When the Ravens win, everyone’s content. Losing, however, is not an option for Lamar Jackson and his football team. Jackson is one of those players who when he loses, he will not let such losses down. Jackson holds grudges. After starting his career against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs with an 0-2 record, Jackson will do absolutely anything capable to overcome the defending Super Bowl champions.
In his first two games of the 2020 regular season, Jackson has been near-perfect against the likes of two talented AFC teams. Jackson has completed 77% of his passes, accumulated 479 yards through the air, and has thrown for four touchdowns and zero interceptions on only 38 completions. Jackson's efficiency as a thrower will pay enormous dividends in the league’s most highly anticipated Week 3 matchup.
Before we take a look at how Jackson and the Ravens stack up against this year’s Chiefs team, let’s take a look at Baltimore’s previous meeting against Kansas City.
Whenever the 2019 Week 3 matchup between the Ravens and Chiefs is televised on NFL Network, distressing memories of the game come to mind as coaching and play-calling played an integral part to Baltimore’s eventual loss.
The Ravens opened the game with a touchdown but shortly after Baltimore found themselves playing from behind. Kansas City followed up the Ravens’ touchdown with 23 unanswered points. Big plays by Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman allowed for the Chiefs to play ahead with a consistent cushion.
Additionally, questionable play selection as well as other coaching decisions made it difficult for the Ravens to climb back into the game. A failed two-point conversion as well as a fourth-down attempt allowed for Mahomes to take advantage of shorter field position.
However, in the fourth quarter Jackson and his Ravens were able to storm back within one possession. After narrowing the deficit late, though, the Ravens’ defense was unable to get the ball back for Jackson as a 3rd-&-9 screen pass ultimately ended the game for the Ravens.
I personally think things will be different for the Ravens this time. Jackson has looked as sharp as iron thus far this season, and the team’s defense has a stockpile of playmakers. The likes of Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, L.J. Fort, and Patrick Queen have made game-altering plays early on this season. The play of Queen will be especially important as his speed will be needed to guard players like Travis Kelce and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Last week, Kansas City put together a gritty comeback against the Chargers in an early-season divisional matchup. Despite being down the entire game against a Justin Herbert-led Chargers offense, the heroics of Harrison Butker allowed for the Chiefs to move onto 2-0 for the season.
The outcome of this Monday Night Football game is very difficult to predict as two of the league's best teams are going face-to-face. The defensive responses and in-game adjustments made by both teams will be essential to limiting the fire power of each offense.
Offensively, this game will ultimately come down to time of possession and sustaining leads. The Ravens must operate an effective yet prudent offensive game plan as to avoid putting the ball in Mahomes’ hands too often. Jackson looks more mature as a passer and has made serious strides since his last encounter against the Chiefs.
Although the Ravens look to light up the scoreboard, the calculated game-management by Jackson and the Ravens offense would allow for long, touchdown-resulting drives, which solves two problems. One of which is the Chiefs defense will grow fatigued, the second of which is that Mahomes is left on the sideline for as long as possible.
Win or loss, I anticipate an incredible game from both teams as they go head-to-head to earn the crown of AFC kings.
Will the Ravens cover the -3 spread vs. the Chiefs?
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