The Ravens are headed to Arrowhead, for the biggest test of their season. The number one offense in the league faces off against the number one defense in the league, and the Ravens’ middle-of-the-road offense faces off against yet another bottom-of-the-barrel defense – one that especially struggles against the run. The Ravens have a chance, they say. I wouldn’t be too hopeful.
But that is not the reason for this article. This article is The Chicken Box. So, let’s go.
Derrick Henry’s 99-yard TD run.
The Tennessee Titans have been one of the most Jekyll and Hyde teams in the NFL this season. They’ve beaten top teams like the Patriots, but lost to bottom feeders like the Buffalo Bills, and been hot-and-cold against everybody in the middle.
With all of that, they ran absolutely rampant over the struggling Jaguars on Thursday night, and Derrick Henry was the main reason for it. He had 17 carries for 238 yards, and four touchdowns.
The focal point of these runs was a 99-yarder full of stiff-arms. Some analysts are asking if it was the best run ever (looking at you, Ross Tucker). If you haven’t seen it yet, the video is below:
However, I will immediately contest the theory that it was the best run ever, with a simple submission: Jamal Lewis, in 2003, against the Cleveland Browns. His first touch, he breaks two tackles, makes a couple guys miss, and hits the burners (en route to a 295-yard game) for an 82-yard touchdown. See here (it’s the first play).
I know a lot of people will bring up Beastquake, but I’m sticking with JLew.
Joe Flacco still not cleared by doctors.
As mentioned before, the Ravens are headed to Kansas City with a rookie penciled in as the starter, and their veteran gunslinger on the mend.
Many fans have tried to say that this is the Ravens’ way of ‘benching’ the 11-year vet, and claim that Lamar Jackson is the de facto starter from here on out.
Let me be clear: when a player isn’t cleared by team doctors, whether they are listed as questionable or not, they can’t play. Do not be fooled into thinking that the usually-probable tag now known as ‘questionable’ means that he is ready to go. He may still be injured.
There is no evidence to support the theory that the page has turned, and the Ravens are done with Joe Flacco.
The Chiefs have, without a doubt, one of the most lethal offenses in the NFL. They average 37 points a game, and are fully prepared to go toe-to-toe with any offense in the league – or are they?
Most of you know, per my last Chicken Box (or the media in general, not trying to be a narcissist), that Kareem Hunt is no longer with the Chiefs. Since then, wideout Sammy Watkins has missed practices, and will likely be out on Sunday.
The Chiefs went out and signed newly released wideout Kelvin Benjamin, who has been less than impressive for the last couple of seasons – he doesn’t scare anybody, and likely won’t even play.
That leaves the following players for the Ravens defense to contend with:
— TE Travis Kelce (he’s okay, I think)
— WR Tyreek Hill (not bad, not bad)
— QB Patrick Mahomes (or Kermit)
Still no small task. Kermit has thrown 41 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions – 11 of which have gone to speedster Hill.
Wink Martindale, the DC for the Ravens, said ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen a faster human being in a helmet.’
Those are big words.
Is the Ravens defense up to the task? This brings me to my next point…
Travis Kelce is an alien.
The guy has 79 receptions for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. As a tight end. He catches everything. He makes his own plays. He finds his own space.
Why is this important?
Because Baltimore is really bad against tight ends. (Looking at you, C.J. Mosley.)
Game after game, we see Baltimore give up big plays to the tight end position. Even Ben Watson, the 103-year-old New Orleans TE, got behind the defense once or twice. It happens over and over again.
Now, this is a trait that Baltimore can exploit against KC, as well. Even Jared Cook had seven receptions for 100 yards against them – and that Oakland offense might be worse at passing than the Ravens.
I could go down the rabbit hole, and get into stats, averages, etc, but I’ll just say this: Baltimore needs to throw every single look that they can against Mahomes and Kelce, in order to destroy – or marginally disrupt – the connection that those two have. Otherwise this game will get out of hand, very quickly.
This isn’t football related, but I honestly do not care.
I went down the rabbit hole today. A large part of my day was spent devouring fan theories, reading the comic story arcs, and creating my own theories. I’d like to share some of them with you.
— At the beginning of the trailer, we see Tony Stark recording himself on a broken Mark VII helmet, speaking to Pepper Potts. As the shot changes, it’s revealed that he is drifting through space on the Benatar, which was the ship the Guardians used.
— Photos of Pepper in her own Mark suit were leaked earlier in the year, leading me to believe that the studio is using comic canon, and she will rescue Tony in her ‘Rescue Suit’, as it is called in the graphic novel.
— We see Thanos’ armour discarded on a pole, and the shot changes to show the crumpled gauntlet still on his hand, as he slowly walks through a field.
I believe that the gauntlet crumpled because Dr. Strange did.. Something.. To the Time Stone before he passed it over to Thanos in Infinity War (perhaps the aura around it was the stone returning from the future, where the surviving Avengers had used it?), which tainted it.
I also believe that Thanos is back on Titan, both believing that he had completed what he set out to do, as well as regretting his sacrifice of his own daughter, Gamora. He is likely still recovering from taking an axe to the chest, as well.
— We get to see Clint Barton as RONIN!
There’s a small part of me that believes that the reason we didn’t see Hawkeye in A:IW, was that the ‘Hawkeye’ we saw in the earlier movies was in fact a shapeshifter (I won’t name names, due to Captain Marvel coming in March), and that Ronin is in fact the real Clint Barton.
— Captain America gazes longingly at a picture of Peggy Carter, faded and still in his old watch from the first Captain America movie.
Combine this with the fact that Black Widow reassures him that whatever they’re about to do ‘will work’, and I think the remaining Avengers travel back through time. Perhaps through time vortexes? More on that… Now.
— Apparently Scott Lang (Ant-Man) has escaped the Quantum Realm, where he was trapped at the end of Ant-Man and Wasp. I believe that Erik Selvig somehow helped Scott escape, due to the knowledge that he gained from Loki controlling him in the original Avengers movie.
Lang was warned about time vortexes when he went into the Quantum Realm to rescue Pym’s wife. Perhaps he found a way to use them to his advantage, and this is how the Avengers go back in time and ‘fix’ things – though that will definitely break the timeline, and make some things that have already happened, not matter anymore, both good and bad.
I could legitimately go on for hours about my theories, and what could be, but this isn’t the time, nor the place. (Come see me on Twitter, if that’s your thing.)
That’s it for me, kids! Be sure to check out all the great (and not-so-great, admittedly) content at Russell Street Report.