(WJZ)- The NFL regular season is over and Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have earned a deserved week of rest as the AFC’s top seed. Boasting the best record in the league at 14-2 and winners of their final 12 games, the Super Bowl hype train is in high gear.
John Harbaugh’s squad is being given the best odds to win the Super Bowl at 9/4 and FiveThirtyEight’s prediction model gives them a 66% chance of making it to the big game and a 46% chance of winning it all once there. Heading into the New Year, the Ravens are perched atop the league set to take on all comers.
As fans begin to make their postseason plans, the biggest question remaining is what could derail the train? Other than injuries, the biggest threat to the team’s hopes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy amidst confetti in Miami appears to come from the team right behind them in the AFC standings.
“No doubt Kansas City. They have already done it. They beat them earlier this year,” said Hall of Fame wide receiver and Inside The NFL analyst Michael Irvin.
The Chiefs are. as Irvin notes, one of just two teams to get the better of the Ravens so far this season. Granted, the loss came way back in Week 3 and there have been lineup changes made by both teams, but the point remains. Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and the Chiefs pose a significant threat. While Mahomes’ abilities are well known, Irvin points out a couple of other reasons K.C. could play spoiler.
“What Kansas City went through this year, games without Patrick Mahomes, games they played where Patrick Mahomes was not at 100 percent. Two things happened. They learned to run the ball a little bit better and the learned to play a lot better defense because that is how they got through those areas,” said Irvin. “Now, you put that back with Patrick Mahomes coming to full fruition and back healthy and putting the big play back in that offense, no doubt Kansas City.”
Over the course of the final six weeks of the regular season, the Chiefs allowed an average of 11.5 points and 95 rushing yards per game. The first time the teams met, the Ravens rolled up 203 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdowns in a furious comeback that fell short. The improved K.C. rush defense going against the mauling Ravens running attack would be fun to watch in a potential conference championship game matchup.
But, before they get to that point, the Ravens will have to take care of business in the divisional round where they will face the lowest remaining seed after this weekend.
You can catch Michael Irvin along with Phil Simms, Brandon Marshall, Ray Lewis, and host James Brown on Inside The NFL every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.