BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s not often that NFL fans can say a Week 3 matchup was the game of the year, but that’s exactly what fans might have on their hands this week with the Ravens host the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at M&T Bank Stadium this Sunday. A matchup of the league’s last two MVPs in Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes and another chapter in a budding rivalry forming between the two young stars.
“This is must see TV,” said SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein. “The Chiefs have won 11 straight and covered 10 of those. Last week was the first non-cover dating back to last year. They barely won against the Chargers. The Ravens have won 14 straight in the regular season. But, they’re only 4-11 against the number as home favorites.”
Each team enters 2-0 on the season though the Ravens have looked the more consistent team through the first two weeks with dominating wins over the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans. The Chiefs also topped the Texans before trailing for three quarters and needing overtime to beat the Los Angeles Chargers and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert last week.
With the teams looking like the class of the AFC, this matchup may have playoff implications even though it is still very early in the season.
“They changed the playoff rules before this year and now only one team is going to get that bye in the playoffs. So, this is a huge game,” said Hartstein. “It could very well determine who gets homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and who gets the first round bye and who doesn’t. The stakes could not be higher even though it’s only Week 3.”
With the Ravens being the home team, they get the built-in homefield advantage in the number for the week and they’re currently 3.5 point favorites. So it would appear the oddsmakers are expecting a tightly contested affair even closer than the 33-28 Chiefs win in Week 3 last season. What does Hartstein think? Well, the seeing the Super Bowl champs as 3.5 point underdogs is mighty tempting.
“Getting 3.5 with easily one of the top teams in the league I think it is very appetizing or tempting to take the points,” said Hartstein.
The Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football with kickoff set for 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time.
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