These teams come into this game both hot on offense, and both have defenses that can be suffocating. This will be the first time in over 50 years that Baltimore will be hosting a Championship game, and with Lamar Jackson under center, the Ravens will be tough to beat. This is the sixth straight conference championship game for the Chiefs, but it is the first they have had to go on the road to play. The Weather is expected to be cold and rainy in Baltimore on Sunday.
The Ravens key advantage against the Chiefs will be their rushing game and ability to attack the middle of the field – an area Kansas City’s defense has struggled with all season, which Buffalo was able to exploit effectively.
With Kansas City defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi injured before entering the game and safety Mike Edwards and linebacker Willie Gay sustaining injuries early in their matchup, Buffalo took full advantage of an open field against them by turning to their run game often and amassing 182 yards and two touchdowns on the ground through James Cook, Ty Johnson out of the backfield, Josh Allen running designed runs as well as scrambles.
Kansas City’s defense has been stellar this season, particularly against the pass. They ranked 28th in EPA per play allowed and 15th in rushing success rate allowed; 18th on Pro Football Focus’ run defense grade list; 14th for tackles per attempt made.
Kansas City will likely find themselves outclassed by Baltimore’s formidable run game, ranking third in EPA per rush and success rate, as well as fifth on Pro Football Focus’ rushing grade ranking.
After much struggle this season, Kansas City appears to be finding their rhythm on offense. There were glimpses of promise against the Bengals and Dolphins back in Week 17 and Wild Card Round, respectively, but this weekend really will established Kansas City’s return. Poor red-zone execution led to too many field goals being kicked in those games; Kansas City found more end-zone touchdowns against Buffalo than before! The Redzone offense could be the key to winning for both teams.
Patrick Mahomes may not have set any records in Buffalo due to low passing volume, but he nonetheless completed 17-of-23 passes for 268 yards while playing nearly flawlessly. Travis Kelce had one of his best games of the season while rookie wideout Rashee Rice proved once again an impact player on offense.
Marlon Humphrey will be critical in Baltimore’s matchup against Kansas City playmakers, but missing him against the Texans would not have had as big an effect as it would have against K.C.
Humphrey will present the Chiefs with a much tougher challenge as their offense looks for ways to take advantage of him and beat them on offense.
The Ravens will be able to run the ball, the Chiefs will attempt to run the ball, and if Pacheco is 100 per cent, they should have some success against Raven’s the run defense. With ran moving in I think that favors Mahomes over Jackson and with both teams trying to control the clock I like the Chiefs +3.5.
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