The Ravens enter Week 3 undefeated after two dominant performances. They will nowq face their biggest challenge of the season against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. These are keys for Baltimore to emerge victorious over the reigning Super Bowl champions.
1) Limit the big plays
Kansas City possesses the ability to hit big plays at any moment in a game, so the Ravens will have to stay on their toes at all times defensively. The Chargers were able to contain the Chiefs on offense last week before quarterback Patrick Mahomes uncorked a deep bomb to wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 54-yard touchdown to tie the game. Los Angeles went on to lose in overtime.
S DeShon Elliott will face his biggest challenge as a starter since taking over for Earl Thomas on the backend of Baltimore’s defense. All-Pro cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters will have their hands full as well. Losing nickelback Tavon Young for the season could have a major impact on this game. Humphrey will likely take most of the snaps in the slot in place of Young, meaning either Jimmy Smith or Anthony Averett will replace Humphrey on the boundary.
Smith may be used in coverage against tight end Travis Kelce, however, which would mean Averett could see extensive playing time.
2) Dominate time of possession
The best defense against Kansas City’s high-flying offense is to keep it off the field. The Ravens have dominated the time of possession in most games since QB Lamar Jackson took over in 2018. The Chiefs have allowed 301 rushing yards on defense through the first two games of the season.
Baltimore needs to do what they best on Monday by running the football at will against Kansas City and eating up the clock, thus keeping Mahomes off of the field. Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards could all see plenty of carries this week.
3) Contain Chris Jones
As one of the best players in the NFL at his position, defensive tackle Chris Jones has a habit of wrecking games. The Ravens cannot afford to let Jones derail their offense. Center Matt Skura and rookie right guard Tyre Phillips have had up-and-down performances so far this season. The interior of the offensive line will have to hold up better against Jones, particularly on third-and-long passing situations.
4) Force turnovers
As good as Baltimore’s defense has been through the first two weeks, their offense will likely have to go blow for blow with Kansas City. Forcing even just one turnover could make the difference in what is expected to be a close but high-scoring showdown. The Ravens were unable to force any turnovers in their Week 3 game against the Chiefs last season. This is a completely different defense now, however, with one of the biggest defensive playmakers on their side this time in Peters. Mahomes was intercepted by Peters when he was still with the Rams in 2018.
5) Be aggressive
As previously stated, the best defense against the Chiefs is to keep them off of the field all together. In order to extend drives, Baltimore will have to be aggressive on fourth downs. The Ravens fully embraced analytics last season, resulting in the most efficient team in the league on fourth-down conversions, converting 17 out 24 attempts.