Chiefs vs. Ravens: MVP battle could be AFC championship preview
This game is so good it warrants three marquee billings:
- AFC Championship Preview.
- NFL MVP Showdown.
- “Monday Night Football” Game of the Year.
What did we do to deserve this treat: The 2-0 Chiefs playing the 2-0 Ravens on Monday night in Baltimore?
They’re two of the best teams in the NFL with two of the best quarterbacks in the league facing off: Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP.
The previous two meetings between these QBs came down to the end (27-24 in OT in 2018 and 33-28 in 2019, both Chiefs home wins), and it would be of little surprise if this does as well.
Last season, Mahomes led the Chiefs to their first NFL title since 1970. Jackson, while leading the Ravens to a 14-2 regular-season record, set the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
“When those two quarterbacks are on the field, it’s magic on both sides,” Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey told reporters. “I see every week what Lamar can do, and I always see some highlight or something of what Mahomes can do. So, when you have two superstar quarterbacks like that, it’s going to be a fun game.”
Jackson has completed 78 percent of his passes this season for 479 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, and he is the Ravens’ leading rusher with 99 yards.
Since taking over as the Ravens’ starting quarterback midway through 2018, Jackson has lost just three regular-season games (he’s 21-3), and two of them have come against Mahomes and the Chiefs.
That stat is not lost on Jackson, but …
“It’s just like any other game,’’ Jackson told reporters this week. “I don’t have to focus on Mahomes. I have to focus on [the Chiefs] defense. I have to focus on scoring. I have to focus on my job and making my offense do our thing. But my defense has to worry about him.”
After Mahomes was named the Super Bowl MVP in February, he was asked if he sees himself as the “face of the NFL.’’
“There’s several guys that can be the face of the NFL,’’ Mahomes said deferentially. “Lamar was the unanimous MVP and he had one of the best seasons of all-time at the QB position.”
The Chiefs are riding an 11-game winning streak.
The Ravens have won 14 consecutive regular-season games. They seemed destined to meet the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game last year until they were knocked out by the Titans in the divisional round.
The Ravens’ defense, ranked first in the NFL, has allowed just 22 points in two games, is already plus-four in turnover margin this season and has produced six sacks.
Baltimore has gone 13 consecutive games allowing 21 points or fewer points, the NFL’s longest active such streak. In 11 of these games, the Ravens have held opponents to fewer than 20 points and four times they have allowed fewer than 10 points.
Star quarterbacks aside, if this game comes down to a field goal, the two teams also have two of the best kickers in the league.
Kansas City’s Harrison Butker, who last week kicked two 58-yard field goals, one in overtime, to beat the Chargers, led the league in scoring last year and has 445 points in his career — the most ever by a kicker after 47 games.
Baltimore’s Justin Tucker is the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history (90.9 percent). He never has missed from inside 29 yards, is 226-of-237 from inside 49 yards and has been successful on 71 percent of his attempt from 50 or more yards.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article