Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs Prediction ATS
Baltimore Ravens (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, September 22, 1:00 PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
Point Spread: Balt +6.5 / KC -6.5 (BetNow)
Over/Under Total: 53
It’s a battle of 2-0 AFC division leaders at Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday when John Harbaugh brings his Baltimore Ravens to Kansas City to square off with Andy Reid’s Chiefs. Both teams lead their division and have a top 5 coach, but that is where the similarities end. In this battle of opposites, 5Dimes has made the home team 6.5 point favorites and set the game total at 53. Here’s the handicap for why the play is to take the points and play the Ravens.
Baltimore Will Put Up Points
It’s not a surprise that the NFL’s leading scoring team will be playing this game, but it is a surprise that it is the Ravens that have outscored the other 31 teams. Lamar Jackson has led his team to 82 points and almost 1100 yards in the first 2 contests, though he has had the benefit of playing 2 of the weaker defenses the leagues has to offer. Jackson has so far answered the critics that questioned his ability to throw the ball downfield, completing over 70% of his passes for more than 10 yards per attempt. His favorite targets are tight end Mark Andrews who has caught 16 balls and rookie wide out Marquise Brown who has 12 catches. Brown is stretching the field and keeping the defense honest while Andrews is working the middle of the field. The passing success has allowed Baltimore to maintain close to a 50-50 run – pass balance, but the Ravens foundation has been and will again this week be running the ball. They are averaging 5.7 yards per carry with Mark Ingram and Jackson carrying the load.
The Chiefs will defense may be better than the Dolphins and Cardinals that have already fallen to the Ravens, but it is not an intimidating unity. KC made Gardner Minshew look like Mark Brunell in week 1, but rebounded with a good effort in Oakland in week 2. When these teams met in week 14 last year the Ravens rolled up just under 200 rushing yards and led the game with less than a minute left before the Chiefs pulled out the game in OT. KC’s run defense has allowed 6 yards per carry so there is no reason to think the Ravens won’t have success. Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnulo will dial up some exotic blitzes to try and confuse Jackson but the Ravens offense has so far been prepared for whatever is thrown their way. I expect Jackson to be up to the challenge in a hostile Arrowhead environment and keep putting points on the board and keep the game close.
Kansas City Will Put Up Points – Also
This is not brilliant analysis. KC is an offensive machine and have not been stopped since Patrick Mahomes took over behind center, but the Ravens did slow them down in week 14 last year. KC only put up 24 points during regulation against Baltimore which was their lowest total for the year. Baltimore runs a complex defensive scheme that confuses young QBs and last year had talent that could contain any offense, which they did against Mahomes and the Chiefs. This year Baltimore may have more trouble containing the high-flying Chiefs. The Cardinals just put up 349 yards against Baltimore but only converted those yards in to 17 points. Baltimore lost Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in the off season and though they have tallied 6 sacks against the Dolphins and Cardinals, their pass rush is a big step down from last year. Mahomes with time will have success against the Raven secondary even with All Pro safety Earl Thomas defending the middle of the field.
KC will not fall behind as Baltimore’s first 2 opponents and have to abandon the run, but the KC rushing attack has not been very effective through 2 weeks. Without being able to run efficiently, the Chiefs have struggled in the Red Zone, only getting in the end zone on 37% of their trips inside the 20 compared to over 70% touchdowns last year. The Ravens should keep the pressure on KC’s red zone offense and make the Chiefs settle for field goals on some of their drives, keeping the game close.
This Game Will Be Settled in the 4th Quarter
Both offenses have big advantages in this game. Both have unique athletes at quarterback that are difficult to prepare for and neither quarterback has thrown an interception in the first 2 weeks. The Ravens can set the tempo for the game and make opponents rush and make mistakes because they know they may get limited chances. Baltimore is a hard team to pull away from and with Jackson showing better passing ability in 2019 they can catch up if they fall 2 touchdowns behind. I don’t think KC can knock out the Ravens in the first half and the longer Baltimore hangs around they more they can wear out their opponent. I think Baltimore has a chance to win this game in the last 4 minutes and may pull off the upset. At the very least, they keep the game within a touchdown.
Take the 6.5 points and play Baltimore. These teams are even and this game will be close throughout.