Baltimore Ravens (2-0) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
Sunday, September 22, 2019 @ 1 PM EST
Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, MO)
Spread: Baltimore +6.5 (-120), Kansas City -6.5 (+100)
Moneyline: Baltimore (+205), Kansas City (-245)
Total: Over 52.5 (-110), Under 52.5 (-110)
Sunday’s matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs should bring some major fireworks, as they are 1st and 4th in scoring, respectively. Both offenses have been all about the big play this season, as the Ravens and Chiefs are 1st and 2nd in touchdowns outside the red zone, respectively.
The Ravens’ offense is 4th in passing yards (318 YPG), 1st in rushing yards (223.5 YPG) and 1st in total yards (541.5 YPG). The Chiefs lead the league in passing yards (407 YPG) and are 3rd in total yards (479 YPG). On defense, Baltimore has the stingiest rush defense (20.5 YPG) and have allowed the 2nd-fewest total yards so far (274.5 YPG). Kansas City has allowed nearly 100 more total yards per game than Baltimore and have allowed the most yards per carry (6 YPC).
However, one thing those stats don’t show is that the Dolphins only ran the ball 12 times against the Ravens and both teams had significant leads in their first games, which led to their opponents throwing the ball more often. Also, the Ravens’ defense has benefited from playing the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, two teams that weren’t exactly expected to be offensive powerhouses this season.
The Dolphins look awful on both sides of the ball and have had a nightmare start to the season, and the Ravens narrowly escaped an upset against the Cardinals because Arizona settled for 3 field goals inside the 4-yard-line. In a game they lost 23-17, the Arizona Cardinals made 3 field goals from the Ravens’ 4-yard-line, 3-yard-line and 2-yard-line. I think it’s safe to say the Ravens benefited quite a bit from the Cardinals’ ultra-conservative red-zone decisions.
I say all that to say this: I’m not exactly sure how to properly assess the Ravens’ win against Miami, because the Dolphins look to be tanking and the Cardinals should have beaten them last week.
Anyway, I think it’ll be more important to pay attention to the turnover battle, as these teams can score very quickly and from anywhere on the field. The Ravens have yet to turn the ball over and have forced 3 turnovers, and the Chiefs have just 1 turnover and have forced 4 turnovers.
The combination of the Chiefs’ lack of a run game and the Ravens’ extremely stout run defense will most likely make Kansas City even more reliant on their passing game. Luckily for them, their QB is reigning MVP, Patrick Mahomes, who has completed 71.4% of his passes for 821 yards, 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. On the other side, Lamar Jackson has emerged as another early-season MVP candidate, completing 71.9% of his passes for 596 yards, 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Ultimately, I think the Chiefs’ offense will be able to keep up with, and outpace, the Ravens’ offense, and the Ravens’ defense will show some weaknesses against the Chiefs’ high-powered, Patrick Mahomes-led offense. I think a lot of people will be on the Ravens to cover this week, but I see the Chiefs really establishing themselves as the top team in the AFC by winning by a touchdown or more.