Chiefs -3.5 at Ravens
Baltimore Ravens +3.5
Even when the Ravens roster has been at full strength in recent years, the Chiefs have been their Kryptonite. Last year in prime time, Kansas City came into Baltimore and whacked the Ravens for four quarters. That, of course, was without fans and it will be crazy in Baltimore on Sunday night, but this is also not the Ravens team we have become accustomed to.
The injuries along the offensive line are significant, they are without their best blocking tight end, they are without any running backs who have vast experience in this unique scheme and they may have to seriously cut back on the amount of QB options and designed mesh point option running plays they run. Lamar Jackson was able to attempt only two passes last week that traveled more than 20 yards in the air in large part due to the offensive line’s significant issues, particularly the tackles. Those could be even more acute now with All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley missing practice all week and facing a potentially lengthy absence.
Bold prediction: Mahomes will complete six throws of at least 20 yards. Those plays are always there for him against a Ravens team that blitzes a lot but leaves itself vulnerable to big throws. He has 16 such plays in three career starts against the Ravens, who come into this game with a depleted secondary. — Adam Teicher
Stat to know: Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have the two highest Total QBRs among quarterbacks to appear in 10-plus prime-time games since the metric began in 2006. Mahomes has an eight-game winning streak in prime-time contests, the longest active streak of any quarterback. Jackson is 0-3 in his career versus the Chiefs, largely due to accuracy issues, failing to complete 55% of his passes in any of those three matchups.
“Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals, so our focus is preventing injuries and taking care of anyone who does have an injury and then rehabilitating them,” Morton says. And sleep is a major aid in that recovery. Eighty percent of the body’s human growth hormone is produced during the first four hours of sleep.
Morton’s day is jam packed, as she gets to her office early and then hits the football field for practice. Sleep is an important part of her day as well, as there is always at least one player who is struggling with rest, whether it’s due to stress or injury. That’s one of the reasons why Morton and her team recommend Sleep Number® products — she wants to give her athletes the best tools that will help them perform at their highest level, as well as getting the team back to the Super Bowl.
Nearly 90% of the Chiefs players have the Sleep Number 360® smart bed, and she believes its SleepIQ® technology is instrumental in helping these athletes get the best sleep possible on a regular basis. Technology is key in Morton’s work; when the players share their data with her, Morton says it helps deliver objective data that puts her and the players on the same page, so they can set goals and measure growth, whether that’s their on- and off-field stats or the metrics they can track through SleepIQ®.
“I kind of panicked a little bit and took off running,” Gillan said, per Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal.
“Which now that that’s happened, if that error happens again, punt it off, right, because it was only a six-man box and I had plenty of time. It was just a massive mistake for myself and I’m sorry.”
The man nicknamed the “Scottish Hammer” is taking the glass-half-full approach with the season just one week old, though (h/t Ridenour).
“The whole point of my position is to be a weapon and to help out the team and obviously there I didn’t. But things happen, right? And that hasn’t changed my outlook in practice or anything.
“I’m still this happy-go-lucky-likes-a-pint-or-two person. To be honest with you, I’m really happy this happened in Week 1, you’re trying to find a silver lining in every cloud, right? And to me it’s a reset button, right? I can’t punt the ball without catching it, so I better catch it next time.”
The Cleveland Browns’ infamous winless 2017 was smack in the middle of Hue Jackson’s tenure there, which led to the organization’s dysfunction on full display in 2018’s season of “Hard Knocks.”
Jackson hasn’t bounced back until accepting his current gig as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tennessee State, but it’s not hard to imagine that stealing him away to run the Chiefs offense would be too tempting to pass up.
Yes, Jackson has ultimately failed in both of his NFL head coaching positions, but his first positions coaching job was in 1987, and his first offensive coordinator gig was in 1996.
Jackson brings decades of experience working with some of the football world’s best programs that would be invaluable in Kansas City.
Around the NFL
1 - Stefon Diggs
Watching Diggs operate on the perimeter is like watching an artist paint a masterpiece on a canvas. The All-Pro receiver flashes an extraordinary combination of balance, body control and stop-start quickness when blowing past defenders in space. Diggs’ methods can be unorthodox; sometimes he reminds me of watching James Harden twist defenders into knots on the way to the hoop. With the Bills’ star wideout capable of getting buckets against any defender in the league in a one-on-one matchup, it is easy to see why he has posted three straight 1,000-yard seasons while functioning as a chain mover and big-play threat on the perimeter.
Jacobs rushed for two touchdowns but only 34 yards on 10 carries in the Raiders’ 33-27 overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Peyton Barber, who signed with Las Vegas on Sept. 4, would get Jacobs’ reps, with veteran Kenyan Drake remaining in the team’s game plan as a pass-catching back out of the backfield.
“We really like Barber — we think he’s a heck of a back,” Gruden said. “I like the way he runs and catches and picks up blitzes.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
That’s high praise.
But why wouldn’t Martindale think so? Since being named the Ravens’ defensive coordinator in 2018, he and Baltimore are 0-3 against Kansas City. They are 25-10 against everyone else.
Beyond that, there are similarities between the two duos.
Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh is widely regarded as the father of the West Coast Offense — an offensive philosophy that places a greater emphasis on passing than on running. The West Coast Offense is characterized by its utilization of short passing routes to replace running plays. Its main goal is to stretch out the defense and open up longer passes down the field.
Sound familiar? It should. It’s the skeleton from which the Chiefs offense is built.
Walsh taught his scheme to his quarterbacks’ coach Mike Holmgren. In turn, Holmgren passed it along to Andy Reid while he was Holmgren’s tight ends and assistant offensive line coach with the Green Bay Packers in 1992.