A playoff preview in Week 3? Could be, when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Chiefs on Sunday. The teams are 2-0, representing half of the undefeated teams in the AFC along with the Patriots and Bills.
Kickoff: Noon at Arrowhead Stadium
TV/Radio: CBS (Ch. 5), KCFX (101.1 FM)
Line: Chiefs by 6 1/2
After taking their whacks at the Dolphins pinata in the opening week, the Ravens survived a challenge by the Cardinals in Week 2 with a 23-17 victory. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was terrific, rushing for 120 yards, and completing 24 of 37 passes for 272 yards. Opponents have to account for both facets of his game.
Jackson became the first NFL quarterback to pass for at least 270 and rush for at least 120. This was the Jackson who dominated the college game, won the 2016 Heisman Trophy at Louisville and is clearly a major challenge for the Chiefs’ defense.
“You have to stay disciplined, and at the same time put pressure on him,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday. “It’s a fine line.”
Jackson won a battle of Heisman winners on Sunday as the Ravens outlasted Kyler Murray, who won last year’s trophy at Oklahoma, and the Cardinals.
You know who didn’t win the Heisman, or was a Heisman finalist or even a top 11 vote-getter (there was a tie for 10th)? Patrick Mahomes.
In the same year Jackson won the award, Mahomes played his final year at Texas Tech and led the nation in passing yards, total offense, points responsible for and total touchdowns. Against Oklahoma, led by 2017 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, Mahomes set the NCAA record for total offense (819 yards) and tied the record for passing yards (734).
The Heisman finalists that year: Jackson, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Mayfield, OU wide receiver Dede Westbrook and Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers.
One other quarterback finished the top 11 voting, Washington’s Jake Browning.
But no Mahomes.
When it comes to the Heisman, a team’s success matters. Texas Tech finished 5-7 that season. The Red Raiders went 7-6 in 2015 and Mahomes put up big numbers that season as well but he wasn’t in the Heisman top 11. Jackson’s Louisville Cardinals finished 9-4 and climbed to as high as No. 3 in the polls that season.
In his third NFL season — with 57 touchdown passes in 19 games after chucking four more (all in the second quarter) in Sunday’s 28-10 victory at Oakland, an NFL MVP and a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the resume — Mahomes probably is feeling good about his career.
Another statistical nugget from Sunday’s game: Mahomes’ 278 passing yards in the second quarter was the second-most in a quarter in NFL history. Drew Brees went for 294 for the Saints in a 2008 game.
Mahomes did claim a piece of hardware in college, winning the Sammy Baugh Award for 2016, awarded to the nation’s top college passer.
Plus, with the Chiefs, Mahomes is 2-0 against Heisman winning quarterbacks, defeating Jackson’s Ravens and Mayfield’s Browns last season.