When the Ravens have the ball

Ravens came out slow last week

Since the NFL went to only two bye teams, games involving teams off a bye in the Divisional Round are 6-2 to the under. Those bye teams average just 25.4 points, which is a full 3 points BELOW their team total of 28.4 points.

However, in their next game (assuming they won), these teams have averaged 29.5 points, which is 3 points ABOVE their team total of 26.5 points.

Chiefs defense worse on the road

The Chiefs are much worse than I think we account for in standard home field advantage when they go on the road.

It’s borne out most in EPA/play.

However, it’s also showcased in the Chiefs’ points allowed when on the road.

When the Chiefs played at home over the last three years, opponents averaged -3.02 points lower than their team total.

The #1 best mark in the NFL.

But on the road, opponents averaged +0.77 points higher than their team total.

The #21 best mark in the NFL.

The difference of +3.79 points vs. team total is the #4 worst in the NFL.

Ravens can run

The Ravens did nothing from Week 12 through last week but play run defenses that rank above average.

During that span, they played three top-10 run defenses.

Now they get to face the NFL’s #5 worst run defense, which allowed Bills RBs to average 7.5 YPC, +0.27 EPA/rush, and 59% success, recording 128 rushing yards on just 17 rushing attempts.

Power

The Ravens also like to run from a few concepts the Chiefs don’t face often because teams don’t use these concepts nearly as much as zone concepts.

First, the Ravens use power to run on roughly 15% of their rushing attempts. That’s #3 most in the NFL. The average is only 7%.

Against Power runs from RBs, the Chiefs rank:

  • #31 in EPA/rush (+0.09, NFL average is -0.10)
  • #32 in success rate (56%, NFL average is 36%)
  • #29 in YPC (5.6, NFL average is 4.2)

They get shoved off the ball a ton, allowing 2.44 yards before contact/rush (worst in NFL), and a whopping 44% of runs gain 5+ yards (#29).

Counter

Second, the Ravens run counter at a rate WAY above the NFL average. They use it on nearly 20% of their rushing attempts. The NFL average is less than 5%. The next closest teams are below 10%.

Against Counter runs, the Chiefs rank:

  • #32 in EPA/rush (+0.26, NFL average is -0.14)
  • #32 in success rate (64%, NFL average is 34%)
  • #17 in YPC (4.0, NFL average is 4.0)

The Chiefs have allowed 50% of the Counter runs they’ve faced to gain 5+ yards (#31).

Play Action

Because the Chiefs struggle so much against the run, they often react quickly to play action, which is why the Ravens must incorporate even more play action into their game plan than they already do.

In the playoffs with 18 early down dropbacks against play action, the Chiefs have allowed:

  • +0.30 EPA/att, 67% success, 8.0 YPA, 67% comp

On 36 dropbacks without play action:

  • -0.23 EPA/att, 33% success, 3.7 YPA, 54% completions

On the season:

  • Vs no play action: #6 in EPA/att (-0.13), #11 in success (37%), 5.0 YPA (#2), 66% comp (#8)
  • Vs play action: #21 in EPA/att (+0.14), #32 in success rate (54%), 8.7 YPA (#19), 70% comp (#24)

These are the #3 largest splits in the NFL, and the Ravens must look to attack through the air when using play action.

Ravens short passing attack

There is not a single offense better when passing within 10 air yards than the Ravens.

When throwing within 10 yards on early downs, the Ravens rank:

  • #1 in YPA (7.3)
  • #3 in EPA/att (+0.25)
  • #4 in success rate (56%)

The Chiefs defense ranks #13 in EPA/att, #13 in success rate, and #4 in YPA vs such shorter passes on early downs.

However, since Week 12 Kansas City has been even worse:

#16 in EPA/att, #25 in success rate, and #13 in YPA.

If the weather is bad or if the Ravens are being blitzed, they should be able to have success throwing quickly underneath to avoid negative plays.

Additionally, if we look at all of these underneath passes (within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage) when Lamar is blitzed, this passing attack is now elite.

Passes thrown 0-10 air yards on early downs in the first three quarters against a blitz, the Ravens rank:

  • #1 in EPA/att (+0.58)
  • #1 in success rate (68%)
  • #1 in YPA (9.6)

Chiefs wins since their bye

Since their Week 10 bye, the Chiefs have not faced solid offense very frequently.

  • They played the clearly flawed Eagles offense and lost 21-17.
  • They played the spunky, upstart Packers offense and lost 27-19.
  • They played a solid Bills offense and lost 20-17.

Post-bye, aside from those three losses, they played the following:

  • 1-1 vs. backup Aidan O’Connell twice
  • 1-0 vs. backup Bailey Zappe
  • 1-0 vs. backup Easton Stick
  • 1-0 vs. backup Jake Browning

That’s 0-3 against starting QBs and 4-1 against backup QBs.

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When the Chiefs have the ball

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