The Baltimore Ravens travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in the toughest game of the season. Most of the experts agree that this should be an easy win for the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Ravens still have a chance to win. The playoff hungry Ravens are fighting to keep their dreams of a postseason appearance alive, and see this game in Kansas City as a potential upset in the making. For this to happen though, the Ravens will have to win in three key facets. These are the three keys to a Ravens victory on Sunday:
Lamar Jackson Must Stay Confident in Arrowhead
Joe Flacco participated fully in practice for the first time in a month this week. While Flacco was cleared to practice, head coach John Harbaugh revealed that the medical staff had yet to clear the veteran quarterback to play in a game. He said that the team could clear Flacco before Sunday’s game. However, it appears that Flacco will remain inactive for the fourth straight week, and Lamar Jackson will get his fourth straight start. The key test for Lamar Jackson this week will come from the environment he will be exposed to. Lamar Jackson played twice in a home stadium, and once in an empty dome in Atlanta. He will now have to deal with crowd noise, real crowd noise in Kansas City. Arrowhead stadium is one of the loudest stadiums in the entire NFL. Jackson will have to stay focused and confident as the noise reaches intense levels.
Ravens Offense Must Sustain Long, Successful Drives Against Weak Kansas City Defense
For the fourth consecutive week, the Baltimore Ravens will base the offensive attack on exploiting a weak opposing defense. Kansas City’s defense is ranked 31/32 in total yards allowed per game, 417.0, worst in passing yards allowed per game, 295.0, and 21st in rushing yards allowed per game, 122.0. The Baltimore Ravens will need to take advantage of the grossly underperforming Kansas City defense, and sustain long and successful drives. To keep the time of possession in Baltimore’s favor, the Ravens must keep the ball on the ground by giving carries to Lamar Jackson and running back, Gus Edwards. This formula has been successful, but the Ravens have had issues in finishing drives to score touchdowns. This largely has to do with an unstable passing attack. Lamar Jackson is still developing and is not yet a good decision maker or an accurate thrower. The Ravens will need to capitalize on the league’s worst ranked pass defense team, and hit on key throws to keep drives alive and score touchdowns.
Ravens Defense Must Slow the Chiefs Offensive Onslaught
The Kansas City offense is one of the best in the league. It is ranked 3rd overall in total yards accumulated per game, 437.2. The Chiefs offense is reliant on the arm of Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown 41 touchdowns this season, and moved the offense 3923 through the air. He has elite weapons at his disposal, such as tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The Ravens defense, ranked first in the league in total yards allowed, will have it’s work cut out for it on Sunday. The Ravens will have to find a combination of matchups in the secondary to neutralize the Chiefs’ weapons, and handicap Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs recently lost running back Kareem Hunt after a major scandal, so the ground attack should not be a major threat. If Baltimore can at least slow the Chiefs offense, it will give the Ravens a chance to win the game. If they cannot accomplish this, however, the Chiefs will almost certainly hand Baltimore a defeat.
The Baltimore Ravens will be unable to pull off an upset against the Chiefs in Arrowhead. Baltimore’s offense will continue to sputter after moving the ball, and be unable to convert the drives into touchdowns. As a result, the Chiefs unstoppable offense capitalizing will result in the outscoring of the Ravens. The offensive performance will be much of the same, and the numbers will mimic the boxscore from Atlanta. The defense, however, will look worse to the eye, but the performance will still be a good one. Kansas City’s offense will ultimately get through the Ravens defense by simply overpowering the group. The final score will be 34-20 in Kansas City’s favor.