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Ravens News 9/23: Playing catch-up and more

Baltimore Ravens v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

NFL Power Rankings: The War of Attrition Leaves Some Teams Scrambling - Danny Kelly

The Top Shelf

1. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

3. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)

4. Green Bay Packers (2-0)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)

6. Buffalo Bills (2-0)

Week 2 DVOA Ratings - Aaron Schatz

Baltimore has been the clearly most dominant team in the NFL through two weeks according to the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. The Ravens are No. 1 with a rating nearly double that of any other team, and they rank in the top five in all three phases of the game.

Ravens are now the betting favorites to win the Super Bowl - Pete Watt

Baltimore’s current odds are +500, which is indicative of a 16.67% chance of success; this is compared to the Chiefs’ +550 which demonstrates a 15.38% likelihood. These two are well clear of the third-ranked Seattle Seahawks, whose odds of +1300 suggests a 7.14% chance.

Baltimore are now in the driving seat for their division, conference and Super Bowl and John Harbaugh will want to keep them there.

Their odds of winning the AFC North carry a 71.40% chance, and for the AFC itself they have a 27.40% chance.

Kansas will be snapping at their heels every step of the way and it could very well come down to who out of Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes has a better season – or who wins the next Monday Night Football.

Interestingly, Mahomes is ever so slightly favored in the MVP market over Jackson, so we’re set for a great battle this year.

What the Budding Lamar Jackson-Patrick Mahomes Rivalry Needs - John Eisenberg

They’re different players, Mahomes the ultimate arm, Jackson a unique and dynamic playmaker. But each has won a league MVP award and plays for a sound, forward-thinking organization that knows how to build a winner around a top quarterback. Mahomes has already won a Super Bowl.

Jackson and Mahomes are still so new to the NFL that they haven’t opposed each other much – just twice in the regular season, with both games in Kansas City. The Chiefs won in overtime in Week 14 of the 2018 season. They won again, by five points, in Week 3 last season. (The teams would have met in the 2019 AFC title game except the Ravens lost in the divisional-round playoffs.)

In other words, as yet there’s no give-and-take in this quarterback rivalry, at least in terms of final results. Incredibly, Jackson is 21-1 in the regular season as a starter against every team other than the Chiefs. But he is 0-2 against the Chiefs.

“Those two losses definitely make me mad, but it is what it is. Move on. We’ve got them again this year,” Jackson told my colleague Ryan Mink in an interview last month.

Now another game between them is at hand, set for Monday night at M&T Bank Stadium. The fates of the teams, both undefeated, is the far bigger story, but a Baltimore victory would give Jackson his first taste of success against Mahomes, injecting a measure of that give-and-take into their developing rivalry.

NFL Week 3 picks and odds: Patriots crush undefeated Raiders, Rams pull off upset in Buffalo - John Breech

Kansas City (2-0) at Baltimore (2-0)

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Point spread: Ravens -3

I’m going to pick the Chiefs. My problem with the Ravens is that they never seem to win big games. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ll go ahead and point to four instances: They’re 0-2 in playoff games with Lamar Jackson and they’re 0-2 against the Chiefs with Lamar Jackson.

In all four of those losses for Baltimore, the same thing happened: The winning team took a big lead into the second half, which forced the Ravens out of their offensive element. Last year against the Chiefs, the Ravens trailed 23-3 in the third quarter and then had to play catch up the rest of the game. In the playoff loss to the Titans, Baltimore trailed 28-6 in the third quarter and then had to play catch-up the rest of the game.

The Ravens are good at getting a lead and then using their run game to stomp on your throat. They’re not so good at playing from behind, which hasn’t been a problem, because they’re so much better than almost every other team in the NFL that they rarely have to play from behind. As a matter of fact, the Ravens only trailed at the half in three games last year, and yup, they lost all three games (Chiefs, Browns, Titans). On the other hand, the Chiefs have no issues playing from behind. As a matter of fact, they’re actually so good at playing from behind that they’ve won six straight games where they trailed by double digits at some point, which is an NFL record.

Anyway, I think the Chiefs are going to jump out to an early lead and then hold on to dear life for victory.

The pick: Chiefs 37-34 over Ravens