The Rematch at Arrowhead
Special Guest Swami Mark Viviano
This week we’re introducing a new element to our Bold Predictions for the showdown at Arrowhead. We’ll ask a local member of the media for their Bold Predictions and to start things off we’ve turned to WJZ-TV Sports Anchor and long-time friend to RSR, Mark Viviano.
I’m not big into making predictions, especially bold ones – but the weeklong build-up to Sunday’s game day in the NFL begs us to hazard guesses, so in the case of Ravens at KC, I’ll give in. I’m buying into the hype of this “September Super Bowl”: two talented and explosive offenses led by two dynamic young QB’s who represent the present and future of the NFL (I’m conveniently setting aside Tom Brady for the purposes of promotion).
– Lamar Jackson is the real deal. He’s in his 2nd season like Pat Mahomes was last year when he revolutionized what it means to pass the ball in the NFL: 50 TD’s, 5,000 passing yards and the MVP trophy. Jackson will unleash his “revolutionary” pass-run combo vs a suspect KC defense in a manner similar to what we saw Jackson do vs. Arizona.
-The Ravens defense was surprisingly porous against Arizona rookie QB Kyler Murray which should raise concerns about what Mahomes might do. I’m not concerned. After speaking with both Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson this week, I get the sense the Ravens got this and aren’t about to get burned in consecutive weeks. Also, the absence of KC receiver Tyreek Hill and starting LT Jeff Fisher bodes well for Baltimore.
The game will live up to the hype and the Ravens will come away with an impressive road win that will mark another significant step in Lamar Jackson’s dynamic growth. Remember Mahomes to Hill for 48 yards on 4th down in KC last year? That’ll be Jackson to Hollywood Brown this year.
PREDICTION: Ravens 28, Chiefs 24. I’m not big on predictions but I’m confident you can see the game on WJZ at 1pm with our pregame show at 11:30am. You can bet on that!
If you are an NFL fan with no allegiance to either the Ravens or the Chiefs, this matchup will be a fun game for you to watch. If you have an emotional investment in either team, make sure your seat is securely fastened, keep your hands inside the cart at all times, and enjoy the ride.
This one should be a doozy.
Last season the Ravens left Arrowhead Stadium 27-24 losers in overtime thanks in large part to some rather miraculous throws from league MVP Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is a special talent and he’s capable of lighting up the scoreboard quickly. But this time around, just a little over 10 months later, things have changed and those changes should impact the outcome of this game.
The Chiefs will be missing left tackle Eric Fisher who is slated for surgery to repair a damaged groin. Fisher hasn’t missed a game since 2013. Also missing from Sunday’s action – a player who certainly made a difference when these teams met up last December, is Tyreek Hill. Making things even more challenging for Mahomes & Co. is the presence of gifted centerfielder, Earl Thomas. And Thomas is anything but bashful when explaining the difference he makes.
“I think that comes down to personnel. Luckily, the Ravens have me playing free safety, controlling the deep end. I plan on eliminating all the big plays.”
If Thomas has a little Nostradamus in him, the Chiefs could be in for a rude awakening. Here’s what you can expect from the contest as I attempt to unleash my inner Nostradamus.
• In order to shorten the game, keep the ball out of Mahomes hands and take advantage of a Chiefs weakness (they give up 6.0 YPC), the Ravens will run the ball 40 times and eclipse the 200 yard mark. Look for a heavy dosage of runs to the right as Mark Ingram leads the way with 90 yards on 18 carries. Lamar Jackson adds 70 yards to the total. Both players will score on the ground.
• The Chiefs will look to take away the explosive plays from Lamar and his favorite long distance connection, Marquise Brown. They will also employ resources to slow down Mark Andrews and that will free things up for a few other Ravens in the passing game. Look for Willie Snead to haul in 6 passes for 75 yards and a score. He’ll help sustain drives as a chain mover. Miles Boykin shows up on Sunday contributing 2 catches for 50+ yards, one of which goes for a score. And don’t sleep on Justice Hill in the passing game.
• The LJ stat line as a passer will look like this: 30 ATT/20 Comp/240 yards/2 TD/1 INT/Passer Rating ~ 99.3.
• During last season’s game the Ravens did a decent job of pressuring Mahomes and moving him off his spot. They’ll continue to do that. The big difference this time around is that KC won’t enjoy the 4th down success they had on offense as they did last December when they went 3 for 3 while keeping important drives alive.
• The Ravens red zone defense stays hot and they’ll force Mahomes into taking field goals when touchdowns were within reach. KC will finish with a red zone efficiency of just 2 of 5 (40%)
The game will come down to the last possession – that of the Chiefs. They’ll need a TD to win but this time, they come up short.
Ravens 31, Chiefs 26
— This is a tough matchup for the Ravens heading into a rocking Arrowhead Stadium for the Chiefs’ home opener. The Ravens, however, won’t be fazed by the crowd because they’re become used to these environments. However, effective communication will be vital, especially for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
— The Ravens have the league’s top-ranked rushing attack, averaging 223.5 yards per game. The focus will be moving the ball on the ground to keep Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs’ offense off the field. Kansas City is allowing 367.5 yards and 18 points per game so the Ravens should be able to move the ball. The Ravens would rather not get into a shootout.
— The secondary is going to need to create a turnover or two to put the Ravens in position to win this game. Mahomes is going to attack them early and often. He will try to strike quickly to set the tone. Earl Thomas said he hopes to be the difference in this game. He will get that opportunity.
— Even though this is a huge game, it’s only Week 3 and both teams are still developing. However, a Ravens win would be a huge boost of confidence.
— Prediction: The Ravens will play tough and the game will go back-and-forth. In the end, the Chiefs will have the playmakers to help decide the outcome.
Chiefs 28, Ravens 24
Short and sweet from me this week…not the barnburner many expect!
Chiefs 24 Ravens 23
This is such a tough game to predict for me.
On one hand, the Ravens are cruising, without really having to show their hand too much in the first two games versus Miami and Arizona. They’re also looking at a Chiefs defense that’s susceptible versus the run, where the Ravens shine, while the Baltimore run D will stifle the Chiefs lackluster run game and force the KC to become 1-dimensional on offense.
On the other hand… Patty Mahomes.
So let’s call this one a shootout… sort of. The Chiefs will score via the cannon of Mahomes, and no disrespect to the Ravens secondary, but they’ll likely put up 27+ against Baltimore this Sunday. I’ll call it three Mahomes touchdowns – to Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and sneak a Kelce score in there too.
The Ravens will have no issue scoring as well, but their gameplan will be focused on prolonged drives via the ground game in an effort to keep the Chiefs offense off the field, while keeping their own defense fresh. I like a trio of running back touchdowns this week, with Mark Ingram running for two and Justice Hill catching a touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson. Speaking of Jackson, I expect a lot of RPO and motions on Sunday with quick passes to get the ball into playmakers hands and keep Lamar clean. The line will have their work cut out for them (sup Chris Jones #ComeToTheRavens2020), so don’t expect a bunch of deep shots that take time to develop. I do expect about a 60:40 run:pass ratio Sunday, and Lamar will get his with 65 yards on the ground.
Ultimately, this will be a game decided by which team makes the first mistake, and yanno what? Let’s say a defensive score is the difference in this one- a Marlon Humphrey pick 6 to remind fans that we already have a Pro Bowl caliber CB that can shutdown even the best QBs, and trading damn near half of our value picks in the 2020 draft isn’t necessary (had to get a shot in).
BAL 33 KC 27
– Lamar Jackson played extremely well at Arrowhead last year but came up short. This year, he’ll play even better. Put me down for another 0 INT game, but give him 3 more TDs and over 300 yards total to his name. This will be Jackson’s statement game with a national spotlight on him.
– While Jackson’s spinning the ball all over the field, Mark Ingram anchors a strong rushing attack, averaging over 4 yards per carry and scoring a TD of over 10 yards.
– The receivers will thrive on Sunday, and while they’ll do well in their own right, it won’t just be Hollywood and Andrews this time. With Honey Badger shadowing Andrews, I expect Hayden Hurst to have over 50 yards receiving, and while KC attempts to limit Brown, look for Willie Snead to have a ton of work and Seth Roberts to catch his first TD.
– Earl Thomas said the defense doesn’t want to allow any big plays. Against the Chiefs, that’s a tough ask. However, when it all comes down to it in what should be a hell of a shootout, I’m looking for Thomas to make the big play. Not only will his interception help the Ravens get the win, but it’ll also be why they get the win. Thomas picks off Mahomes behind the 50-yard line in a tie game with under 2 minutes left, and his return puts Baltimore right in Tucker’s range for the game-winner.
Ravens 34, Chiefs 31
This is the matchup that many around the NFL are looking forward to, as Lamar Jackson and the seemingly revamped Ravens offense heads to Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs. The Chiefs have of course been billed as the prime competitor of the Patriots for the AFC crown, but through two weeks, the Ravens have made a strong case to be considered.
Patrick Mahomes is doing Patrick Mahomes things and averaging over 400 yards passing per game. That in itself is a scary proposition for a Ravens secondary that gave up over 350 yards passing to first year Quarterback Kyler Murray. Down Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young, the Ravens secondary is showing a little bit of weakness defending the pass, mixed in with a bit of an inconsistent pass rush.
All that being said, the Chiefs being without Eric Fisher is a bigger deal than many will lead you to believe. Getting pressure on Mahomes will be paramount to success for the Ravens defense, while solid ball-control offense on the other side will be pivotal. The Chiefs don’t exactly boast a strong defense, so opportunities will be there for the taking.
This game is pretty simple, albeit a tough game: if the Ravens defense can get pressure and force some tough throws on Mahomes while playing clean offense, they have a great shot to pull the upset victory. In the end though, I believe Mahomes will just be a little too much to stop, but the Ravens will pose the toughest test the Chiefs face before The Patriots.
Chiefs win on a last-second field goal.
Chiefs 31 Ravens 28
This is when the season truly starts for the Ravens. The Ravens are finally playing a quality team in the Chiefs. I think this will be a fun, high-scoring offensive game (when is the last time we have said that about a game involving the Ravens??). In my opinion, this game may not so much come down who has the ball last on offense, but more so which defense can step up and make that one key stop or come up with that big takeaway. This game will also be somewhat of a measuring stick for the Ravens as they are taking on one of the top two teams in the AFC and maybe the whole NFL. In any event, I think we will have a clearer understanding of who the Ravens are after this game.
Contrary to what Earl Thomas says about not giving up big plays, he has to remember this is the Chiefs we are talking about. KC has three plays that go over 50 yards.
Patty Mahomes continues his tear throwing for 300+ yards and 4 TDs
Not to be out down, LJ himself continues his excellent start going for 275 yards and 3 TDs (Andrews, Hollywood and Boykin) and a rushing one as well
Mark Ingram shows back up this week with 75 yards and a TD
Ultimately in the end, I think the raucous atmosphere that will be present at Arrowhead for their home opener will be the difference. The game goes down to the final 2 minutes, before the KC defense comes up with that one key stop.
KC 38 Ravens 35
As much as this game has been about Lamar versus Mahomes, this will be a showing of each team’s defenses.
Shockingly, Oakland held KC to three scoreless quarters and still lost by 18. The Chiefs somehow scored 28 points in the second quarter, and essentially put the Raiders to bed.
I don’t foresee that happening against the Ravens, but I don’t foresee us stopping Mahomes’ hot start. He will have his miscues but he will still throw three scores. I see the running game having a solid day, with LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams scoring one on the ground each.
Here is where things get interesting and why the narrative about Lamar versus Mahomes is silly. Lamar has started off about as well as you can expect a second year QB with flaws can start. Yet, he hasn’t played a good defense, and that is not the case this weak either. This defense is simply just not good. Chris Jones is a one man wrecking crew, and we haven’t even mentioned the secondary. The question I keep asking myself is, can the Ravens offense score enough to win? I foresee Lamar playing well for the first three quarters, going for about 280+ yards and three scores. Baltimore can control the clock with a stout running game, but as we know in a shootout scenario, you have to be able to win through the air. Lamar will force a pass that will get picked off by Kendall Fuller and ultimately seal the Chiefs home opener.
KC 35 Baltimore 31
Has a Week 3 game ever felt this much like a playoff game?
Last season the Ravens traveled to Kansas City, went toe to toe with the Chiefs, and barely lost in overtime. This match up feels different, mostly because of Lamar Jackson’s improvement as a passer. While the game deserves the prime-time spotlight, all eyes should be on this 1 o’clock showdown.
Patrick Mahomes is dealing with an ankle sprain, his starting left tackle is out, and the running backs are also nursing injuries. Wink Martindale smells blood and wants to get Mahomes off his game early by bringing the pressure. The Ravens are going to make Mahomes dig deep in this one.
This is the type of game the Ravens brought in Earl Thomas for and he delivers with two interceptions.
The Ravens defense makes Mahomes look human and he puts up a career low in yards. Fans can now exhale because the secondary is just fine!
On offense, Lamar Jackson continues his hot play by throwing for 260 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He also adds 80 yards and a score on the ground.
Miles Boykin has his best game as a pro catching 5 balls for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Ravens 27 Chiefs 17
When predicting the outcome to this game the natural thing to do is look back at the last game that was near the end of the season last year. Some things have changed but I would say the things that have changed are in the Ravens favor.
The largest difference for the Chiefs is the absences of explosive wide receiver Tyreek Hill and consistent left tackle Eric Fisher. Running backs Damien Williams is also out with an ankle injury and LeSean McCoy is also dealing with an ankle injury and may end up being out. Also dealing with previous lingering ankle injuries are Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes. They have been playing and practicing but don’t appear to be 100%.
On the Ravens side of changes they now have their own explosive wide receiver in Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and that’s just for starters. Mark Andrews isn’t a new weapon but he’s already having a better start in 2 games than Kelce and looks primed to be a superstar. Earl Thomas is exactly the player that was needed last year to stop that 4th down miracle pass to Tyreek Hill. Myles Boykin already has a touchdown in game one and is another speedy physical threat in the passing game. Mark Ingram has displayed his physical running style and Justice Hill is the new speedy back that are both new offensive weapons. Those differences are pretty significant but the biggest difference of all is the new improved Lamar Jackson. He still has those running skills he had last year that made him so hard to deal with but now has much more refined passing skills that were not on display last year.
I think early on the Ravens will try to play keep away but running the ball more and keep the ball out of Mahomes’ hands. I think we’ll see some deep shots but less frequent so the Ravens can control the clock. Mahomes is going to make some plays there is no way around that. He can’t be stopped for 4 quarters of football.
– Marlon Humphrey will end up with an interception because Mahomes will be the first quarterback this season not scared to test him.
– Peanut Onwausor will force a fumble and turnover.
– Miles Boykin will have a huge day and a touchdown.
– Nick Boyle will have his first NFL touchdown.
-Lamar has another great day rushing for over 100 yards and passing for over 250 yards.
Ravens 27 Chiefs 24
The Ravens’ scheme, preparedness and lack of fear will allow them to hold the Chiefs in offense in check…from a per play prospective. Even without Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs have too many weapons and a uber talented and aggressive signal caller in Patrick Mahomes. They’ll be throttled in the run game leading to a fair share of short drives but get their points by way of big plays. Despite a sound plan and plenty of resistance thrown in his direction, Travis Kelce will go for over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. Rookie speedster Mecole Hardman will find a crease in the defense after a short catch and score a long TD of his own, pushing him over 100 yards for the day as well. Fellow rookie Darwin Thompson will join the big play action will find pay dirt on a long catch and run of his own.
Unlike last year, the Ravens offense has more talent and layers and will be able to absorb the Chiefs haymakers while throwing a couple of their own. Lamar Jackson will put on another all purpose show while connecting with Miles Boykin and Hayden Hurst for TD’s. Justice Hill will get loose on a wheel route for another long score. The foursome of Jackson, Ingram, Edwards and Hill will combine for 200 yards on the ground.
Jackson vs Mahomes will prove to be the light show many are hoping but the Ravens ability to run the ball and sustain more long drives will ultimately prove to be the deciding factor.
Ravens 34 Chiefs 28