The Kansas City Chiefs face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football in Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season. A matchup between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes is perfect for primetime television and NFL ratings.
Below, our Chiefs vs Ravens preview examines game info, odds for Sunday’s primetime contest and matchups that will decide this contest.
Chiefs vs Ravens: What you need to know
- The Ravens host the Chiefs at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:20 PM EST on NBC.
- Sportsnaut says the Chiefs beat the Ravens, 34-24
- Odds: The Chiefs are a four-point favorite with the over/under set at 53.5 points.
Patrick Mahomes vs Lamar Jackson
The Ravens’ offense was ravaged by injuries before the regular season and it showed in Week 1. Baltimore put the entire offense on Jackson’s back and while it worked for a majority of the game. But hero ball backfired on two game-deciding fumbles. He’s going to need to play at an MVP level against his opposition.
A good nickname for Mahomes might be “The Eraser”. If an offensive lineman makes a mistake and allows pressure or the Chiefs’ defense collapses for 50 minutes, the best player in the NFL saves the day. After delivering an epic comeback against the Cleveland Browns, Mahomes may not need the heroics in Week 2.
- Exercising Demons: Jackson is almost impossible for a defense to contain, he can beat most defenses however he wants. But Kansas City seems to have his number. In three starts against the Chiefs’ defense, Jackson has completed just 52.3% of his passes with a 78.9 passer rating and only scored one rushing touchdown. If Baltimore has any shot on Sunday, Jackson needs the game of his life.
- King of the North: AFC North teams should be glad Mahomes is outside the division. According to NFL.com, Mahomes is an 8-0 with a 72.4% completion rate, 26-3 TD-INT ratio and a 126.5 passer rating against the AFC North.
Advantage: Patrick Mahomes
Travis Kelce vs Ravens’ secondary
Darren Waller destroyed the Baltimore Ravens. The 6-foot-6 tight end finished the night with 10 catches for 105 receiving yards and a touchdown. The wildest part of his performance is Derek Carr missed on several of his 19 throws towards the star tight end. You can bet Kelce, who watched the game closely, noticed and is counting down the days until Chiefs vs Ravens.
To be fair, very few teams have a chance against Kelce. He broke the NFL’s single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end (1,416) last year and he might top it in a 17-game season. Oh, he also holds the NFL records for most 1,000-yard seasons by a tight end (five) and most 100-reception seasons by a tight end (twice).
- Mr. Reliable: Speaking of Kelce, his matchups against the Ravens’ defense each of the past three years have delivered practically identical results. At least 70-plus receiving yards and six-plus receptions every time. He has only found the end zone once against Baltimore, so there’s something to improve on.
- Charred Bird: The Ravens’ safeties and linebackers did next to nothing to stop Waller in Week 1. Pro Football Focus handed out alarming grades to Deshon Elliott (57.5 in coverage), Malik Harrison (59.0) and Brandon Stephens (56.5).
Advantage: Travis Kelce
Chiefs’ offensive line vs Baltimore’s pass rush
The script from Chiefs vs Ravens game is very familiar. The Ravens blitzed 44.1% of the time last season, no matter who they faced. Fortunately, it often worked out thanks to a lockdown secondary and a deep array of pass rushers. Across 16 games, the Ravens had the fourth-highest pressure rate (26.8%) and seventh-lowest quarterback rating allowed (87.2). But, that hasn’t worked against the Chiefs nor was it successful in Week 1.
After seeing what happened to Mahomes in the Super Bowl, Kansas City remade its offensive line this spring. Creed Humphrey, the rookie center, thrived with zero pressures allowed in 65 snaps. The rest of this offensive line which includes Joe Thuney and Orlando Brown Jr. is also outstanding and will get better with time.
- Bad Habits: Baltimore’s defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale is great at what he does and it’s made this group one of the best in the NFL for years. But there are consequences to blitzing so much, especially when it doesn’t get home as we saw in Week 1 with 17 blitzes yielding bad results for Baltimore.
- King of Calm: Speaking of the consequences that come from blitzing, it’s a mistake against Mahomes. He led the NFL in yards per attempt (9.3), completion rate (70.4%) and TD-INT ratio (16-1) when blitzed in 2020.
Advantage: Kansas City Chiefs
The bottom line: NFL fans will certainly want to tune in for this Chiefs vs Ravens battle. We’re going to see an absurd number of highlights from two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. With that said, we don’t expect this one to be particularly close. Kansas City beat Baltimore 34-20 last season and there is an even bigger gap between the Chiefs’ offense and Ravens’ defense now.