Travis Kelce is who many tight ends try to model their game after nowadays. Meanwhile, Earl Thomas was once one of the best hard hitting safeties in the league. Or maybe he still has some of that left? In this Week Three matchup between the Chiefs and Ravens, this could be one of the more underrated matchups to watch.
Most teams try to cover Travis Kelce with a linebacker. This is rarely effective. I would not be surprised to see the Ravens go strength versus strength in this matchup, however. Thomas has the ability to snuff the blanket routes Kelce is reliable for. While it is hard to find a huge advantage going up against the Chiefs offense, the Ravens have always had great defenses under John Harbaugh. He is notorious for making stars out of defenders who were not highly touted prospects. With that said, let’s breakdown how each player could benefit in this contest.
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As we mentioned earlier, Kelce is a nice security blanket for Patrick Mahomes to have. His ability to find the spots and sit down against zone coverage looks fairly easy. Yet, many opponents struggle to cover him. Kelce is also used all over the field, which makes it that much harder to cover him. Last year against these Ravens, Mahomes seemed determined to make Kelce the hot hand. This week, don’t be surprised to see the pair connecting often early on.
Entering this season, the tight end has had three consecutive seasons of 1,000+ yards. He’s also hauled in 83+ passes in those three years. This season, Kelce is on pace to reach those plateaus again. Last week, he hauled in ten balls for over 100 yards and a touchdown. If there’s anything the Ravens don’t know about the Travis Kelce, they better learn how to limit his opportunities.
Earl Thomas was nearly a Kansas City Chief in two different instances. There were reports that the Chiefs nearly traded for the safety after he wanted out of Seattle. But before a trade could be facilitated, Thomas suffered a broken leg and said a wordless goodbye to the Seahawks: https://youtu.be/6ew7QYWWG-A
Then this offseason, we had the free agency period. Thomas was reportedly about to fly to Kansas City to sign with the Chiefs for 2019. Alternatively, his agent told him they had received a better offer from Baltimore. Thus, he signed with the Ravens instead.
So far this season, he has two tackles and an interception. While the stats may not jump out, Thomas brings the mentality the Ravens defense needs going up against Kelce and the Chiefs. Having that and the veteran instincts is impactful for the younger Ravens defensive backs.
When Thomas came to Baltimore, it was clear he had a refreshed mind for a new start. After signing with the team, Thomas talked about commitment with the Ravens. “Baltimore made that commitment to me, I want to give right it back.” Thomas also mentioned how “we want to make turnovers, and that’s why they brought me hear.” This team has always been good in that department, so having Thomas as a leader on the backend just makes it more complete for the Ravens.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.