Chiefs-Ravens Preview: Game of the Week

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 09: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs shakes hands with quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens after the Chiefs defeated the Ravens 27-24 in overtime to win the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 09, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Chiefs and Ravens meeting this week, will feature each team’s toughest test so far. From having two of the top offenses, to the way each quarterback is playing, this matchup has the potential for a shootout. It would be a shock if this game doesn’t end up being a close one. Now, let’s get things going with this Chiefs-Ravens preview.

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Last Meeting

While this week’s matchup may feature the game of the week, last year’s Chiefs-Ravens game was a candidate for game of the year. Lamar Jackson forced the Chiefs defense to step up late. Also, Patrick Mahomes made at least three highlight reel throws. There were big plays being made left and right. Mahomes late game heroics lifted the Chiefs to a win in overtime. That stands to be the only regular season loss Lamar Jackson has so far.

Encore Performance

How will each quarterback try to out do last year’s game? As long as they continue their hot starts to 2019, both Jackson and Mahomes could be near unstoppable. They each have thrown for seven touchdowns and have zero interceptions. Both can beat you in a variety of ways, as well.

We know Mahomes can make almost any throw work. Additionally, his timing makes life tough on opponents. Meanwhile, Jackson is progressing well as a passer. He is generally very smart in decision making. Finally, Jackson can outrun almost anyone. The Chiefs will have to be able to handle the best current dual threat quarterback in the game. Knowing how each guy approaches a big game too, makes this Chiefs-Ravens contest that much more exciting.

Eliminators

The defenses will have their hands full. But, both are determined. Earlier this week, Ravens safety Earl Thomas mentioned how they were going to “eliminate big plays.” Baltimore has had a history of slowing down some of the best offenses. While the stats won’t always jump out, the Ravens defense always stays true to their roles and job.

On the other hand, the Chiefs defense is still an unknown. They are sitting better in almost every category, compared to this point last year. Is it truly a better defense, or was last year’s unit just that bad? Either way, Kansas City has stepped up so far. They started slow against the Raiders. However, they woke up and didn’t allow a score for nearly the final 50 minutes of the game. The opponents are already frustrated with the Chiefs offense. Now, the defense is starting to improve and making their counterparts fixate.

Sleepers

On Sunday, this Chiefs-Ravens matchup has the potential for some underrated players to shine. Last year, it was Cyrus Jones with some huge punt returns for the Ravens. The youth has certainly been on display for Baltimore. Guys like Marquise Brown, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill need to be accounted for.

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So far, the Chiefs have seen a different guy go off each week. First, it was Sammy Watkins. Last week, Demarcus Robinson had a career day. Who will it be this time around? With Damien Williams out, LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson could get a rhythm going. Though, we know the Chiefs don’t love to run the ball. Mecole Hardman had a strong performance last week, including catching his first touchdown. Maybe his speed is the difference in this tight matchup. In games like these, both teams will need every one to cash in on opportunities.

Matchup To Watch: Ravens Pass Rush vs Chiefs Offensive Line

The Chiefs will be without left tackle Eric Fisher for at least a month, as he’s having core muscle surgery. Last week, Cam Erving struggled against Raiders rookie Clelin Ferrell. Now that he’ll get the nod at left tackle again, Erving will need to step up. The entire offensive line seems to handle pass blocking better right now. They have allowed just two sacks. The Ravens are so good at disguising blitzes, however. Most impressive, is the speed in which Baltimore brings to the table.

Statistical Notes

With the Chiefs scoring 28 points last week, they now own the NFL record with 20 straight games of scoring at least 26 points.

With a Chiefs win, Andy Reid would move into sixth place on the all time wins list, passing Chuck Noll.

We mentioned how both Jackson and Mahomes each have seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions. In the Super Bowl era, they are the first two QBs to complete over 70 percent of their passes with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in the first two weeks.

That will wrap up our Chiefs-Ravens preview. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.

– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.

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