This Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium. The Chiefs are currently 1-0 on the season following a four-point win against the Cleveland Browns, and the Ravens are 0-1 after losing an overtime game to the Las Vegas Raiders.
This will be the fourth matchup in four years between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, and Mahomes has come out of these games with a perfect 3-0 record. Mahomes has made so many terrific moments for Chiefs fans against the Ravens and last year was a wild sight as the Ravens, who many predicted to win the game or at least be the Chiefs' best competition for a Super Bowl repeat, got steamrolled by the Chiefs. They fell behind 27-10 at halftime and lost 34-20 in front of their home fans. They'll look to reverse the tide this time around.
Fact to Know: The Ravens' tackles were at fault for 19 pressures in Week 1 against the Raiders.
This is an ugly storyline for the Ravens to start the season with. After trading Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chiefs, they had All-Pro Ronnie Stanley at left tackle and former Steeler Alejandro Villaneuva at right tackle to start the season. Then, the pair had about as bad of a game as they possibly could. Stanley allowed nine pressures, which is completely shocking given his previous career-high is five. Villanueva had 10, breaking his previous career-high of seven in six productive seasons with the Steelers.
It was stunning to watch, as three different Raiders edge defenders lit them up. Maxx Crosby got 13 pressures and two sacks, Yannick Ngakoue got six pressures and Carl Nassib recorded four pressures and the game-changing strip-sack in overtime. All three received a 90+ pass-rushing grade from Pro Football Focus (PFF) as a result, while both Stanley and Villanueva got sub-30 pass-blocking grades from PFF.
On top of that, Stanley sustained an injury in the game and is expected to miss this game, meaning Villaneuva will likely shift over to left tackle and Patrick Mekari takes over at right tackle. Mekari's PFF numbers are pretty average, so this is a huge loss for the Ravens to go from a 2019 first-team All-Pro to an average player, no matter how bad Stanley looked on Monday.
Matchup to Watch: Tyreek Hill vs. Marlon Humphrey
Let's have some fun! Tyreek Hill has been incredible to start the season, getting 197 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Browns. He has done well against the Ravens before too, getting 216 yards and a touchdown in two career games against them. The most notable moment for Hill against the Ravens has to be this iconic play in the 2018 matchup, with the game on the line and Mahomes throwing up a prayer to save the contest.
Humphrey isn't exactly a slouch, however. He had a rough Week 1 against the Raiders, but don't expect him to be like that all year. Humphrey is a definitive top 10 cornerback in the game and is potentially one of the most capable cornerbacks to limit Hill from having an explosive game.
Key to the Game: The Chiefs need to reduce their missed tackle count
In their Week 1 game against the Browns, the Chiefs had a total of 12 missed tackles — triple the amount that the Browns had in the game. Nine of these tackles came from defensive backs, with two each for Juan Thornhill and L'Jarius Sneed and five for Daniel Sorensen, the most for any safety in Week 1 by three missed tackles. While the additions of Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu can hopefully fix this issue a bit, there should still be a high snap count for Thornhill, Sneed and Sorensen. The Chiefs can't have that kind of missed tackle count for them or the team as a whole.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Ravens 21
Another year, another Chiefs win over the Ravens. Patrick Mahomes will, as always, come to play and throw three first-half touchdowns, including two to Travis Kelce. Chris Jones will have another big sack in this game, as will Tershawn Wharton. On top of that, I predict that L'Jarius Sneed has an incredible game after looking shaky in Week 1 and that he picks off Lamar Jackson at some point.
This article is dedicated to my grandfather, John Hays, who passed away on Wednesday. My grandfather was one of the closest people in my life, always being so supportive of my goals and career paths and always trying to help me out in my future endeavors. He was so proud of the things I accomplished, including my work here, and he made sure to read several of my articles here. I wrote more about him on a thread here, in his honor. Thank you for everything, Papa.