Baltimore @ Kansas City
Recommendation: KC -6.5
Cover Probability: 57.23%
Cover Edge: 9.26%
-CB Jimmy Smith (knee) was injured week 1 and was INACTIVE week 2. He is not practicing to start the week.
-CB Tavon Young (neck) is on IR.
Kansas City Chiefs:
-WR Tyreek Hill (chest) was injured week 1. He is expected to miss 4 – 6 weeks.
-RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) was injured week 2. He did not practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday.
-RB Damien Williams (groin) was injured week 2. He did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
-LT Eric Fisher (groin) was injured in practice the Friday before week 2. He tired to play, but reinjured it on the first drive and never returned. He did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
-LB Breeland Speaks (MCL) is on IR.
-CB Morris Claiborne (suspension) is OUT weeks 1 – 4.
The model tried fading Kansas City last week, it ended poorly, so we’re back on the Mahomes train. 6.5 is a great line to bet the favorite on. If it’s at 7 at your book, you should hold off.
When Baltimore has the ball:
The complaint on QB Lamar Jackson after 2018 was his inaccuracy. PFF has some fairly extensive ball-charting data, and they had him as easily the most inaccurate QB in the league last year (see this twitter thread: https://twitter.com/PFF_Sam/status/1163826754106142720). In the off-season, Jackson either suddenly figured out all his issues with accuracy or it’s simply variance. Either way, he’s off to a surprisingly hot start, completing 71.9% of his passes, 10.5 yards per attempt, 7 TDs, and zero picks. His “adjusted completion percentage,” which is another PFF metric that accounts for dropped passes, throw aways, spiked balls, batted passes, and passes where the QB was hit while they threw the ball, has Jackson at 79.2%, 6th highest in the league. And naturally, his rushing ability and how the Ravens use his as a runner is unprecedented. Last year, Jackson set the record for rushing attempts by a QB in a single season at 147 despite not being a full time starter since week 11. Absurd.
In front of Jackson is a solid offensive line, lead by LT Ronnie Stanley and 7x pro bowler RG Marshall Yanda. Jackson will be primarily target WRs Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead, and TE Mark Andrews. Hollywood dropped 147 yards and 2 TDs week 1, which was even more absurd since he did it on just 14 snaps. Last week, Hollywood played more snaps than any other receiver in Baltimore and hauled in 86 yards on 8 targets. Mark Andrews also went off last week, dropping an 8/112/1 line. Brown and Andrews collectively accounted for 65% of Jackson’s attempts, which fits right in with the narrative that the other receivers in Baltimore’s lineup simply aren’t good. On the ground, most of the carries will be Jackson and Mark Ingram. Ingram is averaging 5.7 YPA to start the season.
If Jackson’s start to the season was a fluke, it likely won’t be Kansas City’s defense as the team that stops him. The Chiefs lost edge defenders Dee Ford and Justin Houston in the off-season. They replaced them with Frank Clark, who has been a bust to so far, racking up just one pressure. The leaves the entirety of the Chiefs pass rush on the shoulders of Chris Jones. Jones plays on the inside, but is still a pass rushing beast. He’s currently sitting at 4th in the league with 11 pressures. The Chiefs have also had issues against the run, giving up a generous 6.0 yards per carry.
The secondary doesn’t get much prettier. They were dusted by household names like DJ Chalk (146 yards and a TD week 1) and Chris Conley (97 yards and a TD) in week 1. With their lack of talent at corner with a one man pass rush, it’s probably not too surprising that they’ve given up a QB rating of 94.1 against Nick Foles/Gardner Minshew and Derek Carr. We’ll see what Jacskon can do.
When Kansas City has the ball:
Enter Patrick Lavon Mahomes II
Going into the season, some moron wrote that Mahomes is likely to regressing this season. What a dummy. Mahomes is averaging 10.7 yards per attempt, completing 71.4% of his passes with 7 TDs and 0 picks. ESPN’s proprietary QBR stat has him at 93.2. Out of 100. He’s good at football.
If you’ve ever read this site, you probably know more about the Chiefs offense than you care to. Just to catch up the newbies, they feature an above average offensive line with difficult to stop receivers and a pretty impressive backfield. They score lots of points.
The only thing that could slow them down is the injury bug, and they’ve caught it. Tyreek Hill is still out after injuring his shoulder week 1. Without Hill, the top 3 wideouts for the Chiefs are Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and rookie Mecole Hardman. Watkins went off for 9/198/3 line in week 1, and Robinson put up a 6/176/2 line week 2. Mecole Hardman, who also scored a TD last week, will run about half of his routes out of the slot. And let’s not forget the best receiving tight end in football, Travis Kelce. Even without Hill, there’s plenty of options for the all-world Mahomes.
Both of the Chiefs running backs were injured last week. Damien Williams still isn’t practicing this week, but LeSean McCoy practiced Thursday (limited), and should be good to go. Eric Fisher, the Chiefs starting LT, re-injured his groin on the first set of downs last week and is unlikely to suit up for this one. Cam Erving came in to replace Fisher, and even though Fisher isn’t the best tackle out there, Erving is certainly a step down.
The Ravens on defense have been tested by the Dolphins and Cardinals thus far.. so, errr.. they haven’t really been tested. They generate most of their pressure from the outside with Matthew Judon, Pernell McPhee, and Tim Williams. That isn’t the most talented trio in the world, but most teams would take it. I suppose I should be impressed by the Ravens 1.8 YPC allowed this season, but considering it was against the Dolphins and Cardinals (where David Johsnon was injured), I’ll take a wait and see approach before anointing them Emperor of Run Defense.
The Ravens have had a lot of problems at corner, and that’s not a great sign when you’re playing the Chiefs. Their top corner (Jimmy Smith) was injured week 1, inactive week 2, and currently isn’t practicing. That leaves Anthony Averett and Marlon Humphrey as their top two corners. Averett is a 2nd year player out of Alabama and is allowing a QB rating over 100 when targeted. Humphrey is coming off a solid sophomore campaign, but also has poor coverage grades to start the season. The good news for the Ravens is they got Earl Thomas in the off-season, and he’s healthy and looking like his normal self.
It feels good to be back on the Chiefs.
That’s it for now, bitches.