On Monday night football the NFL’s two best teams will square off in an early season matchup. Despite it only being September there is much on the line, find out the three keys to victory for the Chiefs has the head to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
It’s not all that often in the NFL that a week three game in late September will carry much weight, but that is the case as the Chiefs will play the Ravens on Monday Night Football. For the first time in NFL history, two former MVP’s both 25 or younger will square off in what not only looks to be an epic contest, but also a game with major implications for playoff seeding, as well as for the elusive first round bye week. Here are the three keys to victory for the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Stop the run
Everything that Baltimore does is set up off of their ability to run the football, and early on this season they look as dominant as ever. Through two games the team has rushed for 341 yards on 67 carries, averaging an absurd 5.1 yards per carry. In short every two times they run the ball it’s a first down. We saw them dominate Houston up front in week two.
They have also found early chemistry featuring THREE running backs to get touches, Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards. Throw in MVP Lamar Jackson and the four players look hard to stop. Stopping the run without outstanding linebacker play can be hard to do but it’s the test the Chiefs will face on Monday. The Chiefs do however have an outstanding defensive line and with the return of run stuffing interior defensive linemen Mike Pennel the Chiefs will need to figure a way out to stop the middle runs but also keep Jackson contained on the edges. It looks like it could be a big spy week for the Chiefs defense as they may elect to use Tyrann Mathieu or Dan Sorensen around the box more to help stop the run and read. Everything the Ravens do offensively starts with the run, so winning that battle will be imperative for a Chiefs victory.
2. Get Ahead Early
It sounds odd saying this but the Kansas City Chiefs have yet to score a first quarter touchdown in 2020. With the Chiefs absurd amount of talent on the offensive side of the ball this is unacceptable, and a slow start against a ball control power football team like the Ravens could spell disaster early.
The Chiefs have more than enough talent to start fast on Baltimore, which we saw last season, but what we also saw was them be up 30-12 at one point in that contest a year ago. Baltimore is not designed to play from behind. They want to get an early lead and run teams into submission. The Chiefs and also the Tennessee Titans both built up early two possession leads on the Ravens last season and both times it forced the Ravens into something they are not, which is a non dynamic pocket passing team, which really showed some of the flaws and inefficiencies in Lamar Jackson’s game. When Jackson can make his reads on RPO’s and get the ball out of his hands quickly, Baltimore is hard to stop, but sitting in the pocket and surveying a defense down field is not his strong suit. Start fast and take the Ravens out of their game early.
3. Put Patrick Mahomes in a position to out duel Lamar Jackson
While both players have outstanding weapons and supporting players to help them, it is going to come down to which of the two can out duel the other for longer. Both are the present and the future of the NFL and there is no better stage to show off their ability to play than on Monday Night football. The game will have it’s share of up’s and downs for both, but competitors find a way to shine under the brightest lights. Buckle up Chiefs Kingdom, we are in for a good one.