Ravens-Chiefs Game Day: How They Match Up, Prediction

Todd_Karpovich

BALTIMORE — The Ravens (2-0) host the Chiefs (2-0) in one of the most highly anticipated showdowns of the 2020 regular season.

Here's how they matchup:

Passing Attack

Ravens: Quarterback Lamar Jackson has not played his best games against Kansas City, but he has still put the Ravens in a position to win. In 2018 as a rookie, he threw for 147 yards with a pair of touchdowns and no turnovers. Jackson also ran for 67 yards on 14 carries in a 27-24 overtime loss. The following year, Jackson was 22 of 43 for 267 yards and was sacked three times. He ran for 46 yards with a touchdown, but Baltimore lost again 33-28. This season, Jackson has completed 77.6 percent of his passes this season, which is the best mark of his pro and college career. Jackson has thrown for 479 yards with three touchdowns (113.6 rating). Tight end Mark Andrews (six receptions, 87 yards) is a key target and Hollywood Brown (10 receptions, 143 yards) is a downfield threat. 

Chiefs: Over the previous two games against the Ravens, quarterback Patrick Mahomes has completed 62 of 90 pass attempts (68.9%) for 751 yards with five touchdowns and one interception (108.1 rating). His ability to improvise when a play breaks down has been especially damaging to Baltimore. This season, Mahomes has thrown for 513 with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Tight end Travis Kelce is off to a quick start and has 15 receptions for 140 yards. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill leads the team with 145 yards receiving on 10 receptions. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who has eight catches for 93 yards, was in the concussion protocol this week and is dealing with a neck issue, but he is expected to play.  Advantage: Chiefs

Running Attack

Ravens: Baltimore's ground attack got revved up last week against the Texans, finishing with 230 yards. The Ravens will set the tone on the ground against Kansas City, which is ranked 27th (150.5 yards per game) against the run over the opening two weeks of the season. The Ravens have rotated three running backs — Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and rookie J.K. Dobbins — and are averaging 170.5 yards per game, ranked fourth in the league. Baltimore ran for 203 yards against the Chiefs last season. 

Chiefs: Kansas City has a solid running game led by rookie first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has is averaging 176 yards per game. The Chiefs average of 5.2 yards per carry, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Mahomes is second on the team with 54 yards rushing. Advantage: Ravens

Pass Defense

Ravens: The difference in this game could be cornerback Marcus Peters, who was acquired by the Ravens at the midpoint of last season. Peters, a former first-round pick by the Chiefs, has revitalized the secondary. Fellow cornerback Marlon Humphrey has emerged as one of the top playmakers in the NFL. Baltimore boosted its interior pass rush with the additions of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe and both players will play a key role in this game.

Chiefs: Kansas City is ranked 24th against the pass, allowing 269 yards per game. Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed has managed a pair of interceptions. Safety Tyrann Mathieu is a key playmaker that can change the complexion of a game. Defensive tackle Chris Jones leads the team with 1.5 sacks. However, the secondary is hampered by the suspension of cornerback Bashaud Breeland.  Advantage: Ravens

Run Defense

Ravens: Baltimore has a solid track record against first-year players and they'll look to bottle up Edwards-Helaire. The Ravens enter the game ranked seventh against the run, allowing 94.5 yards per game. Rookie Patrick Queen leads the team with 17 tackles. 

Chiefs: Kansas City has struggled against the run over the opening two weeks of the season, allowing 150.5 yards per game (27th in the NFL). Last week, the Chiefs 183 yards rushing to the Chargers. Kansas City will face en even bigger test against Baltimore. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens leads Kansas City with 17 tackles. Advantage: Ravens

Special Teams

Ravens: Justin Tucker is one of the best kickers in the history of the NFL and he is having another stellar season, converting all five of his field-goal attempts. Sam Koch has only had to punt the ball five times over the two games this season. The Ravens rely heavily on pair of rookies — Devin Duvernay and James Proche — in the return game. But they could get a boost with veteran Chris Moore in the lineup. 

Chiefs: Harrison Butker is widely regarded as one of the best kickers in the NFL, right behind Tucker. He made all five of his field-goal attempts, including a 58-yarder in Week 2 to beat the Chargers. Mecole Hardman is a Pro-Bowl returner that will challenge the Ravens. Punter Tommy Townsend is in his first year with Kansas City and has been solid. Advantage: Ravens

Prediction

The last two meetings between the Ravens and Chiefs have come down to the final quarter and a total of eight points. This game will likely be no different because the teams are so closely matched. The Ravens finally get a Monday night game at home, but there won't be much of a difference with no fans. Baltimore has been one of the league's most impressive teams over the opening two weeks of the season. The Ravens will keep rolling against Kansas City. 

Final Score: Ravens 34, Chiefs 30

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