Ravens: A win vs. Chiefs puts Baltimore in the drivers seat for AFC North
The Baltimore Ravens sit behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North, but a win vs. the Chiefs could put them over-the-top and in the drivers’s seat.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Baltimore Raven seemed to be an after-thought in the AFC. The team went into their week 10 bye-week under the .500 mark with a stale offense and a defense that couldn’t stop a nosebleed. Since then, things have changed drastically.
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The biggest reason for this change is an obvious one: Lamar Jackson. Once the Ravens opted to start their rookie quarterback, the offense took a complete 180-shift in philosophy and took the league entirely off-guard. Now, Baltimore is tied for seventh in the NFL for rushing yards per game at 129.2 and have stunned opponents with their running prowess. The run-game’s rebirth was brought to fruition thanks to Jackson’s legs, as well as stud performances from running back Gus Edwards.
Jackson and Edwards have given this offense life, while the defense has seemingly re-found their groove. The way the team is playing has caught the attention of just about everyone, and now the Ravens seem to have placed themselves firmly in the playoff race. But why stop there?
A run for the AFC North?
Right now, Baltimore is just a half-game back for the AFC North division lead with the Pittsburgh Steelers. With how hot the Ravens have been since their bye-week, the team could easily leap frog Pittsburgh and claim the AFC North crown for the first time since 2012 (coincidentally, the last time Baltimore won a Super Bowl).
However, if the team wants to taste that reality, they must first take down the AFC’s best team: the Kansas City Chiefs. This game is no cakewalk, especially being a road game for the Ravens. The Chiefs are hosting a historically great offense behind the arm of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. With that being said, they shouldn’t be looked upon as world-beaters in Baltimore’s eyes.
The Chiefs just lost Pro Bowl running back Kareem Hunt to some horrific off-field issues, and Mahomes has been turnover prone this season. Not to mention the Chiefs host one of the entire league’s worst defenses. This game is very winnable for Baltimore, it’s simply a matter of putting it all together.
After the Chiefs, the team will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Chargers, and Cleveland Browns; all of which are extremely winnable games. The Ravens could very easily win out, which would almost assuredly provide them with a playoff spot. However, if the Steelers drop at least one more game (with the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints remaining on their schedule), the AFC North crown could be Baltimore’s for the taking. A win on Sunday against the Chiefs might not just be alarming to the league, but it could lock-up the division for the Ravens.