In Week 1, the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens had moments where it looked like they would lose as favorites. Only the Ravens lost while the Chiefs survived. With an 0-1 start, due to an overtime loss, and the Ravens playing on Monday Night Football, they’ll have one less day to rest and prepare for the Chiefs.
After an emotional loss in Las Vegas, that extra day would’ve been helpful moving forward. Less rest and recovery could play a huge factor in this game knowing the Ravens have already lost multiple players for the year due to injuries.
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Sunday Night Football Prediction Week 2
Throughout the Patrick Mahomes era, the Chiefs have had unimaginable success in September, posting a perfect 11-0 record in the last four seasons, including this season, during the month of September. In those 11 games, including the game against the Browns last week, Mahomes has put together full-season stats, with 3,641 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, and no interceptions.
The Chiefs are always switching things up year-to-year, keeping opponents guessing as to what they might do next. Kansas City is unpredictable on offense and can catch you sleeping in many different ways. They just scored 33 points against the Cleveland Browns, who kind of looked solid on defense, after all.
The Chiefs will catch you off guard in September by sometimes rushing more than passing, something they did last year in their first couple of games. Against the Browns, they threw the ball 36 times and ran 25 times. Again, they’re forcing defenses to guess as to what the offense will do.
When you think they’re going to run a lot, they throw, and vice versa. To be fair, the Browns took the early lead, so Kansas City had to be more aggressive and throw in this spot anyway.
Before the year began, Mahomes talked about this year’s playbook and explained that it’s very different than in years past. Every single year this team is coming up with new plays on offense to exploit their strength against the defense’s weakness. Clearly, it’s been working in their favor.
Going into Week 2, the Ravens will still start Ty’Son Williams, the rookie out of BYU. He looked solid in his debut for Baltimore, rushing nine times for 65 yards. The Ravens have some insurance now that they’ve signed Le’Veon Bell and Latavius Murray with Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins out for the year.
Williams showed enough in Week 1 while Murray ran ten times for 28 yards as the team’s second running back. However, Murray was the lead back in overtime for those who care. Bell is currently on the practice squad.
The Ravens defense has been a large reason why this Baltimore team has been successful. They allowed just 18.9 points in 2020, which was second-best in the NFL, while also ranking seventh in yards allowed per game at 329.8 yards per contest. However, against the Raiders in Week 1, Baltimore allowed 33 points, along with 491 yards of offense. Overtime was a factor, but still, the Ravens were not fundamentally sound on defense.
The Ravens will need to have more balance this year on offense and continue what they did last season on defense to be successful. That wasn’t the case against the Raiders. The defense is now without Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue, so that pass rush that was so dominant last season won’t be nearly as good this year. Still, the Ravens ended up with three sacks against the Raiders for 26 yards. The pass rush was effective enough, at least for Week 1.
I can admit that Williams outperformed expectations for Baltimore in Week 1. He had one big rushing touchdown for the first score of the game, and it was one where he found a hole, broke a couple of tackles, and scored. That was impressive.
Still, the Ravens will need James Proche and Devin Duvernay to actually step up and they didn’t in Week 1. Sammy Watkins was a solid deep ball threat for the Ravens, but having Watkins as the number two wide receiver isn’t good enough, in my opinion.
SNF Week 2 Pick: Chiefs 34, Ravens 24
Sunday Night Football Best Bets Week 2
SNF Best Bet: Chiefs -3.5 (-110)
The Chiefs always seem prepared early in the season, and that is what has propelled them later in the season. Sure, they might lose a game or two later in the year, but because they start out hot, they can shrug those losses off, feel no pressure, and go out and win the following week.
It’s just like sports betting. You would much rather start hot when you’re betting than try to work your way back up. The Chiefs always start extremely hot behind Patrick Mahomes.
Last season, Mahomes took the Chiefs to their second straight Super Bowl appearance, throwing for 4,740 yards along with 38 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He was second in the NFL with a QBR of 78.1.
The Chiefs will also welcome back their lead running back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who ran for 803 yards in just 13 games of action during his rookie campaign. No other rusher made more of an impact than Edwards-Helaire for Kansas City last season, and he’s healthy and ready to go for this Chiefs offense.
In the receiving game, the Chiefs had two players last year with over 1,000 yards receiving: Travis Kelce at tight end and Tyreek Hill at wideout. The dynamic duo combined for 2,692 yards receiving on a total of 192 catches, averaging around 14 yards per reception each, and helped make the Chiefs offense the juggernaut it is. Nothing much has changed going into this season, as the offense should still be one of the best in the league.
Against the Browns in Week 1, the Chiefs defense allowed 457 yards of offense, and Mahomes and the Chiefs offense still found a way to score more points. Mahomes threw for 337 yards on 27-of-36, along with three touchdowns. He found Hill 11 times for 197 yards and a touchdown and Kelce for six catches and 76 yards along with two touchdowns. Those two receivers are impossible to defend.
Meanwhile, the Ravens still have plenty of questions on offense. Williams looked solid as the running back one, but was it a product of the Raiders defense, or can he actually handle the role?
Lamar Jackson will still have Marquise Brown as his first-choice wide receiver. However, his second receiver will be former Chief Sammy Watkins and the third will be Devin Duvernay, who hasn’t really lived up to all the hype so far throughout his career. Duvernay caught one pass for six yards in the opening game. However, Watkins did get eight targets while catching four passes for 96 yards.
The Ravens defense still looks solid on paper, without a doubt, even without Marcus Peters. But this team still allowed 460 yards of offense on defense.
SNF Best Bet: Over 54.5 Points (-115)
The Ravens and Chiefs should have no problem scoring points offensively. The Chiefs were inconsistent last season on the defensive end, and while the Ravens were one of the better teams on defense, they’re going to struggle a bit this season. If the Ravens can’t get pressure on Mahomes, no matter how good the Ravens secondary is, the Chiefs will get open and make plays down the field.
To hit the over, I’ll be asking Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to score three touchdowns on the night. I think that’s fairly doable for an offense that averaged 363.1 yards per game along with 29.3 points per game in 2020. The Ravens scored 27 against the Raiders last week and should hover around that total throughout the season.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, scored 29.6 points per game last season, good for sixth in the NFL, while the Ravens were seventh. Of course, the Chiefs scored 33 points while allowing more yards on the defensive end.
The Ravens will look to exploit the Chiefs on the ground as they averaged 191.9 rushing yards per game last season. While Williams isn’t your typical number one running back, he’s familiar with the offense and was able to prove himself in the opener against the Raiders. He’s going to be a factor on the offensive end.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs rarely ran the ball last season. They’ll score plenty of points through the air, though, as they averaged 303.4 passing yards per game in 2020.
If the Ravens pass rush struggles to put a hand on Mahomes, those Chiefs receivers will use their speed to get open against a talented Ravens secondary. It doesn’t matter how good a secondary is if the pass rush can’t get any pressure. I fear that for the Ravens in this one.
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