The Baltimore Ravens will face their first real test of the season when they head on the road to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, and all eyes are on the matchup between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.
We know what Mahomes can do. The man is coming off of an MVP season in which he threw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, and he has shown no signs of slowing down over the first couple of weeks.
The bigger story is Jackson, who went from being a guy who couldn’t really throw to a lethal weapon in the passing game, as he has already surpassed his passing touchdowns total from all of last season with seven touchdowns over his first two outings.
But while Jackson will need to hang with Mahomes in order to give the Ravens a chance, the real difference-maker in this game could be Baltimore running back Mark Ingram.
Ingram has been impressive over the first couple of weeks, rushing for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry, significantly better than anything the Chiefs running backs have been able to muster thus far.
Damien Williams has been a huge disappointment through the first two contests and won’t even be available for Sunday’s showdown due to a knee injury, and while LeSean McCoy was solid in Week 1, he looked like his 2018 self in Week 2, and that is not a good thing.
Plus, McCoy is nursing an ankle injury, and his status for this matchup is in question.
Let’s say Jackson plays Mahomes to a draw as far as the quarterbacks go. If that ends up being the case, the result of the game may come down to the rushing attack, and the Ravens have a significant advantage there.
Not only can Jackson rack up yards like a halfback, but Ingram is a far better option than anything Kansas City has, so if he is able to come out and put his stamp on the game, Baltimore could be in business.
It’s not like the Chiefs have a great run defense, either.
Last year, they ranked 27th in the NFL against the run, and they have been decidedly average so far this season.
I’ll even go as far to say that if the Ravens want to win this game on the road, Ingram has to make his presence known and outplay the Chiefs’ backfield.