After another successful regular season, the reigning Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs have returned to the NFL playoffs. The goal for the Chiefs remains the same as when the season began, to become the first repeat champions since the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. To repeat as champions, Kansas City first must make it through their conference unscathed by the many contenders. In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens are the biggest threat to a Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl run.
Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Run Could Be Derailed by One AFC Team
As the top seed in the AFC the Kansas City Chiefs have a bye this weekend, but when they return to play, the Baltimore Ravens would be the most concerning opponent for the Chiefs should the two teams meet.
Time of Possession
The biggest challenge for opponents when facing the Chiefs is stopping quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. One of the best ways to do so is by keeping the ball out of the offense’s hands by controlling the time of possession. Controlling the clock is something the Ravens have plenty of familiarity with as they finished this season ranked seventh in time of possession. The Ravens offense features a dominant rushing attack lead by Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins. Baltimore ran for over 400 yards in Week 17 and running the ball will help them control the clock with long drives down the field. If Baltimore ends up facing the Chiefs and they are able to continue to win the time of possession battle, it will limit the number of chances Mahomes and company have to put up points.
Although Kansas City lost just one game in which their starters played this season, each win did not come easy. A look back at their most difficult games during the regular season displays that the Chiefs can get off to slow starts. But if that happens against the Ravens that could be a real problem for the Chiefs. Baltimore led the league in first-quarter points during the regular season. Falling behind is never a good thing, even if you have one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, as it will make the offense have to be one dimensional. The Chiefs cannot afford another slow start if they meet the Ravens in the playoffs.
The Red Zone
In the games where the Chiefs have struggled, they saw issues with their red zone offense. The Baltimore Ravens defense is in the top half of the league in red zone touchdown percentage and that means the Chiefs red zone woes might continue. The Ravens defense also has playmakers across the board with players like Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, and Patrick Queen that match up with the Chiefs offensive weapons. The common saying is defense wins championships and Baltimore’s defense poses a major threat to the Chiefs repeat chances.
While some may point to the Chiefs defeating the Ravens 34-20 back in September as a reason to not worry about this potential matchup, these teams are different than they were in that Week 3 game. The Ravens are entering the playoffs on a five-game win streak and that could continue if they face the Chiefs in the playoffs. Baltimore’s momentum cannot be discounted. The Ravens can threaten the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl aspirations if the Chiefs aren’t careful.