A league-leading scoring average of 37 points provides a potential advantage for the Kansas City Chiefs where it matters most – the scoreboard.
Let Andy Reid elaborate.
“It always comes down to, and don’t slight the defense here, because that’s important, but the thing is based on a points system,’’ said the Chiefs coach, who needs one more win to tie Marty Schottenheimer (205) for seventh on the all-time NFL wins list.
“Whoever scores the most wins the game. I don’t know any more than that. That’s what you try to do. It’s pretty simple, right? I’ll leave it at that.”
The Baltimore Ravens (7-5) intend to do anything to complicate such simplicity. They rank first defensively in the NFL, allowing 281.7 yards and 17.8 points. The Ravens will visit Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday looking to end an eight-game home win streak for the Chiefs, who at 10-2 own the best record in the AFC.
The matchup looms as a difficult test for both Kansas City units.
Although Patrick Mahomes has been lights out as a first-year starter, the Chiefs quarterback figures to see a variety of blitzes from schemes the Ravens effectively disguise.
Defensively, the Chiefs have struggled all season, allowing 33 points and 171 rushing yards last week to the woeful Oakland Raiders. Now, Kansas City faces a Baltimore offense that has won three straight with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, rushing for 716 yards over that span while controlling the clock an average of 37-plus minutes.
A stingy Baltimore defense, led by the likes of defensive end Terrell Suggs and linebacker C.J. Mosley, factors into the possession advantage.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh, however, realizes Mahomes presents a big-play threat with 43 passes of 25-plus yards and 41 touchdown strikes.
Those marks lead the NFL and incorporate the dynamic speed possessed by receivers such as Tyreek Hill, as well as well as the creativity of Reid, a coach Harbaugh once worked under in Philadelphia.
“He’s had coaches on his staff over the years that have specific areas of study,’’ Harbaugh said. “They look at college football and probably high school football. Probably junior high football, knowing Andy, and he just does a great job of that.’’
Although the Chiefs released running back Kareem Hunt after a video was uncovered of an altercation last year’s NFL rushing leader had with a woman, standouts still exist. In addition to Hill, Travis Kelce is an elite pass-catcher who leads NFL tight ends with 1,082 yards receiving.
“In reality, holding this team to what we did last (week) is probably not going to happen,’’ said Ravens safety Eric Weddle, referencing the 131 yards Baltimore allowed in beating Atlanta 26-16. “But we can make things tough on them. We can create turnovers. We can hold them in the red zone. So those things are areas that we can do, and if we do that, we’ll be successful.’’
Although Jackson is expected to start at quarterback, the Ravens’ Joe Flacco (hip) resumed activity at practice this week. Also, offensive tackle James Hurst could return from a nagging back injury.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins returned to restricted practice reps for the Chiefs, who have still not used Eric Berry, though the veteran safety is participating in limited drills.
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