As far as Monday Night Football matchups go, tonight’s might be the best on this season’s slate as the undefeated (2-0) Kansas City Chiefs head to Maryland to take on the similarly unbeaten (2-0) Baltimore Ravens (8:15 PM ET Monday; TV: live on ESPN).
Here USAbetting previews this huge NFL clash, giving our betting picks and Kansas City Chiefs vs Baltimore Ravens predictions for the game.
Mahomes vs Jackson
It is a matchup that is being called by many as a possible AFC Championship preview and with good reason. Both Baltimore and Kansas City have looked like the teams who reached the AFC postseason last year, and in KC’s case, like the team that is the defending Super Bowl champion. Both have found great success behind two of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Last year’s reigning MVP, Jackson is continuing to turn heads while Mahomes, last year’s Super Bowl MVP is continuing to dazzle with his immense talent. For fans of the next generation of the game, look no further than tonight.
Ironically, it was week three of last season that saw Kansas City and Baltimore, aka Mahomes and Jackson meet for the first time and neither disappointed. Mahomes, who threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns, walked away with the victory and a pristine QBR of 86.5. Jackson didn’t quite have his best offensive performance in the loss though he did use his legs to register as the team’s third-leading rusher, totaling 46 yards on the ground with one touchdown on eight carries. It is one of the best parts of Jackson’s game and KC, despite being the victor, didn’t quite have an answer for it. As far as keys to this year’s meeting, that is certainly something the Chiefs will have to be mindful of as Jackson already has 99 rushing yards in just two games.
On the year, both quarterbacks have excelled. It is no surprise their teams are among the best in the AFC. Jackson has thrown four touchdowns, no interceptions and has totaled close to 600 all-purpose yards through the first two weeks of the season. Mahomes is on his own MVP pace, totaling over 500 passing yards with five touchdowns, which is among the top-10 in the league. His 85.8 QBR is third best in the NFL.
Both of these offenses are driven by their two young signal callers and this meeting will likely be driven by Mahomes and Jackson as well. Though, that being said, the Chiefs and Ravens have strengths in a lot of other areas as well. For the Ravens, it is their defense that once again has emerged as among the best in all of football. In two games, Baltimore has allowed just a total of 22 points to opposing teams. By contrast, Jackson’s offense has scored 71 points, leading to the Ravens posting an average margin of victory of nearly 25 points per game. That is the best such mark in all of the NFL. From a pure scoring standpoint, the Ravens 71 points is also among the league’s best and is 14 points more than that of the Chiefs. It is for this reason that the odds are actually preferring Baltimore in this one, despite KC’s mark as defending Super Bowl champs.
Our Betting Preview’s Kansas City Chiefs vs Baltimore Ravens Predictions & Picks Verdict
Offensively, the Chiefs and Ravens are two of the top teams in the league. Both Mahomes and Jackson are fantastic on their own, but add in their various weapons both in the running and passing game, and you have got two lethal guys under center leading their teams. Both of these teams made the playoffs last year and while the Ravens’ run didn’t end how the team would have liked, Jackson and crew are determined to change that outcome this year. There is no better way for them to show that they can stand among the AFC’s top contenders, than by achieving a win over Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Going back to last regular season, the Ravens are currently riding a 14-game winning streak excluding postseason. That ranks as best in the NFL and it’s incredibly impressive. The streak will face its toughest test when the Chiefs come to town as it was KC who marked Baltimore’s last loss. Could that be the case again?
There are several factors at play but the most important to watch will be how Jackson runs the offense. His offensive line has at times been shaky and against the Chiefs strong pass rush, this will be something to watch. Jackson has been sacked more often than a guy with his skillset should expect to and it has been okay against lesser teams like the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans. Against the Chiefs, that line will have to give Jackson time to do what he does best. It won’t just be Jackson as the Ravens behind Mark Ingram, still have one of the best running games in the league. Ingram had three touchdowns against the Chiefs last year and combined with the addition of JK Dobbins, this is one area of huge strength for the Ravens.
The Ravens will have to limit Mahomes (as much as anyone possibly can), and keep playmakers like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and rookie standout Clyde Edwards-Helaire at bay. It is easier said than done. If the Ravens defense can do that and the offensive line can stand upright long enough for Jackson to do what he does best, then the Ravens can and will win this game. That is the pick for our Kansas City Chiefs vs Baltimore Ravens predictions:
- Take Baltimore to keep their roll going with a win over Mahomes and the Chiefs today. Bet Ravens -3pts @ best odds of -120 on the spread with Bovada or Bookmaker. The other option is to risk an extra half-point deficit for better odds: -3.5pts @ +100 (evens) with Intertops or BetOnline.
- These squads are offensive powerhouses so the over does seem an attractive bet. However, for the Ravens to win, they will need to show some defensive merit so take the under on the lofty 55 total points @ -110 with Bovada.