Ravens plan to put brakes on Chiefs

De­fen­sive-minded Bal­ti­more look to end Kansas City’s win streak at Ar­row­head Sta­dium

Bangkok Post - - NFL -

>> KANSAS CITY: 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 de­fence 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 to­day look­ing to end an eight-game home win streak for the Chiefs, who at 10-2 own the best record in the AFC.

The match-up 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 face a Bal­ti­more of­fence 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 de­fence, led by the likes of de­fen­sive end Ter­rell Suggs and line­backer CJ Mosley, fac­tors into the pos­ses­sion ad­van­tage.

Ravens coach John Har­baugh, how­ever, re­alises Ma­homes presents a big­play 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. He was a full par­tic­i­pant in Fri­day’s prac­tice for the first time since in­jur­ing his hip in Week 9, but he is of­fi­cially ques­tion­able for to­day’s game.

Ravens quar­ter­back Lamar Jack­son, No.8, runs for a touch­down against the Fal­cons.

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