Kickoff: 1 p.m., Arrowhead Stadium
TV: Channel 13 (Baltimore) CBS crew (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM) and 98Rock (97.9 FM)
Jersey color: White
The Ravens (7-5) could win four straight for the first time this season and take a major step forward in their playoff pursuit. With four games remaining, Baltimore controls its playoff destiny and trails Pittsburgh by just a ½ game in the AFC North. The Chiefs (10-2) are unbeaten (5-0) at home and can clinch a playoff berth by winning Sunday. A victory in Kansas City would be a strong statement by the Ravens that they are playoff worthy.
Including playoffs, the all-time series is tied 4-4. They last met in December 2015 at M&T Bank Stadium, with the Chiefs winning, 34-14.
Will Lamar Jackson remain unbeaten as a starter?
With a 3-0 record as a starting quarterback, Jackson has been the biggest catalyst in the Ravens’ winning streak. He has rushed for more yards in his first three starts (265) than any quarterback in NFL history. Baltimore has rushed for more than 200 yards in three straight games for the first time in franchise history. However, starting this game would represent another test for Jackson, playing in one of the league’s toughest environments for a road team and in the coldest game of his career. Joe Flacco is getting closer to returning from his hip injury, and Head Coach John Harbaugh has not named the starting quarterback moving forward.
Can the Ravens’ No. 1-ranked defense control the Chiefs’No. 1 offense led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes?_
This is the Ravens’ biggest defensive challenge of the season. Mahomes leads the NFL by far with 41 touchdowns passes. The next closest is Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints with 30 touchdown passes. Kansas City leads the league in scoring, averaging 37 points per game. Even after releasing Kareem Hunt, Mahomes has plenty of weapons, led by tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Not only does Mahomes have a great arm, he’s capable of extending plays and escaping the pass rush with his legs. The Ravens did a terrific job shutting down the Atlanta Falcons’ high-powered offense last weekend, but Kansas City’s offense is next level.
Can the Ravens’ running game keep cooking?
The Chiefs are ranked next-to-last overall in defense, and Baltimore’s running game has been dynamic, featuring rookie running back Gus Edwards and Jackson. The Ravens’ recipe for success has been running the football and controlling time of possession. It’s a formula the Chiefs must prove they can stop.
Ravens secondary vs. Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill
Ravens Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale referred to Hill as “the fastest human being I’ve ever seen wear a helmet.” Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, and Tavon Young must prevent Hill’s speed from burning them.
Ravens offensive line vs. Chiefs defensive front
Baltimore’s offensive line deserves at least some of the credit for the recent run dominance. If the Ravens open holes for Edwards and Jackson, they will continue to produce impressive runs. The Chiefs haven’t been good on defense, but they have a fearsome duo of pass rushers in Justin Houston and Dee Ford.
Jackson vs. the atmosphere in Kansas City
The Chiefs have a loud, enthusiastic crowd that impacts the game and makes it tougher for the visiting team to communicate. This will be the toughest road environment and coldest weather game that Jackson has faced in his young career. It will be important for Jackson to stay poised and avoid turnovers.