The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated against the Baltimore Ravens in their last three matchups. Sunday night both teams will meet under the lights in Baltimore for yet another matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Here are the three keys to a Kansas City victory.
- Make Lamar Jackson throw the ball down the field
Lamar Jackson is a dynamic football player. He can change the outcome of games and can put the opposing defenses in a bind. As we all know well by now this is all due to his ability to use his legs to create plays as opposed to his arm. The reason I included the “throw the ball downfield” portion is that when Jackson can use RPO’s and run action plays to dump down the ball to running backs and tight ends, the Ravens offense is effective.
When they can line up and smash the ball in the run game they are effective, and of course when Jackson takes off with his legs that is where the Ravens are most deadly. It is when he has to throw from the pocket, or throw the ball deep down the field, that we have seen him struggle. His accuracy is not there, and neither is his vision. With a beaten and battered offensive line, the Chiefs defense front could have a big game.
Jackson threw for 235 yards and a touchdown on a bad Las Vegas Raiders defense on Monday night. This week if he has to throw the ball 30 times it should point to a Kansas City victory.
2. Continue to create big plays against the Ravens defense
Patrick Mahomes has had three of his most dominant regular season performances against the Ravens in the last three seasons. From the late-game heroics in 2018 to the long ball assault in 2019, and the utter annihilation of Baltimore last season. What has killed the Ravens, and propelled the Chiefs to victory has been explosive plays that have created lopsided scores and forced Jackson to throw the football.
The deep balls and explosive plays have been effective against Baltimore because Andy Reid has done a great job of calling plays to counter Baltimores blitz game. The Ravens bring pressure at a very high rate, and the Chiefs have been able to buy just enough time for Mahomes to find his deep targets who have been in one on one situations. These deep plays change the entire outcome of the game vs Baltimore. It forces the Ravens away from running the ball and killing the clock, as well as continuing to not let Jackson get comfortable. The Chiefs have the speed and skill to create deep plays, and Baltimore’s defense is a shell of its former self. Look for the deep ball early and often.
3. Win third down
I put this as a key to victory for the Chiefs over the Cleveland Browns and the Chiefs won the third-down battle that game going 9 of 13 attempts compared to the Browns going 2 and 7. In the Ravens week one matchup vs the Raiders they went just a mere 3-12 on third down attempts as compared to the Raiders going a modest 7-15. Third down matters more than any other down on any given drive. The Chiefs managed to take the lead against the Browns on a third-down this past weekend.
It’s a critical down, the most important down. Win the down and your offense gets another chance to continue to drive the ball down the field, gassing the defense. Win the down and your defense gets off the field to rest while the opposing offense still can’t find a way to get into a rhythm. Last season the Chiefs went 10 for 13 on third down while Baltimore went 3 of 9. In fact, the past three seasons the Chiefs have won the third-down battle against Baltimore. I don’t expect it to be any different this year.