The Kansas City Chiefs were already battle tested this season, coming back from another double-digit deficit to defeat the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. The Chiefs are 9-2 in their last 11 games in which they trailed by double digits, all with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. Mahomes — coming off AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors — has the Chiefs as the favorites to win the AFC again and head to their third consecutive Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens suffered a brutal overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders to fall to 0-1 on the year. Baltimore, which already lost J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards for the season due to injury, still was able to rush for 189 yards in Week 1 behind Lamar Jackson, Ty’Son Williams, and Latavius Murray. The Ravens defense surprisingly allowed 491 yards to the Raiders — 409 through the air — which allowed Vegas to come back in the fourth quarter and overtime. On top of that, Ronnie Stanley, Marquise Brown, Marlon Humphrey, and Jimmy Smith are on the mend heading into Sunday’s showdown.
A must-win matchup for the Ravens at home, while they look to flex their muscle as the AFC power. Jackson and Mahomes is just the second matchup of former MVP quarterbacks under 27 years old, a rematch of the first showdown between the former MVPs last year.
Here’s a preview of the “Sunday Night Football” clash between two of the best teams in the AFC:
How to watch
Lamar Jackson, Ty’Son Williams vs. Chiefs run defense
The Ravens are always able to run the football — and have an excellent matchup against a Chiefs defense that allowed the Browns to have their way on the ground last week. Kansas City allowed 153 rushing yards to Cleveland in Week 1, as the Browns averaged 5.9 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns on the ground. Baltimore needs to pull out all the stops with Jackson’s ability to make big plays and get Williams involved as the No. 1 back throughout the night.
This is an excellent opportunity for the Ravens to keep Mahomes and the Chiefs offense off the field by controlling the clock and allowing Jackson to do what he does best — run the football. Getting the run game going will open up the passing attack for Jackson in the red zone, where he can find Mark Andrews and put points on the board.
The Chiefs are getting Tyrann Mathieu back this week, which will be a huge return for their defense. If the Chiefs allow more than 150 rushing yards in this one, they could be facing another double-digit deficit. Baltimore has rushed for 100 yards in 40 consecutive games, the longest streak in NFL history (38 of those contests Jackson has started).
Patrick Mahomes vs. Ravens secondary
With Marlon Humphrey and Jimmy Smith nursing injuries, Mahomes can have a field day against a Baltimore secondary that allowed Derek Carr to throw for 435 yards last week, a huge reason why the Ravens blew a three-point lead with 37 seconds left in regulation against the Raiders. Tavon Young is the top option at cornerback if Humphrey can’t go and he’ll start opposite Anthony Averett — who allowed five catches for 65 yards in the opener, but also had an interception.
Baltimore’s secondary isn’t as bad as it played in Week 1, but will be facing a Chiefs offense that threw for 324 yards last week and has playmakers across the board in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. If Baltimore can find a way to contain one of the two superstars, the Ravens’ defensive line may be able to get a few coverage sacks on Mahomes.
Latest Odds: Baltimore Ravens +3.5
Jackson has never defeated Mahomes, but the Ravens quarterback has never thrown an interception in three games against the Chiefs. The problem — Jackson has thrown just four touchdowns and the Ravens have averaged 24 points per game. Mahomes has thrown 10 touchdowns to one interception in those three games and the Chiefs have averaged 31.3 points per game.
Then there’s the whole Mahomes September thing, where Mahomes has never lost a game in the month (11 starts) and has thrown for 35 touchdowns and no interceptions. Baltimore, on the other hand, lost its lone September matchup to the Chiefs last year — at home.
The Ravens will get their yards on the ground, but Jackson is going to have to air it out in order for Baltimore to pull off the upset. Would help if the Ravens would get more consistency from Marquise Brown and Andrews in this one (Andrews has just two receiving touchdowns in his last 10 games). Mahomes and the Chiefs are going to get their yards against a suspect Ravens secondary.
Hard to bet against Mahomes in September.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Ravens 27