mahomes and don’t let him extend plays
• Force Turnovers
• Score TDs in the red zone