Tonight’s matchup features Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens against the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. This has the makings of one of those high-scoring, whoever has the ball last wins the game matchups. Everyone is dubbing this game as an AFC Championship preview. One area that’s not discussed enough for tonight’s game is that these are two of the best-coached teams from a preparation standpoint. That shows up in all phases of the game, including the kicking game.
On one hand, you have Mahomes—who has beaten Baltimore twice in the past two seasons—an underdog on the road where home-field advantage isn’t nearly the same due to COVID. Kansas City is 23rd defensively in DVOA. Their pass defense is 27th, and they’ve allowed 54% of passes to be successful. It gets worse. Their defense is 30th in success rate. On offense, Mahomes hasn’t been able to hit the big play. While the highlights show a few here and there, the Chiefs are 22nd in explosive play rate and dead last in explosive pass rate this season. If you haven’t seen Jackson play yet this season, he’s progressed so much as a passer.
I swung and missed on the Saints yesterday because apparently, Taysom Hill is worthy of targets. Baltimore will put the ball in the hands of their best player. I like the Ravens tonight.