The Kansas City Chiefs will try to keep things rolling in Week 14 as they play host to the suddenly hot Baltimore Ravens. The fun gets started at 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 9, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Viewers in large sections of the country will be able to watch the game on CBS.
Oddsmakers currently list the Chiefs as 6.5-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is set at 53.5 points. Be sure to check out a full list of the Week 14 betting odds.
Last week’s game against the Raiders was Kansas City’s first time out since losing to the Rams in that epic Monday night showdown. Perhaps more importantly, it was also their first game since parting ways (rightly so) with running back Kareem Hunt. For the Chiefs, it was business as usual, as they put up 40 points on their division rivals. However, Kansas City’s defense remains a concern, as they yielded over 400 yards and 33 points to the 2-10 Raiders.
Despite being 10-2 heading down the stretch, the Chiefs are only a game ahead of the Chargers, who they will face next Thursday. Having Los Angeles so close means Kansas City can’t afford to take their foot off the gas. The Chiefs also have to worry about the Patriots and Texans, both 9-3 entering Week 14, climbing over them for the top seed in the AFC. On the bright side, the Chiefs will play three of their final four games at home.
As for the Ravens, they have catapulted themselves into a position to claim the final wild-card spot in the AFC. With Lamar Jackson playing in place of the injured Joe Flacco, Baltimore has won three in a row, moving them to 7-5 on the season. That puts them one game ahead of the four AFC teams that are 6-6 and still fighting for the last playoff spot.
At the moment, the Ravens are in good shape, but that can all change quickly given Baltimore’s tough schedule heading down the stretch. Obviously, this week’s trip to Arrowhead presents a big challenge for them. They also have a west coast road trip to face the Chargers in Week 16. Even home games against the Buccaneers and Browns are far from automatic wins. If the Ravens end up in the playoffs, they’ll have earned their place.
It’s not easy betting against Kansas City. The Chiefs have won eight of their 10 games by at least a touchdown, and the two wins they didn’t both happened the first month of the season. That being said, Baltimore’s winning streak is nothing to scoff at. I think the Ravens provide a tough matchup for Kansas City. I’ll lean toward Baltimore keeping this game close and beating the spread, even if they lose.
Even if Flacco is cleared to play by Sunday, it’ll be tough to sit Jackson after he’s started each game during this three-game winning streak. His passing numbers are far from spectacular, but Jackson’s legs have been a real weapon these past three weeks. Between Jackson and fellow rookie Gus Edwards, the Ravens suddenly have one of the most potent rushing attacks in the NFL. The two of them alone are averaging 193 yards rushing over the last three games.
The Jackson-Edwards tandem could pose a serious problem for the Kansas City defense. The Chiefs are giving up 5.1 yards per carry on the ground this season. Just last week, they were gashed by the Raiders for 171 yards and 6.1 yards per carry. If a rather average rushing team like Oakland can do that against the Chiefs, the Kansas City defense could be in trouble against the Ravens. Not only can Baltimore run the ball effectively, but they can also control the clock and keep Kansas City’s offense on the sidelines.
Obviously, the Chiefs didn’t skip a beat without Hunt against Oakland’s dreadful defense. But facing the Ravens could be a different story. The Ravens are one of the best rush defenses in the NFL. They are also coming on strong late in the year, giving up less than 20 points per game over the last four weeks. It’s safe to say that the Chiefs haven’t faced many defenses as good as the Baltimore defense this season.
Kansas City won’t worry too much as long as Patrick Mahomes is at quarterback. But the Chiefs have thrived all season because they have been balanced on offense. Spencer Ware is a good running back, but there’s certainly a drop-off between him and Hunt. He had a modest 47 yards on 14 carries last week. The Chiefs may need more than that against a stout Baltimore defense.
The Ravens, of course, have a massive hill to climb if they want to knock off the Chiefs at Arrowhead. But given Baltimore’s ability to run the ball, Kansas City’s questionable defense, and the Chiefs adjusting to life without Hunt, this should be a difficult game for the Chiefs. I’d be surprised if the Chiefs were able to win by a comfortable margin. I like my chances with the Ravens beating the spread and losing a close game.