Week 3 Preview: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 3 Preview: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens

by September 28, 2020 0 comments

Fans now have a reason to not hate Mondays. At least, that’s true for this week.

The wait is over as many fans anticipate a Monday Night Football showdown between the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. This marks the third matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.

The Chiefs are coming off a close victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2 with a game-winning field goal from Harrison Butker as the clock expired. Baltimore is looking to improve to 3-0 after a 33-16 victory over the Houston Texans with a defense that gives up 7.3 points per game.

An interesting highlight of this matchup is that both teams currently hold the longest active win streaks in the NFL. The Ravens won 14 straight regular-season games and the Chiefs won eight consecutive games, including the postseason. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the last time two teams met on eight-plus win streaks was in 1969, when the St. Louis Rams (11 games) hosted the Minnesota Vikings (10 games).

Kansas City Chiefs

Contrary to the 2019 season, the Chiefs’ defense has improved, giving up an opponent average of 13.3 points per game. Cornerback Charvarius Ward and linebacker Alex Okafor missed Week 2’s matchup against the Chargers due to hand and hamstring injuries. They have not been ruled out thus far, but if they miss Week 3, other defenders have stepped up in their place. Rookie safety L’Jarius Sneed has filled in nicely in the secondary with his strong body, giving him the ability to tackle players at any size. Linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson stepped up in run defense but have also been solid against the pass.

Mahomes had a slow start against the Chargers but still rallied back to finish 27-for-47 for 302 yards and two touchdowns. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he has won six straight games when trailing by double-digits. That is an NFL record for quarterbacks. With the red-hot Ravens surging offensively, this will not be a defensive matchup. Therefore, the key is to at least limit Baltimore’s passing game and rely on the offense to keep up with their opponent. With a staff of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Mahomes has the ability to extend the game against a tough Ravens offense.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have an advantage as they are the team with the faster offense, especially with Lamar Jackson’s ability to extend plays with his speed (leads the team in rushing yards with 99 on the year). Despite the Chiefs’ success on limiting opponents from scoring, they have a major weakness: stopping the run. Kansas City allows 4.6 yards per carry defensively while Baltimore’s backfield averages 5.1 yards per carry; expect the Ravens to utilize Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram, and a young, surging J.K. Dobbins against a struggling Chiefs run defense. Kansas City slowed down Jackson last season, but he improved as a passer and decision-maker, so also expect the Ravens to mix up their playbook more than usual.

Despite the Ravens’ impressive and strong defense, they also have a weakness: relying too much on the blitz. While blitzing is typically good for giving opposing teams nightmares, their reliance on it could hurt them with Mahomes’ excellent vision and quick throws. He is a Super Bowl champion for a reason and has the staff to hurt an aggressive Baltimore defense. Edwards-Helaire is also impressing so far in his rookie season, rushing for 176 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries. Expect the Ravens to slightly change their blitz packages for this one.

Game Info 

Date: Sept. 28, 2020

Start Time: 5:15 p.m. PST

Location: Baltimore, Md.

Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium

TV Info: ESPN

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook 

Points Spread: KC +3.5 (-110) | BAL -3.5 (-110)

Moneyline: KC +160 | BAL -200

Over/Under: O 54.5 (-110) | U 54.5 (-110)

If there is one game where bettors want to play a little conservative in bets, this is not the one to do so. Since both teams have the most explosive offenses in the league, this will be a shootout. Due to their previous high-scoring matchups during the Mahomes-Jackson era, take the over for Monday Night football action.

Prediction

The Ravens and Chiefs will show why people have a Monday to look forward to. While both teams are Super Bowl contenders with the ability to play well on both ends of the field, the Ravens have the advantage of playing at home, even with no fans. A solid defensive line and athletic quarterback will give the Ravens a slight edge and victory over the Chiefs.

Final Score: Ravens 38, Chiefs 34


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

Nicolette Rojo is a first-year graduate student, freelance reporter, producer, podcaster, SPJ and BEA member who covers NFL, MLB and other breaking new across all professional leagues. Follow on Twitter: @NicRojo242.

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