The Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens are teams heading in different directions when they face off in Week 2 on Sunday night. The two-time defending AFC champs look ready to take the AFC by storm again while the Ravens are hurting in every way.
Patrick Mahomes against Lamar Jackson is as fun as it gets, so it’s the perfect game to cap off another great Sunday of football.
|Game: Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1) |
Location: M&T Bank Stadium. Date: Sunday
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-4||-200||o55½|
Head to Head
The Chiefs have dominated the recent matchups, winning the last four contests dating to 2015. They’ve played each of the last three seasons, with Mahomes besting Jackson every time. Last season, Kansas City won 34-20 in Baltimore in Week 3 as a 3½-point favorite behind a monster game (385 yards, 4 TDs) from Mahomes.
Since Mahomes became the Kansas City starter in 2018 — the year Jackson was drafted — he has played and beat Baltimore every year, covering the spread in the last two meetings. There’s no shame in that for Jackson because the Chiefs are the class of the AFC and it’s going to be tough for him and the Ravens to break that streak this season.
The Chiefs lead the all-time series 7-4.
Kansas City Chiefs
Next game: vs Los Angeles Chargers
The Chiefs were on the ropes for most of their Week 1 game against the visiting Cleveland Browns, trailing 22-10 at the half and struggled to get much going on offense. But, once the third quarter started, Kansas City started to look like its normal self and scored 10 unanswered points to close within two. Immediately after former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt made it 29-20 with a rushing touchdown, Mahomes found Tyreek Hill deep for a 75-yard score.
This throw and catch by Mahomes and Tyreek Hill 🙌
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2021
A few minutes later, Kansas City went ahead for good on a second Mahomes to Travis Kelce score. The Chiefs went for two and didn’t get it, so they ended up winning 33-29 and failed to cover as 5½-point favorites. Mahomes finished with 337 passing yards and three TDs, Hill had 11 catches for 197 yards with a score and Kelce caught six passes for 76 yards and two scores.
The over (55 points) hit on that final Kelce touchdown, but it was in question for awhile.
Kansas City is pretty healthy on offense but could be without defensive end Frank Clark (hamstring) and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (recovery from time spent on COVID list) against the Ravens. Neither of them were active against Cleveland but their absences aren’t expected to be long-term.
Next game: at Detroit Lions
Baltimore lost a heartbreaker on Monday night to the Las Vegas Raiders 33-27 in overtime. The Ravens raced out to a 14-0 lead with touchdowns from Ty’Son Williams (35-yard run) and Marquise Brown (10-yard catch) in the first six minutes. Las Vegas kept hanging around and was eventually able to push the game to overtime on a Daniel Carlson 55-yard field goal.
Overtime was pretty crazy and featured an enormous goal-line stop and red-zone interception by the Ravens’ defense, but the game ended on a Derek Carr touchdown pass to a wide open Zay Jones.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 14, 2021
The Ravens lost as three-point road favorites and the over (50 points) easily hit on the back-to-back field goals by Justin Tucker and Carlson at the end of the fourth quarter. Jackson’s numbers weren’t crazy (235 passing yards, 86 rushing yards) but he lost two fumbles, one of which set up Las Vegas’ game-winning drive in overtime.
Baltimore has already been crushed by injuries as running backs Justice Hill (torn Achilles), Gus Edwards (torn ACL) and J.K. Dobbins (torn ACL) are all out for the season. Cornerback Marcus Peters (torn ACL) will also miss the rest of the year. Tight end Nick Boyle (knee) is on short-term injured reserve and will be out for the next few weeks.
Defensive end Derek Wolfe (back/hip) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle) both missed Monday’s game and their status for Sunday is in doubt. Also, starting left guard Tyre Phillips (knee) was carted off against the Raiders so he could be out awhile as well. It’s not looking great for the Ravens.
Betting on the Game
The Chiefs opened as 3½-favorites and are currently favored by four points on the road against the Ravens on the BetUS Sportsbook, which is do-able for that high-powered offense against such an injured Baltimore team. However, Kansas City is 1-8 against the spread in its last nine regular-season games going back to last season. For whatever reason, the Chiefs have been letting inferior opponents hang around enough to fail to cover yet still manage to win.
Look for this spread to be bet up a point or two as the Las Vegas NFL odds and bettors recognize just how disadvantaged Baltimore is right now, especially on offense with the lack of healthy playmakers around Jackson. The Chiefs also could get Clark and Mathieu, two of the most important defensive players, back on Sunday.
The Ravens ended the 2020 season 6-0 against the spread in their final six games. Of course, they look a lot different now after their disastrous training camp and preseason. This is still a well-coached team with a tough-to-defend quarterback, speed on the outside and a capable offensive line. They’ll also be desperate to avoid a 0-2 start in what should be a competitive AFC North.
As far as NFL picks against the spread go, the Chiefs are probably the team to back here. It seems like Kansas City worked out some of its offseason rust in the first half against Cleveland and was firing on all cylinders as that game went on. It’s not going to be easy for an undermanned Ravens team to slow down Mahomes and Co., especially if both Peters and Smith are not in the secondary. Unless the spread gets to a touchdown or more, which is unlikely, Kansas City is the way to go.
Right now, the Ravens’ moneyline is +170 but it could move closer to +200 as the week progresses, especially if Baltimore gets more negative injury news. That isn’t great value for a depleted team facing off with the back-to-back AFC champions.
If it reaches +200 or so, though, it’s not a bad play if you’re betting online. With Jackson’s speed and ability to make plays by himself, it’s possible for the Ravens to hang a lot of points up on the Chiefs and, since they have one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, win on a late field goal.
Both the Chiefs’ and Ravens’ Week 1 games went over the point total and, at 55½ points, look for this matchup to go over as well. These teams both have some key defensive injuries and have electric quarterbacks who point up points quickly. They also each boast premier kickers who likely won’t be missing extra points or short field goals and are good bets for making long kicks. Those points all add up.
Last season, Kansas City (No. 6) and Baltimore (No. 7) were among the league leaders in points scored. The Chiefs only had a middle-of-the-pack defense in 2020 while the Ravens had a top-10 unit, albeit one that isn’t as strong now due to offseason departures (like Matt Judon) and injuries. The over is a good pick, even if it moves up a couple points to 57 or 58.