Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes answers questions during a news conference at the end of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. Kansas City won the game 28-10. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) yells before a play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, celebrates with head coach John Harbaugh after an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 23-17. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, rushes past Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs have been the talk of the NFL for months, their innovation and points-a-plenty style making them one of the league's most entertaining offenses.
They might not even be the best one on the field Sunday.
That's because for all the gaudy numbers the Chiefs hung on Jacksonville and Oakland in roaring to a 2-0 start, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have been even more prolific.
They lead the league in total offense and points; Kansas City is merely third and fourth. They also lead in time of possession and rushing, they're fourth in passing and third-down percentage rate, and like the Chiefs they have yet to turn over the ball this season.
So what is making it all click for Jackson and the Ravens?
''He's does a lot of things well,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ''Everyone kind of goes to his run game but he can throw the football. He's doing it with accuracy and he can do it all different levels, whether that's rolling out or in the pocket.
''He has talent around him for sure,'' Reid added, ''but the way it's slowed down for him, his reads are great and all those little things end up being big things.''
Just ask Mahomes, who mastered so many of those little things while rolling to league MVP in his first season as the Chiefs' starter. And all he's done for an encore is throw for 821 yards and seven TDs without an interception through the first two weeks of his season.
In other words, Mahomes vs Jackson should be a compelling game-within-a-game on Sunday.
Just like it was last year.
The Chiefs rallied downfield in the final minute of regulation, Mahomes converting a fourth down with an audacious throw to Tyreek Hill before finding Damien Williams for the tying touchdown. Harrison Butker added the winning field goal in overtime in a crucial December matchup.
''Of course we'll watch last year's game,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, ''but teams change so much, and they watch the game, too. So it's always a new game. ... You try to predict something and all of a sudden it gets blown up in your face. That, to me, is the beauty of this league.''
As two of the AFC's top teams prepare to meet at Arrowhead Stadium, here are things to know:
The Chiefs, already missing Hill to a broken collarbone, are without left tackle Eric Fisher after he underwent core muscle surgery earlier this week. They also could play without Williams (knee) and fellow running back LeSean McCoy (ankle), who have been hobbled by injuries.
Yet nobody on the Kansas City sideline sounds too concerned.
''We have depth everywhere,'' Mahomes said. ''We have guys that can come in and do the job.''
Ravens tight end Mark Andrews leads the team with 16 catches, has a pair of 100-yard games, has scored twice and has a knack for making a big play on third down.
''He knows how to get open,'' Harbaugh said. ''Mark has really showed up the last two weeks.''
There are times when Andrews will even alter the pattern to get open. If there was a lamppost and a car on the field, Andrews would find the seam between them - ''I tell Mark all the time, `We're going to play street ball,' and that's what the case is,'' Jackson said.
Punter Dustin Colquitt is accustomed to the old-man jokes as the 37-year-old elder-statesman in the locker room, and he's heard plenty of jokes about never having to work given the way Kansas City has piled up points the past couple seasons.
In fact, Colquitt didn't get to punt at all during a Week 1 win over the Jaguars, though the two-time Pro Bowl selection held for plenty of field goals and extra points.
You might think that would make for an easy life, but Colquitt said it's the total opposite.
''Any time you're not working so much, every kick, snap, hold is more under the microscope,'' he explained. ''It's fun watching that offense, but you can't get too caught up in it.''
After starting his NFL career with Baltimore, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee played 60 games over four seasons with the Ravens before spending three years in Chicago and another with the Redskins.
Now he's back where he started after signing as a free agent in May.
''It feels great. I'm back home in Baltimore,'' said McPhee, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in 2012, and who has five tackles the first two games this season. ''This is the team that raised me. I'm trying to get back to the playoffs and win it all, that's it.''
One week after Reid matched wits with good buddy Jon Gruden in Oakland, he must do the same with Harbaugh, who learned the craft while coaching under him in Philadelphia. The two have remained close friends during their years apart, and Reid was giddy when Harbaugh won a Super Bowl title.
''He's a phenomenal coach,'' Reid said. ''I love playing against him because I know they're well-coached and they have good players. We do this for the challenge, that experience on Sundays. I always look forward to playing those guys.''
Five Cold Plays: Week 2
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews looks to build off his effective Week 1 performance on Sunday against the Texans. The 25-year-old had a spectacular start to the season against the Browns, finishing with five catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns. His ceiling for the remainder of the season is high, primarily since opposing defenses will be focused on slowing down Lamar Jackson. Fantasy managers in all formats should keep Andrews rolling in Week 2.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II is a risky play heading into Sunday's meeting against Houston. The veteran had an unfavorable performance during the Week 1 slaughter over the Browns, rushing for just 29 yards on 10 attempts. While Ingram may have a few more solid performances throughout the 2020 campaign, the presence of rookie back J.K. Dobbins, who had seven carries and two touchdowns against Cleveland, will undoubtably lower his stock moving forward. For those with nowhere else to turn, the 30-year-old should still hold a spot as a starter as the upside is still barely there against the Texans, as long as fantasy managers are comfortable with the potential for another shoddy performance as well.
Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins has a favorable upside on Sunday against the Texans. Although Mark Ingram II will potentially continue to snag some carries, the rookie managed to find the end zone twice against the Browns despite only touching the ball seven times. Dobbins is still a risky option, but he also has a high ceiling in Week 2, especially inside the five-yard line. For those in deeper leagues looking to throw a dart, the former second-round pick has plenty of potential against Houston to produce another effective fantasy performance.
Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander (hand) was added to the injury report, but he is expected to play against the Detroit Lions in Week 2.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was impressive during the season-opener against the Browns and will look to keep that momentum going into Week 2 against Houston. The Texans Defense didn't impress against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs during the Thursday night matchup, allowing the former MVP to compile three touchdown tosses. Heading into Sunday, Jackson has all the tools needed to make some noise for fantasy owners. The third-year signal-caller threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns on nearly 71 percent passing against the Texans in Week 11 of 2019. He also added 10 carries for 79 yards. While Jackson's previous success against Houston doesn't mean another stellar outing is on tap, his ceiling is higher than usual on Sunday.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (knee) is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against the Saints. Ruggs III didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday before getting in a limited session on Friday. The rookie is at least trending in the right direction and probably has a good shot to suit up, especially considering he was on the practice field Saturday. The matchup against the Saints isn't great, as they were stingy against the Buccaneers' wideouts in Week 1. Consider Ruggs III a risky WR3/4 if he plays.
New York Jets running back Josh Adams was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday ahead of the team's Week 2 matchup with the 49ers. With Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) on Injured Reserve, the Jets are bringing up Adams for some depth. Frank Gore will see most of the carries, with the leftovers going to fellow backs La'Mical Perine (ankle) and newly acquired Kalen Ballage. Adams did score a garbage time touchdown in Week 1, though his role is far too unpredictable to count on for any production. This backfield is one of the more unappealing ones in fantasy football at the moment.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen is working on a contract extension with the team. The talks have progressed well and the two sides were pushing to get the deal done in advance of Week 2, though it may have to wait until after Chicago's game against the Giants on Sunday. The dynamic halfback has averaged 4.2 yards per carry on 257 career attempts and has exceeded 300 receiving yards in each of his three seasons in the league. The Bears are clearly viewing him as an important part of their future, which is music to the ears of fantasy managers. Stay tuned for details on any potential contract signing.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets a favorable matchup against the Jaguars in Week 2. Tannehill looked good in his opening game of 2020, completing 29 of 43 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Denver Broncos. Now he'll square off with a Jacksonville defense that surrendered 363 passing yards to Philip Rivers. Tannehill is certainly skilled enough to dissect the Jaguars' defense, though he may take a backseat to Derrick Henry in this one. The veteran could be a good streaming option this week, but his upside is capped because Tennessee may not need to rely on his arm to win this week.
Free-agent DB Grant Haley (Giants) and DT Anthony Zettel (Vikings) were signed to the New Orleans Saints' practice squad Saturday, Sept. 19.
Baltimore Ravens DB Jordan Richards was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 19.
Chicago Bears LB Devante Bond was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 19.
New York Jets LB Alec Ogletree was signed to the active roster from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 19. WR Josh Malone was also promoted to the active roster from the practice squad.
San Francisco 49ers DL Dee Ford (neck) was ruled out Saturday, Sept. 19, and won't play Week 2 against the New York Jets.
Tennessee Titans RB Jeremy McNichols and WR Cameron Batson were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 19.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) has been ruled out for Monday night's game against the Las Vegas Raiders. There was a "glimmer of hope" that Thomas would be able to suit up a week after suffering a high-ankle sprain, though that was probably false hope at best. This is ideal for fantasy managers because now they can pivot to options on their bench from Sunday's slate of games. Fellow wideout Emmanuel Sanders and tight end Jared Cook should see a larger share of targets while Tre'Quan Smith has some appeal as a sleeper against the Raiders' suspect secondary.
Green Bay Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 19, due to a knee injury.
Houston Texans RB C.J. Prosise was promoted to the active roster from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 19.
New Orleans Saints DE Marcus Davenport (elbow) and LB Chase Hansen (hip) didn't practice Saturday, Sept. 19, and have been ruled out for the Week 2 game against the Las Vegas Raiders Monday, Sept. 21. OL Cesar Ruiz (ankle) and S P.J. Williams (hamstring) both practiced in full and have been cleared for Week 2.