We have a potential battle of the MVP candidates coming up on Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Baltimore Ravens in their home opener. Both teams and their quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs and Lamar Jackson for the Ravens, are putting up fantastic numbers this far into the season.
With that said, let’s get into a few of those numbers that could have an impact on the game:
367.5 yards allowed per game
In total yards allowed per game, the Chiefs are currently in the bottom 13 of the league with 367.5, which isn’t a drastic improvement upon last season’s defense. Most analysts are predicting a high-scoring day between the two teams, with the winner potentially being the team with the ball in their hands last.
While the Chiefs won’t need much help in the scoring department, key stops on the defense would go a long way to getting a comfortable lead on the Ravens.
Is this revamped defense better than last year? Which of their performances in the previous two weeks is more indicative of the kind of defense they have? The Chiefs defense does have a lot of questions left to answer, many of which could resolve themselves against Baltimore on Sunday.
541.5 yards gained per game
The team with the highest average of yards gained per game isn’t the Chiefs, but the Ravens who also lead the league in points per game with 41. Their 59-point performance against the Miami Dolphins may have boosted those numbers a bit, but that doesn’t mean we should underestimate Baltimore.
With the additions of weapons like running back Mark Ingram and rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, the Ravens present defenses many more problems than they did last year.
That pass-completion percentage belongs not to the reigning MVP, but to the up-and-coming sophomore, Lamar Jackson. Mahomes actually is right under Jackson with a 71.4% pass-completion rating. On top of having probably the most dangerous feet in football, Jackson has somehow become one of the best passers in the NFL too.
The Chiefs had a tough enough time stopping Jackson last year when he completed about 50% of his passes and still gained a total of over 200 yards. He has now added a new dimension of danger that presents a unique problem. The Chiefs will not only have to try and keep Jackson in the pocket but also fight against his deadly accuracy when he does sit in the pocket to throw.
When Dustin Colquitt takes the field to punt on Sunday, it will be his 225th appearance in his career and as a Chief. That will be the franchise record for appearances previously held by Will Shields. Colquitt has only missed two games in his career, and both were over a decade ago in 2008. Colquitt also holds the franchise record for punt yards averaged over a career.
That was the last year a football game was played in Kansas City Municipal Stadium, the former home of the Chiefs before they moved to Arrowhead in 1972.
The Chiefs have the field at Arrowhead painted in the Municipal Stadium throwback colors to celebrate the franchise entering its 60th year anniversary on the home opener.
In the final football game ever played in Municipal Stadium, the Chiefs took on the Dolphins on Christmas Day of 1971 in a playoff game which was the longest NFL game in history at 82 minutes, 40 seconds.