The Worksheet, a comprehensive fantasy football preview by Rich Hribar, breaks down everything you need to know about the AFC Championship Game between the Ravens and Chiefs.

Find a breakdown of every NFL Conference Championship Round game in our Worksheet Hub.

Kansas CityRank@BaltimoreRank
3.5 Spread-3.5
20.5 Implied Total24.0
22.314Points/Gm28.72
17.12Points All./Gm16.11
63.315Plays/Gm63.514
62.210Opp. Plays/Gm64.225
5.69Off. Yards/Play5.84
4.74Def. Yards/Play4.62
39.52%26Rush%51.01%1
60.48%7Pass%48.99%32
41.37%12Opp. Rush %37.11%2
58.63%21Opp. Pass %62.89%31

Against the Spread

  • Ravens: 12-6
  • Chiefs: 11-7-1
  • Ravens ATS at Home: 6-4
  • Chiefs ATS Away: 5-3-1
  • Ravens ATS as Favorite: 10-5
  • Chiefs ATS as Underdog: 2-0

Game Overview

Baltimore took care of their business in the Divisional Round, trouncing Houston 34-10.

That game was tied 10-10 at the half, but the Ravens were too much after the break, running off the final 24 points of the game.

That win extended the Ravens’ league lead with 11 wins over teams with a winning record this season. They have a league-best seven wins against 2023 playoff teams.

Baltimore has outscored 2023 playoff teams by 13.8 points per game.

This is the fourth time that Baltimore will play to go to the Super Bowl under John Harbaugh and the first AFC Title opportunity for Lamar Jackson.

There were question marks about the vulnerability of this Kansas City team compared to previous iterations entering the postseason, but once again they are playing in the final AFC Playoff Game before the Super Bowl.

Beating the Bills on Sunday, Kansas City is now playing in their sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game.

Only New England (2011-2018) has a longer such streak on their resume.

Down 13-17 at the half on Sunday, the Chiefs were the first team in this postseason to win after trailing at the half.

This game features arguably the top two defenses in the NFL this season.

The Ravens and Chiefs are first and second in points allowed per game.

The Chiefs are allowing a league-low 2.9 scoring plays per game. The Ravens are second in allowing 3.2 scoring plays per game.

Just 42.1% of the scoring plays against Baltimore have been touchdowns, second in the NFL.

Baltimore is first in the NFL in points allowed per drive (1.29) while the Chiefs are third (1.53).

The Ravens are second in the NFL in yards allowed per play (4.6) while the Chiefs are fourth (4.7).

Neither one of these defenses recorded a sack or turnover last week in the Divisional Round, and they were still the top two teams last weekend in yards allowed per play.

The one area where each of these defenses is different overall is in the turnover department.

Baltimore is tied with San Francisco for a league-best +12 turnover differential.

Kansas City is 29th at -12, the worst of the playoff teams.

The Chiefs being that good in those defensive metrics while only forcing a turnover on 9.1% of opponent possessions (25th) is a testament to how strong that unit has been this season.

These offenses are not too bad, either.

The Ravens are fourth in the NFL in yards per play (5.8) and fourth in points per drive (2.43).

This was a down season in the context of the bar that the Chiefs have set in previous seasons, but this team is still ninth in the league in yards per play (5.6) and 10th in points per drive (2.07).

The Divisional Round was also the first time that the Chiefs were an underdog this season with Patrick Mahomes under center.

Kansas City now has a 7-3 outright record when underdogs with Mahomes.

The Chiefs have been an underdog by more than three points in just four games with Mahomes (3-1). The last time that they were an underdog of more than three points was getting 3.5 points in Baltimore back in 2020. The Chiefs won that game 34-20.

This is the fifth time that these teams have met with these quarterbacks.

The Chiefs and Mahomes have a 3-1 record in those games. But this is the first time that they have played since the 2021 season with different rosters, and Baltimore won that last matchup 36-35.

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Quarterback

Lamar Jackson: Jackson logged his second career playoff win on Saturday on the strength of a huge second half.

After only connecting on 7-of-11 passes for 52 yards (4.7 Y/A) with a touchdown in the first half against Houston, Jackson turned things up after the break.

He hit 9-of-11 passes for 100 yards (9.1 Y/A) with a touchdown in the second half, adding 50 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Jackson has played his best football over this final stretch of the season.

He has paced the position in fantasy points in three of his past five weeks played, logging three 30-point games over that stretch. He has scored more than 20 fantasy points in five of his past seven games played.

If Jackson wants to stay hot, he will need to get off to a better start on Sunday than he did last week because he cannot rely on this Kansas City defense faltering to close the game like Houston did a week ago.

We brought this up a week ago with Josh Allen, but this Kansas City pass defense has made consistent calibrations to shutting down passers in the second half all season.

Allen was just 12-of-20 for 3.8 yards per pass attempt in the second half on Sunday.

For the season now, the Chiefs have allowed a league-low 55.8% completion rate in the second half to go along with 5.8 Y/A (third) and just eight total touchdown passes.

No passer has thrown multiple second-half touchdowns against the Chiefs this season.

In the first half, they have allowed passers to complete 66.0% of their passes (18th) with a 4.0% touchdown rate (15th).

Jackson and the Ravens are going to want to take advantage early.

Jackson took advantage of a hyper-aggressive game plan by Houston last week.

The Texans played man coverage on 52.8% of Jackson’s dropbacks. He had just one game with a higher rate all season, against Cleveland (52.9%) in Week 10.

The Texans played Cover-0 on a season-high 25.0% of plays for Jackson, and he was blitzed on a season-high 72.4% of his dropbacks.

Jackson is averaging 8.5 Y/A against man coverage (fifth in the league) and 8.5 Y/A (fourth in the league) against the blitz this season.

Kansas City is aggressive as well, playing man coverage on 32.2% of dropbacks (sixth in the league) and sitting 13th in blitz rate (27.3%).

These teams have not played since 2021, but Steve Spagnuolo has dialed up the pressure in the past two matchups. The Chiefs have blitzed Jackson on 44.4% and 42.9% of his dropbacks in those games.

In the last matchup, Jackson made them pay, going 8-of-11 for 110 yards (10.0 Y/A) with a touchdown against the blitz.

Kansas City is allowing 11.5 passing points per game, eighth in the league.

Jackson has three other games this season against defenses in the top-10 there, facing Cleveland twice (28.1 points and 13.0 points) and San Francisco (22.6 points).

In those games, Jackson was 51-of-77 (66.2%) for 8.6 Y/A with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

The other area where the Ravens and Jackson have taken advantage of Kansas City’s aggressiveness was on the ground.

In Jackson’s three games facing a defense led by Spagnuolo, he has had rushing lines of 8-46-1, 9-83-0, and 16-107-2.

160 of those yards and two of those touchdowns have come on designed runs as opposed to 76 yards via scrambles.

Jackson has been no stranger to running wild in the postseason.

With 100 yards on the ground on Saturday, that was his third 100-yard rushing game (a playoff record for quarterbacks) in five postseason games.

Baltimore and Kansas City have to be on alert after Buffalo successfully incorporated Allen’s mobility into running successfully on the Chiefs for the second time this season.

Allen rushed 12 times for 72 yards with two touchdowns on Sunday.

The Chiefs are 29th on the season in rushing yards allowed per game to quarterbacks.

Allen (72 and 32 yards), Easton Stick (77), Justin Fields (47), Jake Browning (32), Russell Wilson (31 and 30), Jalen Hurts (29), Trevor Lawrence (26), and Tua Tagovailoa (25 yards) have all added at least 25 yards rushing in games this season versus the Chiefs.

Patrick Mahomes: Mahomes played one of his best games of the season on Sunday.

He set a new season high with a 131.6 rating.

His 9.3 yards per pass attempt were his most since Week 7.

His 73.9% completion rate was his highest since Week 12.

From an EPA per dropback perspective, Mahomes has had his two best games since Week 12 in these two playoff weeks.

Mahomes now has 13 playoff wins, the most of any quarterback before turning 30 years old.

The question coming off of these two playoff performances for this passing game are they just turning it on at the right time as Mahomes has done before, or has Kansas City exploited two defenses that entered these matchups with a litany of defensive injuries?

Both of these teams came into those matchups with depleted linebacking corps.

The Chiefs have been fully aware and forced those teams to get the limited linebackers they had available on the field.

On Sunday, they ran a season-high 39.1% of their passing plays with two tight ends on the field and a season-high 13.0% with three tight ends on the field.

Against Miami, those rates were 17.1% in 12 personnel and 9.8% in 13 personnel.

Throwing between the numbers the past two weeks, Mahomes has connected on 27-of-34 passes (79.4%) for 299 yards (8.8 Y/A) with two touchdowns.

Baltimore will not face the same injury issues this weekend.

Teams throwing between the numbers against Baltimore this season have an 83.1 rating, third in the league.

Even with that uptick in efficiency, Mahomes has scored 18.5 and 18.5 fantasy points in those games against Miami and Buffalo.

He has not had a 20-point fantasy game since Week 12, which is his only 20-point game over his past 11 starts.

Baltimore has allowed the fewest passing points per attempt (0.291) and is second in allowing 10.1 passing points per game.

Matthew Stafford (23.8 passing points) is the only quarterback to have more than 14.9 passing points in a game against the Ravens this season.

Mahomes has played four other games against top-10 defenses in passing points allowed, facing the Bills (12.8 and 16.6 passing points), Jets (8.1 passing points), and Patriots (16.2 passing points).

Mahomes and the Chiefs have scored 27 or more points in every game against the Ravens.

Baltimore has allowed more than 24 points just twice this season.

Mahomes has completed 71.8% of his passes for 9.1 Y/A with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions in this matchup for his career.

That said, Mahomes has not faced Baltimore with Mike Macdonald as their defensive coordinator. He also has not faced Baltimore yet in a game without Tyreek Hill.

We also have to follow the status of Joe Thuney for this game, who suffered a pec injury on Sunday.

Mahomes has been more susceptible to pressure this season than in years past.

When pressured, Mahomes has completed 48.8% of his passes (20th in the league) for 6.3 Y/A (14th).

Running Back

Isiah Pacheco: Pacheco turned 16 touches into 111 yards and a touchdown against the Bills on Sunday.

Pacheco has now found the end zone in six consecutive games with seven touchdowns over that stretch.

He has now played five full games with Jerick McKinnon sidelined. In those games, Pacheco has totaled:

  • Divisional Round vs. BUF: 16 touches for 111 yards and 1 TD
  • Wild Card round vs. MIA: 25 touches for 88 yards and 1 TD
  • Week 17 vs. CIN: 25 touches for 165 yards and 1 TD
  • Week 13 vs. GB: 21 touches for 123 yards and 1 TD
  • Week 12 vs. LV: 20 touches for 89 yards and 2 TD

Pacheco has accounted for 107 of the 124 backfield touches (86.3%) in those games.

The Ravens have been an up-and-down run defense to close the season.

They allowed just 29 yards on 11 carries to the Houston backs in the Divisional Round.

That was coming off allowing over 100 rushing yards to the Rams, 49ers, Dolphins, and Steelers in four of their previous five games.

The other team that they erased on the ground over that stretch was the Jaguars (34 yards on 13 rushes).

Both the Texans and Jags had plenty of their issues running the ball on any team this season.

Since Week 10, Jerome Ford (107 yards), Kyren Williams (114), Christian McCaffrey (103), De’Von Achane (107), and Najee Harris (112) have hit 100 yards rushing against Baltimore.

Over that span, Baltimore has a 60.0% success rate against running back runs (25th), but they are tied in allowing a league-low five rushing touchdowns to running backs on the season.

What will be interesting here is how the Chiefs deploy their run game compared to the past two weeks in the playoffs.

As noted, they have been running more sets with multiple tight ends.

They had success running last week out of those sets, but it still did invite more defenders naturally into the box based on personnel.

46.7% of Pacheco’s runs last week came against eight or more defenders in the box, his highest rate in a game since Week 5.

The Ravens are allowing 3.4 YPC (ninth) with a 71.0% success rate (10th) on loaded box fronts on non-red zone runs by running backs.

On lighter box fronts (six or fewer defenders) on those running back runs, the Ravens are allowing 5.2 YPC (20th).

Pacheco has a 31.1% success rate (28th) with 24.4% of his runs failing to gain yardage (32nd) on non-red zone runs facing heavy boxes.

Baltimore RBs: Justice Hill led the Baltimore backfield in snaps (38), touches (15), and total yards (77) on Sunday.

Gus Edwards played 23 snaps and totaled 11 touches for 39 yards.

Edwards was banged up to close the game with a hand injury, however.

He and Hill each had nine touches through three quarters.

Dalvin Cook made his Baltimore debut with eight touches for 23 yards, all of which came in the fourth quarter. Cook played one offensive snap through the first three quarters without a touch.

Unless Edwards misses this game, we know what we have here.

Hill is going to play the most snaps because he plays on passing downs and has also shown the most juice in this backfield.

He has 77, 112, and 57 yards over his past three full games, his three highest totals on the season. He is averaging 6.8 yards per touch in those games.

Edwards is a touchdown-dependent option for fantasy.

He has out-touched Hill 20-to-4 inside of the five-yard line this season.

Edwards has 12 touchdowns on those touches and has just one touchdown on the season longer than four yards.

This Kansas City team can be run on, something we have highlighted weekly and something that Buffalo took advantage of early last week.

Baltimore’s backs have rushed 66.6% of the time out of the shotgun, which is fifth in the league.

The Chiefs have allowed 4.8 YPC to backfields out of the shotgun, 26th in the league. They have only a 57.7% success rate against those runs, 28th in the league.

The Chiefs have allowed 4.4 YPC (26th) overall to running backs, but like Baltimore, they have gotten away with limiting rushing volume through game scripts and keeping backs out of the end zone.

Kansas City has faced 19.1 backfield rushes per game (sixth) and has allowed just six rushing touchdowns to backfields (third).

Buffalo running backs rushed 21 times for 95 yards against Kansas City last week through three quarters, but the Chiefs rallied and allowed -6 rushing yards on four running back runs in the fourth quarter.

Wide Receiver

Rashee Rice: Rice grabbed all four of his targets for 47 yards on Sunday.

He appeared to be hobbled at the end of the game with a leg issue but continued to play through the injury.

Rice has dealt with knee and hamstring issues to close the season but has not missed any time.

We will enter the week expecting him to play, but keep an eye on his practice availability throughout the week.

Rice ran a route on 76.0% of the Kansas City dropbacks on Sunday. The next closest wide receiver on the team was at 56.0%.

Over the past eight games, Rice has a team-high 24.9% of the targets, leading the team with 695 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Baltimore has been stingy to lead wideouts, ranking 11th in points allowed per game (14.4) to WR1 targets.

Rice is playing 50.9% of his snaps on the outside and 46.8% in the slot.

The Ravens have been lights out on all fronts, allowing a league-low 6.1 yards per target to inside wide receivers and a league-low 6.6 yards per target to outside wide receivers.

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