Thu, 22 Oct 2020

Everything You Need to Know, Ravens vs. Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens
28 Sep 2020, 05:25 GMT+10

Clifton Brown

Basics

Kickoff: Monday, 8:15 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium

TV:ESPN, WBAL Channel 11 (Baltimore), ESPN crew (Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters)

Radio:WBAL (1090 AM/101.5FM) and 98Rock (97.9FM), Ravens crew (Gerry Sandusky, Femi Ayanbadejo), Westwood One Sports (Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli), WDCN La Nueva 87.7 radio broadcast on the Ravens app: (David Andrade, Gustavo Salazar, Ximena Lugo Latorre)

Jersey color: Black

Stakes

The Ravens have the NFL's longest regular-season winning streak (14 games) and will try to begin 3-0 for the first time since 2016. Baltimore has also won 12 straight home games in primetime, which is also the NFL's longest active streak. The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions and they've made a habit of starting fast. They were 5-0 in both 2017 and '18, and they started 4-0 last season. Though it's early, both the Ravens and Chiefs are expected to contend for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. With only the top seed in each conference receiving a bye this season, the result of this game could have playoff seeding implications down the road.

History

Kansas City leads the all-time series, 6-3, during the regular season and 1-0 in the playoffs. The Chiefs have won three straight over Baltimore and they are the only team with two victories over Lamar Jackson since he became the starting quarterback in 2018. Most recently, the Chiefs defeated the Ravens, 33-28, at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 3 last season. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw three touchdown passes and completed 27 of 37 passes for 374 yards. Jackson completed 22 of 43 passes for 267 yards, and he ran 46 yards and a touchdown. Mark Ingram II was the offensive star for Baltimore, rushing for three touchdowns with 103 yards on 16 carries. Trailing 23-6 at halftime, the Ravens rallied and pulled to within five points with just over two minutes to play. Jackson scored the game's final touchdown on a spectacular nine-yard run that featured a shake, followed by a spin into the end zone. However, the Chiefs' offense ran out the final two minutes to secure the victory.

Storylines to Watch

Can the Ravens' offensive line protect Jackson?

The reigning MVP is having a superb start to 2020, but Jackson needs time to throw the football. Against the Chiefs, that can be a problem. Kansas City has two superb pass rushers in Frank Clark and Chris Jones, and Jackson was sacked four times in Houston last week. Giving Jackson a chance to create some Monday night magic will be a priority for the offensive line.

Can Kansas City slow down Baltimore's rushing attack?

Ingram gashed the Chiefs last year and the Ravens' backfield is even deeper with the addition of rookie J.K. Dobbins. Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers ran for 96 yards against the Chiefs in Week 2, and the Ravens believe they can run against any team. Keeping Mahomes off the field with long scoring drives that feature the run could be Baltimore's recipe for success.

If the Ravens take the lead, can they hold it?

Come-from-behind victories are a Mahomes specialty, like the one he had against Baltimore in 2018. In four of their last five victories, the Chiefs have overcome double-digit deficits. This is a different Ravens' defense than Mahomes faced last year when Marcus Peters, Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort had yet to join Baltimore. However, containing Mahomes for most of the game is not enough. To win, the Ravens need to stop Mahomes when he's often at his best, in the fourth quarter.

Key Matchups

Patrick Mahomes vs. Ravens secondary

This is strength against strength, an elite quarterback throwing against a secondary that features the NFL's top cornerback tandem in Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. No NFL corner is better at reading quarterbacks than Peters, and he went against Mahomes regularly during practice when they were teammates in Kansas City. However, Peters and Humphrey will have their hands full dealing with Chiefs speedy receivers Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman who are a big play waiting to happen.

Lamar Jackson vs. Chiefs defense

Jackson is playing with supreme confidence and he'll be looking at a Kansas City defense that gave up 311 passing yards to Chargers rookie Justin Herbert in Week 2. Completing 77.6% percent of his passes, Jackson has become an even tougher puzzle for opponents to solve. It will be difficult for the Chiefs to slow down Jackson unless they can pressure him consistently with their pass rush.

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce vs. Ravens defense

Kansas City has so many big-play weapons, it becomes even more difficult to key on Kelce. He has caught seven passes in each of the last two games against Baltimore, and he's often a third-down target who keeps their drives going. Kelce could be matched up against a variety of defenders including Queen, Jimmy Smith and DeShon Elliott. All of them will be tested against an elite tight end who has hurt Baltimore in the past.

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