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5 Reasons to Love Ravens-Chiefs Season Opener

From left: DT Justin Madubuike, OLB Kyle Van Noy, ILB Roquan Smith
From left: DT Justin Madubuike, OLB Kyle Van Noy, ILB Roquan Smith

The Ravens and Chiefs will kick off the 2024 NFL regular season at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 5.

Here are five reasons to love the Week 1 AFC Championship rematch:

It's an early chance at redemption.

"Revenge" will be the word tossed around before this showdown, but there's no avenging a championship game loss in Week 1. Still, the Ravens have a chance to at least eliminate the bad taste they've been carrying since last season ended.

A rematch with the champs is powerful motivation during the "dog days" of training camp and will surely be something team leaders tap into over the next several months.

The Ravens felt like they were the better team going into last year's AFC Championship. Now, after numerous losses in free agency, the coaching staff, and front office, Baltimore will undoubtedly be the underdog heading to Kansas City. That's how the Ravens like it.

The Ravens have been very good in Week 1 under John Harbaugh.

Training camp is no picnic under Head Coach John Harbaugh, and that hard work in August has paid off with strong results in September.

The Ravens have a 12-4 record in Week 1 during Harbaugh's tenure. They have won seven of their last eight season openers, with the only loss coming in 2021 in overtime in Las Vegas.

Only one team, the Philadelphia Eagles (13-3), has a better Week 1 record since 2008. Harbaugh knows how to get his team ready, and the proof is in the pudding.

Week 1 games also give the coaching staff more time to prepare and game plan, so the Ravens will have plenty of time to focus on their rivals. The Chiefs will not have seen what tweaks new Defensive Coordinator Zach Orr will make, or what changes Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken has in store.

The Chiefs have also started hot under Head Coach Andy Reid. Since he took over in 2013, they've gone 9-2 in Week 1. They lost last season, however, falling to the Detroit Lions, 21-20, also at home in the Thursday night season opener.

The Ravens will face a lot former Ravens during the 2024 NFL season.

Lamar Jackson has been excellent in season openers.

One of Lamar Jackson's most memorable games was his 2019 season opener in Miami, when he threw five touchdowns and had a perfect passer rating in a 59-10 romping. He hasn't always been that good, but Jackson has been strong in Week 1 over his career.

Since he became the starter in 2019, Jackson has a passer rating of 126 with 1,216 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also run for 192 yards.

Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes has become one of the NFL's premier matchups, and viewers will get to see both at the top of their game. It marks the first time in NFL history that two multiple-time MVP award-winning quarterbacks will square off in Week 1.

The Ravens don't have any major lingering injury concerns.

Offseason practices haven't even started yet, but when assessing the health of the Ravens' roster right now, they should be in good shape for Week 1.

The only lingering injury that could impact Week 1 is with running back Keaton Mitchell, who is coming off late-season knee surgery. With the signing of Derrick Henry this offseason, the return of Justice Hill, and fifth-round draft pick of Rasheen Ali, the Ravens will have more than enough talent at running back.

Henry will be fresh and ready to roll after Baltimore had just six carries by running backs in last year's AFC Championship loss. He and the Ravens will look to make an early statement with their new bell cow.

Tight end Mark Andrews saw just 18 snaps in last year's AFC Championship in his first game back from his cracked fibula. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey was limited by a calf injury and only played 13 defensive snaps. The Ravens were without pass rusher David Ojabo and others.

Several Chiefs players, including starting cornerback Jaylen Watson (shoulder) and running back Isaiah Pacheco (labrum/hand), have had offseason surgeries. Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice could also face league discipline.

It gives the Ravens a little extra rest for Week 2.

"Thursday Night Football" games are tough on players' bodies considering the short turnaround time, but that's not a factor when kicking off the season on TNF.

The Ravens do get the benefit of such an arrangement, however, as they'll have a little extra rest afterwards to shake off their first bumps and bruises before Week 2.

It would be great if it was the Ravens' only "Thursday Night Football" game, but the Chiefs still played one another one last season after opening on TNF, so the same could be true for Baltimore this year.

Here are the quarterbacks the Ravens defense is set to take on this season.

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