The Packers covered +3 last night to move #STPrimeTimePicks to 5-1! We are back with another preview and prediction for the incredible matchup tonight on Monday Night Football between the Chiefs (2-0) and the Ravens (2-0).
Week 3 Prime Time Picks: Chiefs (+150) vs Ravens (-3.5) O/U 54.5 – All lines via DraftKings
Not often does a Week 3 game feel like a Super Bowl, but that is what we have tonight as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs travel to Baltimore to take on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. It’s the defending Super Bowl champions against a team that’s won 14 straight regular-season games. Both teams are 2-0 and looking for a statement win, and this is sure to be a great game.
AFC Title Game Preview?
Many figured this would be the two teams in the AFC Championship game last January, but the Titans knocked the Ravens out, while the Chiefs went on to win the Super Bowl. Could this Week 3 game be a preview of a potential playoff clash?
Mahomes vs Jackson
This is as good of a quarterback matchup as you will find. It may be one of the most highly anticipated QB matchups ever. This will be the first game in NFL history that will feature two MVPs under the age of 26. Mahomes was the 2018 NFL MVP, while Jackson was the 2019 NFL MVP. Jackson is 21-3 as a starter in the regular season, with two of those losses coming against Kansas City and Mahomes. The teams went to overtime in 2018, with the Chiefs winning 27-24, and the Chiefs won again in 2019 by a score of 33-28. Both QB’s are off to great starts this year, as Mahomes has 5 TD’s, no interceptions, and a rating of 104.0, while Jackson has 4 TD’s, no interceptions, and a rating of 134.6. Mahomes has rushed 6 times for 54 yards for an average of 9.0 YPC, while Jackson has rushed 23 times for 99 yards, averaging 4.3 YPC. Lamar definitely runs more than Mahomes, and Mahomes has been more of a scrambler so far this season, whereas the Ravens draw up a ton of designed run plays for Jackson. Watching the two of them go head-to-head tonight is going to be incredible.
Not only does this game feature two of the league’s top quarterbacks, but the kicking matchup is one of the best as well. Kansas City’s Harrison Butker has been perfect so far this season, and led the league in scoring last year. He has amassed 445 points in his career, the most ever by a kicker after 47 games. He is also coming off a Week 2 game in which he drilled 3 field goals of 50+ yards in overtime to beat the Chargers. He made a 53 yarder, which was called back because of a penalty, then made a 58 yarder which was waived off because of a timeout, then drilled the 58 yarder again to win. Unreal.
On the other side, Baltimore’s Justin Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He has made 90.9% of his field goals, and has never missed from inside 29 yards. He is 226 for 237 from inside 49 yards and has clicked on 71% of his tries from at least 50 yards. Special teams will play a big part in this game, and both kickers will be ready to roll if a late field goal opportunity to win the game presents itself.
Ravens Running Game vs Chiefs Rushing Defense
The Chiefs biggest weakness is their defense against the run. Through two games this season, they rank 27th in rushing defense, and are coming off a game in which they gave up 183 yards and over 4 yards a carry to the Chargers. Trying to handle the Ravens rushing attack is no small task. They love to run the ball, and with weapons like Jackson, Mark Ingram, and Gus Edwards, they are very good at it. Last week, the Ravens ran the ball 37 times for 230 yards and a touchdown. That’s 6.2 YPC, which will be tough for the Chiefs defense to stop. Limiting the Ravens ground game will be a key for the Chiefs if they want to win this game.
No Home Crowd
The Ravens have not had a Monday night game at home since 2017, and now that they finally have one, they are forced to play without fans in the stands. The past two times these teams have met were both at raucous Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, with the Chiefs winning both. The Ravens are glad to be back at home, but the home field advantage will not be the same.
This is a toss-up. Both QB’s are exceptional and can do just about everything on the football field. I expect a lot of points and a lot of big plays in this one. Limiting the Ravens ground game will be a key for the Chiefs if they want to win this game. However, even if they give up some points, the Chiefs offense is capable of getting them back. Mahomes and company will be ready to attack a Ravens defense that is 5th best in the league right now. The Ravens first two opponents in the Browns and the Texans are not nearly on the level that the Chiefs offense is, so it will be interesting to see how they plan to stop Mahomes. The past two games between these teams have gone to the Chiefs at Arrowhead in very close games, and I think we will have another close game tonight. Both kickers are phenomenal, and it could very well come down to one of them making a kick near the end of the game. It may be one of those games where whoever has the ball last will win. In that case, I’ll take the 3.5 points with the defending Super Bowl champs.
Title Photo: Getty Images / Action Network