The Chiefs and Ravens are hoping their “Monday Night Football” matchup in Baltimore (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN) will be a preview of the AFC championship game that didn’t happen in 2020. While Kansas City, the No. 2 seed, won the conference and then Super Bowl 54 over San Francisco, Baltimore, the No. 1 seed, was upset by Tennessee in the divisional playoffs.
Both the Chiefs and Ravens are off to strong 2-0 starts. The Chiefs routed the Texans and edged the Chargers. The Ravens romped over both the Browns and the Texans.
Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson didn’t get to face off as past and future MVPs last postseason. This regular-season rematch from 2019, however, will go a long way in trying to secure the top seed, home-field advantage and lone bye this year.
Here’s how Sporting News sees the marquee SNF matchup of QBs and teams playing out, plus betting information you need to know for the game.
Chiefs vs. Ravens odds for “Monday Night Football”
The Ravens have held the classic home-field advantage bump in this game, now with a little extra in their favor. The Chiefs would likely be 3.5-point favorites in Kansas City. There will be no fans in attendance, however, making this more of a neutral game feel in prime time.
More: Updated NFL quarterback rankings | Week 4 NFL power rankings
Chiefs vs. Ravens all-time series
The Chiefs have won three in a row, including last Sept. 22 in Kansas City, when they beat the Ravens, 33-28. Mahomes also got the better of Jackson on Dec. 9, 2018, 27-24 in overtime, also in Arrowhead Stadium. Before that, the Chiefs won in Baltimore, 34-14 on Dec. 20, 2015.
The Ravens previously were on a four-game winning streak in the rivalry. The Chiefs hold a 6-4 edge in the 10 meetings going back to 1999.
Three trends to know
— 54 percent of spread bettors like the Chiefs to cover the small number on the road. 62 percent of moneyline bettors like the reigning champs to win outright.
— 64 percent of over/under bettors like the game to surpass its high point total with two explosive offenses and elite quarterbacks on the field.
— The Chiefs were 14-5 against the spread last season. They’ve started 1-1 this season. The Ravens were 10-6-1 against the spread last season. They are 2-0 this season.
Three things to watch
The Ravens’ running game vs. the Chiefs’ run defense
Baltimore is loaded in the rushing attack to support Jackson. Veteran Mark Ingram has been rejuvenated by dynamic rookie JK Dobbins, and Gus Edwards is a strong third back. The Chiefs struggled against the running games of the Texans and Chargers. The Ravens need to use their passing game to get a lead, operate with a positive game script and pound away.
The Chiefs’ passing game vs. the Ravens’ pass defense
The Ravens have dominated early against Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson. Mahomes presents a whole different problem when throwing the ball. The Chiefs have a variety of weapons to create matchup problems for the Ravens’ defensive backs, who are weaker at safety without Earl Thomas and just lost Tavon Young in the nickel. Kansas City can be aggressive to get Baltimore out of its desired game script.
Travis Kelce vs. Mark Andrews
The Ravens haven’t looked good vs. athletic tight ends, first against David Njoku and then against Jordan Akins and Darren Fells. The Chiefs gave up production to Akins in Week 1 and a solid game to Hunter Henry in Week 2. The more producitve between Kelce and Andrews, two elite receiving tight ends, will be on the winning side.
Stat that matters
751. That’s how many combined passing yards Mahomes has posted in two games against the Ravens. He has thrown for 5 TDs, rated 108.1 and thrown for 8.96 adjusted yards per attempt. The Ravens haven’t been able to slow him down much and the Chiefs’ best plan is remain aggressive with the pass, given the Ravens can be much better against rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the running game.
Chiefs vs. Ravens prediction
The Chiefs have the better matchup all across the board in the passing game to exploit the Ravens’ cornerbacks, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, who have been playing average football early. The Ravens will try to counter with a heavy dose of running and ball control, led by Jackson, but Mahomes’ mastery of their defense will continue.
Chiefs 34, Ravens 27
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