AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS

BY ADAM GREENE

Once the Baltimore Ravens dispatched the Houston Texans Saturday, there was no way we wouldn’t have an epic matchup in the AFC Championship. Thanks to a missed Buffalo Bills field goal and finding the postseason magic when they needed it, the Kansas City will get to defend their AFC Championship when the travel to M&T Stadium Sunday afternoon.

This will just be the 13th meeting between the two franchises and the fourth head-to-head battle between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City holds a 7-5 advantage in the series and Mahomes is 3-1 against Jacksons, but Jackson won the last one, 35-35 in a barn burner back on Sep. 19, 2021. Jackson was 18 of 26 passing for 239 yards, one touchdown and two picks in the win. He led the Ravens with 16 rushes for 107 yards and two scores. Ty’Son Williams (now with the Arizona Cardinals) had 13 carries for 77 yards. Marquise Brown caught six passes for 113 yards and a TD.

In the loss, Mahomes was 24 of 31 passing for 343 yards, three TDs and a pick. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 13 carries for 46 yards. Travis Kelce caught seven balls for 109 yards.

When asked what he liked about facing Mahomes, Jackson joked, “I don’t like competing against him at all. He’s a great quarterback, definitely a Hall of Famer. It’s a no-brainer, just two greats, up and coming greats, just going toe-to-toe in a heavyweight fight…. To be a champion, you’ve got to go through a champion.”

Mahomes was equally as effusive in his praise of Jackson, saying, “I know we’re going to play a lot of games like this as our careers go on. And I’m sure this will be the first of many. He (Jackson) is going to be MVP for a reason.”

No bulletin board material. All respect. I’m stoked.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS (-3.5, O/U: 44.5)

Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.

Broadcast: CBS

Kickoff: Jan. 28, 3 p.m.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (13-6)

Patrick Mahomes won the first road playoff game of his entire career, outlasting the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in their AFC Divisional Round matchup thanks to a last-minute missed Bills field goal. Mahomes finished 17 of 23 passing for 215 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. He scrambled six times for 19 yards and was not sacked. Isiah Pacheco rushed 15 times for 97 yards and a TD. Travis Kelce caught five passes for 75 yards and two scores.

BALTIMORE RAVENS (14-4)

The Ravens responded to their week off by absolutely crushing the Houston Texans, 34-10 in their AFC Divisional round game. Lamar Jackson was 16 of 22 passing for 152 yards, two touchdowns and no picks in the win. He rushed 10 times for 100 yards and two scores and was sacked three times. Justice Hill had 13 carries for 66 yards. Zay Flowers caught four passes for 41 yards. Isaiah Likely hauled in two passes for 34 yards and a score. Nelson Agholor had two grabs for 12 yards and a TD. The defense held Houston to 38 yards on the ground, 213 total offensive yards and just 10 first downs.

THE PICK

This one should be phenomenal and, as I wrote earlier in the week, I expect this line to drop to three. That sounds good to me. Ravens 31, Chiefs 28

Last week

Straight up: 3-1

Against the spread: 1-3

Season

Straight up: 193-89

Against the spread: 177-105

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan and Threads at @Adam.Greene

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