Three Things to Watch in Ravens Opener vs Chiefs

The Baltimore Ravens will be opening the season at Kansas City in a rematch of the 2024 AFC Championship Game.
Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) signals
Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) signals / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Ravens are set to travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs in the 2024 season-opener.

The game will mark a rematch between the Ravens and the reigning back-to-back Super Bowl champions. The Chiefs were the last team to play the Ravens last season, ending Baltimore's dominant 2023 in the AFC Championship Game, 17-10.

Eventual NFL Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson was held to just over 300 total yards and he went 20 for 37 passing with an interception. The game featured an incredible performance by Kansas City's defense.

Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce caught all 11 passes that were thrown his way -- for 116 yards and a touchdown. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes went 30 for 39 passing with 241 yards, no turnovers, and a touchdown.

A Week 1 win against Kansas City won't ease the pain for the Ravens -- but it would be a great way to start the season 1-0.

These are the three things to watch in the 2024 Week 1 rematch between Baltimore and Kansas City.

1. Lamar Jackson vs. Kansas City Defensive Backs

In 57 snaps, Kansas City cornerback Trent McDuffie earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 72.6 -- an above average performance. Cornerback L'Jarius Sneed had a game to remember, earning a 72.8 grade for his performance. Sneed is now a Tennessee Titan.

The Kansas City defensive backfield -- McDuffie, cornerback Joshua Williams, and safety Chamarri Conner -- had a great game against Jackson as a unit. They all remain on the Chief's roster for Week 1.

It will be interesting to see how Jackson performs with the hindsight of the AFC Championship and the departure of one of Kansas City's best defensive players.

Jackson had a PFF grade of 61.7 -- and a passing grade of 50.6.

Jackson's performance as a passer will be vital in Week 1 -- if he can get into a rhythm, it will open up opportunities for himself and running back Derrick Henry to do damage.

2. Ravens' Mid-Round Defensive Rookies

It is clear that Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins will be the No. 2 cornerback alongside All-Pro Marlon Humphrey.

The real curiosity will be the two later defensive picks.

Baltimore may have gotten steals in Penn State edge rusher Adisa Isaac and Iowa State cornerback TJ Tampa.

Both players were prospects that would have gone sooner in a less offensive-heavy draft, among other things.

PFF had Isaac ranked as the No. 38 prospect -- he was taken at No. 93.

Analyst Greg Cosell wrote, "What also stands out immediately is that Isaac has an outstanding playing personality ... competitive energy that showed up in his constant hand and feet activity ... the kind of pass-rush traits that translate effectively to the NFL."

Tampa was No. 51 on PFF's Big Board. He was the No. 130 selection. Cosell referred to Tampa as, "a higher-level corner prospect with the size, length and athleticism to play on the outside at the next level and match up to the bigger receivers in the NFL."

Week 1 will be a good chance to see how the Ravens will rotate Isaac with outside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Odafe Oweh.

Similarly, Tampa will likely rotate in for different defensive schemes as a slot corner.

If and how the two perform Week 1 could have major implications on the season.

3. Defense vs. Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes' still has Kelce, wide receiver Justin Watson, Rashee Rice (though he might not take the field Week 1), and two new weapons in former Raven wide receiver Marquise Brown and first-round wide receiver Xavier Worthy.

Worthy, whose 4.21 40-yard dash made him the highlight of the NFL Combine, could be a huge vertical weapon in Andy Reid's offense.

Like any team that wants a chance to beat the Chiefs, the Ravens have to pressure Mahomes.

Mahomes cannot be allowed to extend plays -- though he only had an average of 2.75 seconds to throw on each dropback, per PFF, he still accounted for 13 first downs.

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Michael France