In preparing for tonight’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead Pride’s Tom Childs and I sat down for a small Q&A for one another’s publications.
It looks like the Chiefs cut it a bit close against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. What do you attribute the slow start to and what changed to propel them to the comeback win?
“The Browns just came out and laid a marker early. They knew that they could run on the Chiefs; they knew that Spagnuolo’s defenses typically start slow; they knew that they needed to be aggressive on fourth downs; they knew that they had to score points.
And while all of the above is absolutely the right way to play Kansas City, it must he noted that it is incredibly hard to maintain for a whole game. Fortunately for the Chiefs, they managed to keep the Browns within reach before the comeback powers of Arrowhead and Patrick Mahomes kicked in.”
2. How has the “revamped offensive line” for the Chiefs looked? More specifically, what can you tell us about Orlando Brown Jr.’s performance since being acquired by the Chiefs?
“The only OBJ on the field last Sunday actually had himself a nice little debut. For all of the talk of the new offensive line potentially struggling with Myles Garrett & Co, it never really materialized that way. Yeah, sure he gave up a sack, but that was more on Mahomes incredibly deep drop back than Brown getting beat.
Overall, Chiefs fans should be happy with how the new line played in their first game together, as it should (touch wood) get better.”
3. Where do you see the Ravens attacking the Chiefs’ defense? Where might they find success, and what should be an area of concern?
“The strength in the Chiefs defense is ‘normally’ against shot plays. Despite the lack of investment in cornerback, they very rarely give up a big play. This tactic of course forces opponents to put together long methodical drives - which are great when it ends in six points but disastrous when it doesn’t.
If I’m Harbaugh, I go into every single drive knowing that regardless of their ability, you absolutely must leave your punter and kicker on the bench at all times. The Chiefs defense is good but they can be had over 4 downs, especially with a QB like Lamar causing chaos. You’re not winning this one kicking field goals.”
4. Give us two players (one offense, one defense) Ravens fans should be concerned about as the “X-factors” of making this game go in the Chiefs favor?
“Do you know that 16% of Mecole Hardman’s career receiving yards have come against the Ravens? Neither did I until someone told me on Twitter the other day. If Whit manages to stop 10 and 87 as he highlighted was necessary earlier this week, then maybe, just maybe, Mecole ‘feasts’ (using the term loosely) once again.
On the flip side, I’ve always felt that Lamar Jackson brings out the best in Frank Clark. The former Seahawks star certainly hasn’t performed as well as us Chiefs fans would have liked in rushing the passer - but he has been extremely effective against the run. No more so than against #8 - we will all be hoping for more of the same.”
5. What are your expectations for this game? How do you see it playing out?
“I’ve not come here to annoy anyone - I feel I’ve answered the above as honestly as possible. So forgive me when I say that all I can see is a repeat of last year’s matchup. Both teams come in on the polar opposites of health. Even on a day when both squads are full fit, the Chiefs still matchup well against the Ravens. But with all of those players missing for the home side, it will be an almost impossible task for the Ravens.
Chiefs 38 Ravens 24”