Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs Pick
Baltimore Ravens (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (10-2 SU, 8-3-1 ATS)
NFL Football Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday December 9th, 2018. 1:00PM (EST)
Where: Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City, M.O
By Jay Horne, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BAL +6.5/KC -6.5
Over/Under Total: 53.5
The Kansas City Chiefs overcame last week’s media fiasco, surrounding the untimely release of Kareem Hunt, with a 40-33 victory over the Oakland Raiders. Though the defense struggled, the Chiefs continued to ride the red hot arm of quarterback Patrick Mahomes who tossed 4 touchdown passes in the victory. Statistically speaking, the Chiefs have owned one of the best offenses in NFL history averaging an absurd 37 points per game. This week the Chiefs top rated offense will meet the league’s top ranked defense in the Baltimore Ravens in what promises to be an intriguing week 14 match-up.
Quarterback controversy brewing in Baltimore
Let’s just look at how fast things have turned for Baltimore in the last several weeks. Following the home loss to the Steelers, the Ravens were just 4-5 and largely an afterthought in the AFC North. On top of those factors, starting quarterback Joe Flacco had suffered a hip injury and the Ravens were forced to turn to rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson who many considered would never make it as an NFL quarterback. Yet 3 weeks later, the Ravens have amassed 3 straight wins and climbed back into the playoff hunt. In fact, Baltimore is now pressuring Pittsburgh in the race for the AFC North.
All of these things have been made possible due to the effectiveness of rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. The former Heisman Trophy winner has not exactly been overly impressive throwing the football per say. He has thrown just 1 touchdown pass and 3 interceptions. However, he has made things happen with his elusive running ability racking up 265 yards with 2 touchdowns on the ground. Jackson’s running ability matched with the heavily favored ground attack has done two important things; it has allowed the Ravens offense to control the football and eat time off the clock. Therefore, it gives their top ranked defense a better recipe for success rather than the inefficient turnover plagued offense we saw for the first half of the year.
Ravens vs. Chiefs match-up breakdown
At this point, I have to assume Jackson will remain the starter until told otherwise and as a fan I would really like to see the rookie quarterback go against this Chiefs defense. Kansas City’s defensive struggles were never more apparent than they were a week ago when they gave up 33 points to the dismal Oakland Raiders. Somehow the Chiefs defense made quarterback Derek Carr look like an All-Pro. Perhaps I should not be surprised, Kansas City ranks 31st in the NFL in total defense. The Bengals are the only team that has been worst. However, the Chiefs offensive success has overshadowed their inability to get off the field.
As a result, Lamar Jackson will have an interesting match-up this week. I mentioned earlier Jackson has not been the best with his arm and it is safe to say the Ravens will need to score points to win this game. Can Jackson’s running ability open things up in the passing game? I think it can if Baltimore stays in attack mode and does not get too conservative. If that happens, I think this game gets even more interesting when you look at the Chiefs offense vs. this Ravens defense. Despite the 40 point performance last week, the Chiefs struggled to run the football with backups Spencer Ware and Damien Williams. Mahomes was able to overcome the lack of running ability against one of the league’s worst defenses.
However, I believe the loss of Kareem Hunt is going to be more painfully obvious this week against a much better defense. Baltimore’s rush defense ranks 3rd in the NFL and I did not see anything last week to give hope in Spencer Ware at the backup position. I believe the coaching staff echoed that sentiment on Monday when they signed former backup Charcandrick West. When you consider the lack of running threat along with the fact the Ravens are an excellent pass coverage defense, the Chiefs are going to have their hands full this weekend. A few missed opportunities to convert first downs and the Chiefs offense may not get many 2nd chances with the way Baltimore has been eating up the clock. Call me crazy, but I like Baltimore in this spot. Of course I may have been crazy last week too when I predicted the Buccaneers would beat the Panthers, but that turned out well. Let’s go for a 2nd straight underdog winner!
Ravens vs. Chiefs betting trends
The Ravens are just 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games (2-1 ATS with Jackson) overall and 2-4 ATS in their last 6 meetings with the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been a strong road bet going 6-3 ATS in their last 9 trips on the road. For Kansas City, the Chiefs are 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 games but just 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Baltimore +6.5
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