Take a deep breath. It’s Week 3.
The Ravens beating the Kansas City Chiefs in front of a national audience on Monday night would make the Ravens — let me check my notes — 3-0. It will not give them the top seed and a bye in the AFC Playoffs this season. It will not earn the team a free pass to play in the Super Bowl. It will not, in fact, allow Ravens fans to dunk on Chiefs fans on Twitter.
Well, it will do that.
But even that will be a little hollow, no? For the Ravens, the yardstick of their success is now measured in playoff wins. Beating the Chiefs on Monday night does nothing to fix their recent playoff woes situation. It does not make the Chiefs feel like they don’t have a chance against the Ravens if they do square off later in the year. It does none of those things.
And forget the confidence angle for the Ravens. These are John Harbaugh’s Ravens. They are always going to embrace a fight and a challenge, and, win or lose Monday night, they would take on the Chiefs in a potential playoff rematch with swagger and a chip on their shoulders. But this is still a big game. A really big game. Why? Because it’s the Chiefs and Ravens. Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Flashy receivers and top-tier tight ends. Stud rookie running backs. It’s a big game because it features great teams and great individual players.
The Ravens need to be efficient in this game. They need to produce points with every drive, steal some possessions from the Chiefs with turnovers, and control the flow of the game. This is a monumental challenge, but the Ravens have the roster and players to pull it off.
And, so do the Chiefs. They are good. Really, really good. They have a world-class quarterback, coach, and offensive playmakers, and they have pass-rushers and a dangerous playmaking safety. They are really just as good as advertised.
This one should go down to the wire. And it should be fun, even if it means absolutely nothing going forward in regards to the 2020 NFL season.
- Gus Edwards is going to be a big factor, assuming the Ravens don’t fall into an early hole. Look for Edwards to rush for more than 70-yards, with a touchdown.
- Chuck Clark is going to grab an interception off a deflected ball. I look for the Ravens to press the outside receivers and make the Chiefs beat them in the middle of the field — where they are, not surprisingly, very good. But there’s a lot of traffic in that part of the field. Deflections happen.
- Lamar Jackson will total 375-plus yards, be involved in two touchdowns, and have a turnover. It will be a really good showing in front of the nation.
- Good news: Justin Tucker nails three field goals in his “much-anticipated” showdown with Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker. Bad news: The Ravens needed one of those to be an extra point, instead.
Final Score: Chiefs 31 Ravens 30