BALTIMORE — The injury-plagued Ravens have a tough Week 2 game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.
Here's how they match up.
Passing Offense: Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had an uneven performance Week 1 against the Raiders, going 19 of 30 passes for 235 yards with a touchdown. Jackson, however, was under constant pressure and was sacked three times. He'll be under duress again this week if left tackle Ronnie Stanley cannot play. The Ravens will face matchup challenges with Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones, who sacked Baker Mayfield twice in their victory over the Cleveland Browns last week.
Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown is questionable and he had a solid game against the Raiders with 6 catches on 6 targets for 69 yards with a touchdown. He has the advantage over Kansas City cornerbacks L’Jarius Sneed and Charvarius Ward. The Chiefs will get a boost with the return of safety Tyrann Mathieu. Ravens tight end Mark Andrews needs to get more involved in the offense after catching three passes for 20 yards. He also had a critical drop in overtime and the Ravens fumbled away the game on the next play.
Running Offense: It's a new year with a whole new set of running backs, but the Ravens can still pound the football. Baltimore had 189 yards rushing in Week 1 despite losing their two running backs, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards to season-ending knee injuries. Jackson led the way with 86 yards on 12 carries but had two costly fumbles that were the difference in the game. Ty’Son Williams thrived in his first start and finished with 64 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but he had just two carries in the second half. Latavius Murray had 10 carries or 28 yards and a touchdown. The Kansas City allowed 153 yards on the ground to the Brown. The Ravens need to run the ball to keep Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes off the field.
Passing Defense: Over the past three games against the Ravens. Mahomes has been completely dominant, throwing for 1,136 yards with nine touchdowns and just one interception (116.2 rating). The Ravens will be tempted to blitz, but that plays into one of Mahome's strengths. Mahomes is efficient at using his mobility to extend plays, and he is able to read a blitz and adjust on the fly. Baltimore might be better off playing zone for parts of the game. The Ravens are currently ranked last in the NFL for overall defense heading into Week 2 after allowing 491 yards to Las Vegas.
Raiders tight end Darren Waller finished 10 receptions for 105 yards with a touchdown. The Ravens will have an even tougher matchup with the Chiefs' tight end Travis Kelce, who caught six passes for 76 yards with two touchdowns last week against the Browns. Baltimore is hopeful that Jimmy Smith is healthy enough to play to support a secondary, which gave up big plays last week to Las Vegas. Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey has a tough assignment covering Tyreek Hill, who had 197 yards receiving with a touchdown last week.
Running Defense: Kansas City is not a great running football team. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran 14 times for 43 yards against the Browns. Mahomes averaged 5 yards per carry in 2020, and he made the Ravens pay for being overly aggressive in recent games, running for first downs and a touchdown. The Ravens ate solid against the run with a stout defensive line led by now tackle Brandon Williams. Inside linebacker Patrick Queen is their best tackler and rookie outside linebacker Odafe Oweh flies to the football.
Special Teams: Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is the best in the business and made both of his field-goal attempts, including a 47-yarder against the Ravens. Returner Devin Duvernay, who is questionable with a groin injury, averaged 16.8 yards on four punt returns, but had a fumble that he recovered. The Chiefs also have a solid kicker in Harrison Butker. Byron Pringle averaged 32.4 yards and scored a touchdown on kickoff returns last season.
Prediction: The Ravens have been decimated with injuries, and the Chiefs come into this game fully healthy. Kansas City had some early struggles against the Browns but got into a rhythm late in the game for a come-from-behind victory. Kansas City is ahead of Baltimore at this point of the season.
Chiefs 30, Ravens 23