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Have you heard about the Ravens’ top-ranked defense? Have you also heard the Ravens are 3-0 with Lamar Jackson as the starter?
If you didn’t, well now you have — and those factors should lead to a pretty interesting game on Sunday.
FanPulse is a survey of fans across the NFL powered by SurveyMonkey. Each week, we send 32 polls to 100-plus plugged-in fans from each team.
Arrowhead Pride FanPulse predicts the Chiefs to win by 7
Baltimore Beatdown FanPulse predicts the Chiefs to win by 3
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Now that we’ve gotten through all of that, let’s head to the predictions!
Shawn Barber, Chiefs 33-27
This week’s prediction is dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe. #NeverMore
Keys to the Game
1. Chiefs’ great offense is better than the Ravens’ great defense. Chiefs still have the individual matchups to exploit the Ravens. Ravens defensive unit is collectively greater than any in the NFL. They lack the amount of elite level players needed to stop the Chiefs offense.
2. Chiefs defense avoid Man Coverage without a short Robber and a QB Spy to eliminate the quarterback scrabble. The Chiefs should dial up the Zone-Blitz scheme
3. Lamar Jackson needs to treated like a running back first and a quarterback second. Make him beat us throwing the ball into right Zone coverage.
4. The Ravens head coach is the Eagles’ former special teams coordinator. Chiefs need to very sharp on every phase of special teams.
Focus and intensity of the Sea of Red is monumental this week. Chiefs fans need to be loud and proud every time the Ravens have the ball. This is the first game of the fourth quarter of the regular season. Let’s go 1-0.
Aaron Borgmann, Chiefs 27-24
The Ravens have a good defense—I’ve read this all week. You know where else I read that, before the Chargers game, before the Jaguars game, before the Rams game. Guess what, nothing has stopped Big Red and Co. from scoring when and how they want. Why should this week be any different? As always, the key to the game will be the opposing offense trying to grind out long drives on the ground and methodically going down the field to keep Patrick Mahomes on the sidelines. Look, people are always looking for good storylines to make the game more interesting, but I don’t see it here. Despite the Ravens coming to town with several ex-Reid disciples on staff, despite the unknown health of some key players on each side, despite the uncertainty of the running back position, despite everything, why should we expect the outcome to be any different? At home no less. This game will feel like some other games, where others have had some margin of success, but in the end, the result will be the same. Chiefs remain unbeaten at home. Close, but a win.
John Dixon, Chiefs 23-16
When Andy Reid calls the opposing offensive coordinator “creative,” that should be a clue that there should be some unexpected turns in this game. In order to win, the Chiefs run defense will have to be on its toes, and the Chiefs offense will have to beat the best all-around defense they have yet faced. I’m tempted to call this one a narrow Ravens win... but then I remember that Patrick Mahomes plays for the Chiefs. So I’ll say that both teams will move the ball well but will often fall short of the end zone.
Matt Lane, Chiefs 31-23
This is a big game for both teams, as any is down the stretch. The Chiefs are fighting to maintain the one seed in the playoff picture and hold off a surging Chargers who come into Arrowhead on Thursday, while the Ravens have now tied the record of the Steelers in the “win” and are looking to overtake the division lead. Even more than just seeing implications, these two teams boast “top/elite” opposing units in the Chiefs offense against the Ravens defense. It’s a matchup to really test each team’s bread and butter.
When the Ravens have the ball, it’s all about defending the run. Lamar Jackson can make special passes from time to time but he’s far more inconsistent and erratic than he is special as a thrower right now. Instead, Baltimore dials up run after run even on third-and-medium to long and since Lamar Jackson has taken over at QB, they have the best rushing attack in the NFL. It’s going to be huge for the Chiefs defenders, especially on the edge (Ford, Houston, Speaks) to maintain gap responsibility and not try to be a hero. Let the help defenders arrive, who need to flow quickly and with proper angles and help get the Ravens ball control offense off the field.
When the Chiefs have the ball the real fun begins. Both teams have some injuries, Watkins for the Chiefs and Jefferson for the Ravens, so that about evens out. Then what you get a very blitz happy, aggressive defense that has multiple coverage shells and alignments against a creative offense that can attack you on every level form any play. Kelce should have another big day as the Ravens have struggled with TEs all year and some other receivers outside Tyreek Hill may be forced to step up and beat man coverage by scheme or skill. The ultimate key will be the mental matchup of Mahomes against the Ravens’ different blitz packages and how correctly he identifies them, slides the protection and gets the ball out to the right spot.
The loss of Watkins does hurt the Chiefs’ ability to simply ask their players to win matchups but the Chiefs’ overall team speed is a good matchup against the Ravens. The Ravens offense struggles to find consistency with such a limited attack and while they dominate the time of possession early, they fall behind the explosive offensive attack led by Mahomes.
Gary McKenzie, Chiefs 28-20
The situations surrounding this game are weird... Run-first opposing quarterback, top defense against a top offense, will Flacco play? The list goes on and on. Fortunately for the Chiefs, they have a coaching staff who performs well under seemingly any circumstance.
I think the Ravens defense will get their licks in, but the Chiefs offense is just too much for the Ravens to overcome at Arrowhead.
Matt Stagner, Chiefs 38-24
The playoff run starts this weekend in Arrowhead. It’ll be cold, the opponents will be tough, and the pressure will be on the Chiefs to win every game to keep their grip on the No. 1 seed and the first-round bye. 10 years ago, we would have said that a team needs a strong defense and to be able to run the football to win in December. Today, we firmly believe that it’s all about the QB. The Chiefs can overcome nearly any matchup problems or deficiencies, simply because of Mahomes and the explosive offense they’ve built around him. In a way, the Chiefs vs Ravens is the future against the past. My money is on the home team, and the future. 38-24 Chiefs. Actually, now that they signed Benjamin...
Craig Stout, Chiefs 28-20
The Ravens are one of the few teams in the NFL capable of playing defense at a high level (No. 1 in points per game in the league) and run the ball well on offense, especially of late behind Lamar Jackson. The Chiefs offense will have more struggles than against any other defense this year, leaving the Chiefs defense to pick up the slack. Jackson and the pistol offense will be able to move the ball on the ground, but if the Chiefs linebackers can read their keys well on first and second downs, they can force Jackson to be a thrower on third down — not his strong suit. The Chiefs defense sacks Jackson three times and intercepts him twice, doing just enough to counter the Ravens rushing attack. A cold day in KC with the time of possession favoring Baltimore keeps this one closer than most home games this year.
Kent Swanson, Chiefs 27-19
I do expect the Chiefs offense to be slowed down slightly by the league’s best scoring defense. Call me crazy, but I’m expecting a bounce back from the defense as well. Quarterbacks make their money in the red zone and on third downs. I expect the Ravens offense to stall out four times in or near the end zone, leading to four Justin Tucker field goals. Mahomes throws two touchdown passes and Damien Williams runs one in.
Pete Sweeney, Chiefs 33-27
The Lamar Jackson-and-Gus Edwards tandem bring their run-first offense to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, and unlike some analysts, I don’t love this matchup for the Chiefs. The Chiefs defense against skilled runners has felt like a problem all year, and the Ravens have two of them. Jackson with an option to give it to Edwards does not give me a ton of confidence when I think of the Chiefs and their overall tackling this season. Backed by the No. 1 defense when it comes to points per game in the league, and this could be closer than people imagine it. The problem with all that is this: for that to work for the Ravens, they’ll need the Chiefs to play their game, and at the end of the day, I expect Patrick Mahomes to showcase how talented he is against anybody, even without Sammy Watkins for nearly the third straight game. This game will come down to the wire, with the Ravens coming up just short.
Joel Thorman, Chiefs 30-20
The Ravens seem like a good matchup for the Chiefs — they can run the ball to control the clock and play good defense. But they can’t put up 30-plus points which you need to beat the Chiefs. Lamar Jackson’s 150 passing yards won’t do it.
Aly Trost, Chiefs 38-17
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson is on a roll right now. He’s 3-0 since taking over at starting QB for the Ravens three weeks ago, is dangerous on the run and has helped Baltimore keep an average of 37.5 minutes of possession/game in the last three games. This is particularly worrisome given that the Chiefs defense is ranked No. 22 against the run and has proven inconsistent all season long. In addition to the wonderment that is Lamar Jackson right now, Baltimore also boasts the No. 1 defense in the league. And, while these factors are undoubtedly concerning, the Chiefs’ offense has proven able to disrupt even the most sound defenses, and put opposing offenses in unfavorable comeback situations that force them out of their game. With a home-field advantage and Patrick Mahomes at their offensive helm—the Chiefs win it 38-17.
Dane Van Why, Chiefs 31-24
The Chiefs face a sneaky, tough test this week as a hot Baltimore Ravens team soars into Arrowhead Stadium. It feels like the Chiefs haven’t had a home game in ages and they’ll surely benefit being back for this short home stand. The Ravens defense has been performing surprisingly well this season and their pass defense is really where they make their money. Sunday should be an interesting test to see how Mahomes and the offense will do against the challenge of Baltimore’s secondary. I’m thinking this one will be closer than people expect, but the Chiefs still pull it out in the end.
With everyone picking the Chiefs over the Raiders last week—we didn’t see any movement in the standings:
|Dane Van Why||11-1|
Who will win Sunday in Kansas City?
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