Advertisement

3 burning questions ahead of Ravens AFC Championship matchup vs. Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs travel to Baltimore for the AFC Championship Game to take on the Ravens.

Since becoming Kansas City’s head coach in 2013, Andy Reid has been 4-1 through the regular season against the Ravens, while quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been 3-1.

Last Sunday, the Chiefs defeated the Bills in Buffalo 27-24 to advance to the AFC’s final game, while Baltimore is riding high after a 34-10 win over Houston and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud.

With preparation for the matchup set to begin, here are three burning questions to answer.

Can Chiefs handle Baltimore's physicality on offense?

Jan 20, 2024; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards (35) runs the ball against Houston Texans safety Jalen Pitre (5) during the second quarter of a 2024 AFC divisional round game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 20, 2024; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards (35) runs the ball against Houston Texans safety Jalen Pitre (5) during the second quarter of a 2024 AFC divisional round game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

In 2023, the Chiefs defense ranked second in the NFL in offensive points allowed (15.9 ppg).

Second-year pass rusher George Karlaftis and defensive tackle Chris Jones each led the team with 10.5 sacks.

Kansas City was 2nd in the NFL in total yards per game (289.8) but was 18th in rushing yards per game, averaging 113.2 rushing yards allowed per game. Baltimore doesn’t have a star at the running back position, but they’re physical up front, while Gus Edwards and Justice Hill both run with an attitude.

Lamar Jackson leads the Ravens with 821 rushing yards, and they’re built to manhandle opposing defensive units. Kansas City has been impressive on defense, but can they handle an offense that runs to set up the pass, unlike most NFL offenses?

Can Roquan Smith contain Isiah Pacheco?

Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) cuts back for a short gain.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) cuts back for a short gain.

Both teams have alpha-personalities at key positions and the matchup between Roquan Smith and Isiah Pacheco will worth the price of admisison alone.

Pacheco plays running back like a linebacker, while Smith led the Ravens with 158 tackles, the sixth most in the league, and finished with at least 100 tackles for the sixth straight season.

Pacheco ran for nearly 1,000 yards (935) as the Chiefs relied on him down the stretch, and in Sunday’s divisional round victory over the Bills, Pacheco ran for 97 yards on 15 violent carries.

Can Roquan Smith stop Pacheco and the Chiefs from running down hill.

Will Mike Macdonald deploy Kyle Hamilton on Travis Kelce?

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Kyle Hamilton can do it all, but will Ravens defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald employ Kyle, his All-Pro defender, to eliminate Travis Kelce in one-on-one combat?

Hamilton told the media on Wednesday that he was a part of the plan to limit the explosive Kelce, but will Macdonald risk taking his star safety away from other things to focus on one?

Story originally appeared on Ravens Wire