Three things to watch for as Ravens host Chiefs
3) Chris Jones
Another thing that stood out to me watching the Chiefs highlights was Chris Jones.
For those of you who don’t know, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones is one of the best interior pass rushers and overall game wreckers in the NFL. Jones has registered 1.5 sacks, 0.5 tackles for loss and four QB hits so far this season. Per Pro Football Focus, he is grading out at 81.9 from a pass rushing perspective so far this season and he is tied for ninth in total pressures among all players with 10 (shoutout @ColeJacksonRSR for the stat pull).
The concern is obvious here with a Ravens offensive line that allowed four sacks, three passes deflected, and five QB hits last week against the Texans. Now J.J. Watt had two sacks, a pass deflection, and three QB hits in the contest so it wasn’t like everyone was getting in on the act against the Ravens front.
But the offensive line has been a bit concerning the first two weeks of the season and part of that is growing pains. Rookie RG Tyre Phillips had a rough day Sunday including this submission:
The game is obviously moving extremely fast for all rookies but especially along the offensive line. Also, filling the shoes of a sure fire Hall of Fame player is never easy either.
I haven’t been particularly impressed with Orlando Brown Jr. in pass protection so far either. Most of his struggles came against Watt last week but with Jones on the horizon this week, there’s concern to be had there as well.
Overall, the Ravens have the ultimate equalizer for suspect pass protection in Jackson. He is the most mobile QB of all time and his ability to break a cluttered pocket is invaluable. However, if the Ravens continue to struggle in pass protection, Jackson may start to take off sooner than need be, anticipating breakdowns that may not actually be occurring. This is something to keep an eye on moving forward
Jones exploits aside, keep an eye on Taco Charlton along the defensive front as well for the Chiefs. The former 28th overall pick in 2017 was jettisoned by the Cowboys last season and landed in KC on a free agent deal this summer and had a sack and two QB hits last week despite only drawing 27% of the snaps. He stood out on the highlights last week so he could be in line for a bigger role this week.
The Details: Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Point Spread: Ravens -3.5
Radio: 98 Rock/WBAL 1090 AM
TV: ESPN/WBAL-TV Baltimore
Commentary: Steve Levy (play-by-play), Brian Griese (analyst), Louis Riddick (analyst), Lisa Salters (reporter)
Prediction: This is probably one of the more difficult Ravens games to predict in recent memory for me. On one hand, the Ravens “need” this win more than the Chiefs who have already proven they can beat Baltimore twice. On the other hand, the Chiefs are absolutely freaking loaded on offense and the Ravens defense has been stout so far but relatively untested. I see this being a high-scoring contest with the Ravens eking it out late. 33-29 Ravens.