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AFC Championship: Chiefs vs Ravens Prediction and Game Thread

The Chiefs and the Ravens square off in the AFC Championship game

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images

The NFL playoffs continue today with the Conference Championship games. In the opener, the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are home in Baltimore, Maryland, where they have gone 9-3 this season. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 pm EST.

The 13-6 Kansas City Chiefs come into this game off a thrilling 27-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round last week. The Chiefs kind of stumbled into the playoffs this year. After opening this season with a 7-2 record, the Chiefs went just 4-4 over the last half of the season. With Travis Kelce finally starting to show his age, Patrick Mahomes struggled to find reliable targets. However, rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice eventually emerged as Mahomes’ go to guy, and the Chiefs offense started to gel. This Chiefs team is very different from recent iterations. They are carried by the league’s 2nd ranked defense, while the once explosive offense has looked pedestrian much of the year. Though the Chiefs have the #2 defense in the NFL, they have struggled against the run, ranking a dismal 24th in yards allowed per rushing attempt. That does not bode well for the Chiefs against the Ravens’ #1 ranked rushing attack.

The 14-4 Baltimore Ravens are on an epic roll. They are coming off a 34-10 rout of the Houston Texans last week in the Divisional Round. The Ravens haven’t lost a game outside of their division in more than four months. They come into this game with the best record in the NFL and a well deserved #1 seed. The Ravens haven’t allowed more than 19 points in a game in a month and a half, and they have scored at least 19 points (outside of the last game of the regular season when they rested their starters) in all but one game all season. Their defense is ranked 1st in the NFL in points allowed, turnovers generated, net yards per passing attempt, and rushing touchdowns allowed. On offense the Ravens are ranked 6th in yards, 4th in points, and 1st in rushing yards. They have lost the turnover battle just four times all season. On top of all that, the Ravens will be getting All Pro tight end Mark Andrews back from injury today.

I’m taking the Ravens at home in what should be a fairly easy Ravens win. Patrick Mahomes is incredible, but even Mahomes has struggled this year without dominant weapons to throw to. You can never count out Mahomes, but this game seems like a bridge too far for Mahomes and the Chiefs.