Tue, 19 Oct 2021

Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens
19 Sep 2021, 05:25 GMT+10

Clifton Brown Basics

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium

TV: NBC, Channel 11 (Baltimore), WRC Channel 4 (Washington), NBC crew Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Michele Tafoya (sideline)

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM) and 98 Rock (97.9 FM), Gerry Sandusky (play-by-play), Femi Ayanbadejo (analyst); Westwood One Sports, Ryan Radtke (play-by-play), Ross Tucker (analyst); WDCN La Nueva 87.7 Spanish Radio Broadcast, on the Ravens Mobile app, Gustavo Salazar (play-by-play), Ximena Lugo-Latorre (color)

Stakes

The Ravens will try to avoid starting 0-2 for the first time since 2015. The Ravens have won five consecutive home openers, but they have lost three straight games to the Chiefs (1-0), who opened their season with a come-from-behind victory over the Cleveland Browns.

History

Kansas City has won the last three matchups with Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes at the helm and leads the all-time series, 7-3, including a 5-1 edge in Baltimore. The Chiefs prevailed last season at M&T Bank Stadium, 34-20, after building a 17-point halftime lead. Mahomes completed 31 of 42 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns. Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman both had touchdown catches, and tight end Travis Kelce caught six passes for 87 yards. Jackson was 15 for 28 for 97 yards and a touchdown, and he also rushed for 83 yards to lead Baltimore's rushing attack.

Key Storylines

Can the Ravens finally break through against the Chiefs?

The Chiefs have been the Ravens' biggest nemesis since Jackson became their starting quarterback midway through 2018. The Chiefs have won back-to-back AFC titles and remain a Super Bowl contender led by Mahomes, who celebrated his 26th birthday Friday. This isn't a playoff game, but a victory over the Chiefs would end the narrative that Kansas City has Baltimore's number.

Will Baltimore be forced to shuffle its offensive line?

The status of All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle/questionable) could lead to changes on the offensive line. If Stanley can't go, the most likely scenario would be Alejandro Villanueva shifting from right tackle to left tackle, where he played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Patrick Mekari taking over as the starting right tackle. The Ravens had serious trouble in Week 1 keeping Las Vegas Raiders edge rushers Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue away from Jackson. Whoever plays up front for Baltimore will face another challenge from Chiefs pass rushers Frank Clark and Chris Jones.

Will being home underdogs bring out the Ravens' best?

Baltimore has not been an underdog at home since 2019, when the New England Patriots arrived in town unbeaten (8-0). The Ravens put a 37-20 beatdown on the Patriots in that primetime matchup, and M&T Bank Stadium will be buzzing again Sunday night with fans ready to rock the house. The Ravens have won five straight home openers and will hope the playoff-like atmosphere helps them respond.

Ravens offensive line vs. Chiefs pass rush

For Jackson to thrive through the air, he needs time to throw. That was an issue Week 1 in Las Vegas, where the Raiders put constant pressure on Jackson. Baltimore's offensive line can't afford to allow Clark and Jones to have the same success that Crosby and Ngakoue did. Meanwhile, the offensive line needs to open ample running lanes for Ty'Son Williams, Latavius Murray and Jackson. If the Ravens run the football well, they have a chance to control time of possession and keep Mahomes on the sideline.

Ravens defense vs. Patrick Mahomes

When you play the Chiefs, it comes down to this matchup. Having weapons like Hill, Kelce and Hardman makes Mahomes even more dangerous, and his ability to extend plays and throw accurate passes from different angles is uncanny. Mahomes is going to make plays, but limiting the Chiefs' big plays and forcing Mahomes to stay patient will be key. It will also be interesting to see how aggressively Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale blitzes the Chiefs signal-caller, who has excelled beating extra pressure. The Ravens' defense has been thinking about this matchup since the schedule was released, a chance to rise to the occasion against Mahomes in prime time.

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