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Ravens Insider: Mike Preston: Ravens at Chiefs to kick off the 2024 NFL season? Bring it on. | COMMENTARY


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As far as Baltimore fans are concerned, the NFL couldn’t have picked a better opener to the 2024 season than having the Ravens travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs on Sept. 5.

Maybe someone will come up with a name like the “Revenge or Avenge Bowl” as the bitter feeling still lingers in town from the 17-10 AFC championship game loss to two-time defending Super Bowl champs on Jan. 28.

Fans still talk about it like the game was yesterday. They want to know why running backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill ran the ball a combined six times for 23 yards, or why quarterback Lamar Jackson preferred to throw 37 passes instead of using open running lanes.

They want to know why offensive coordinator Todd Monken abandoned the running game and how coach John Harbaugh allowed it to happen.

Unless truth serum is discovered and administered, we’ll never get all the answers. But at least they can give fans some satisfaction as soon as possible: Just beat Kansas City in the season opener.

True, it’s only one game, and it’s not where you start but rather where you finish. But in Baltimore, at least the fans now have something to look forward to after four months of anger.

Regardless of what any coach says, the opener is always a big deal. It’s the culmination of a never-ending offseason of trades, additions and subtractions from free agency and the draft, weight lifting, minicamps, training camps and so on, all played out in one week.

If your team wins, the entire organization exhales. If they lose, it’s like carrying around a serious case of indigestion for another week.

Plus, this is Kansas City. The Chiefs have one of the loudest stadiums in the league, complete with old throwback music and some of the country’s best barbecue. They even have the best dancing mascot in the league in K.C. Wolf.

They could become the first team to three-peat, something that wasn’t accomplished by the Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers (twice), San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos or New England Patriots, who all won two titles in a row at one point in the league’s long history.

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is comforted by a...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is comforted by a member of the Kansas City chiefs after the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is consoled by a...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is consoled by a member of the Chiefs staff as the Baltimore Ravens fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is consoled by a...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is consoled by a member of the Chiefs staff as the Baltimore Ravens fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Odell Beckham Jr. gives a hug and some advice to fellow Ravens receiver Zay Flowers

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is consoled by Odell Beckham Jr. in the final minutes of the game as the Baltimore Ravens fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Ravens Isaiah Likely looks dejectedly on the sideline as the...

    Ravens Isaiah Likely looks dejectedly on the sideline as the Chiefs defeat the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes holds up the championship...

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes holds up the championship trophy as Chiefs tightend Travis Kelce, right, celebrates.The Chiefs defeated the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Chiefs coach celebrates victory over Baltimore Ravens in AFC Championship.

    Chiefs head coach Andy Reid celebrates with trophy after beating the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce kisses the trophy to celebrate...

    Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce kisses the trophy to celebrate Chiefs victory over the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson walks off the field after...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson walks off the field after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley sits on the bench during...

    Baltimore Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley sits on the bench during the the AFC championship game in Baltimore against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson sits on the bench during...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson sits on the bench during the the AFC championship game in Baltimore against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews walks off the field...

    Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews walks off the field after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers sits dejectedly on the bench...

    Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers sits dejectedly on the bench late in the fourth quarter of a 17-10 loss to the Chiefs in the AFC championship game in January. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard walks off the field after...

    Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard walks off the field after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Ravens Michael Pierce is dejected on the bench as the...

    Ravens Michael Pierce is dejected on the bench as the Chiefs defeated the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • John Brown of Phoenix reacts after the Baltimore Ravens fail...

    John Brown of Phoenix reacts after the Baltimore Ravens fail to score a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter of the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers, left is consoled by...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers, left is consoled by kicker Justin Tucker as the fourth quarter and season close against the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers walks on the sidelines...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers walks on the sidelines in shock, still stinging from his fumble to the Kansas City Chiefs in the end zone during the fourth quarter of the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens fans react to a penalty against Baltimore late...

    Baltimore Ravens fans react to a penalty against Baltimore late during the fourth quarter of the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Fans see the end of the season as the Kansas...

    Fans see the end of the season as the Kansas City Chiefs keep the ball late during the fourth quarter of the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson scrambles as Kansas City Chiefs...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson scrambles as Kansas City Chiefs defensive end George Karlaftis grabs onto him during the fourth quarter of the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. fails to catch a...

    Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. fails to catch a pass in the end zone as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie covers and cornerback Jaylen Watson, #35 watches during the fourth quarter of the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh reacts in frustration during...

    Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh reacts in frustration during the AFC championship game in Baltimore against Kansas City Chiefs. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens cornerback Arthur Maulet, #10 watchees Kansas City Chiefs...

    Baltimore Ravens cornerback Arthur Maulet, #10 watchees Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling make a crucial reception sealing victory during the fourth quarter of the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs celebrate after defensive back Deon Bush, kneeling,...

    Kansas City Chiefs celebrate after defensive back Deon Bush, kneeling, intercepted the ball against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Deon Bush intercepts the ball...

    Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Deon Bush intercepts the ball thrown by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the end zone during the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Triple teamed by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Chamarri Conner,...

    Triple teamed by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Chamarri Conner, #27 and linebacker Nick Bolton, Baltimore Ravens tight end Isaiah Likely watches a pass get intercepted by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Deon Bush, #26 during the fourth quarter of the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. The Chiefs stunned the Ravens, 17-10. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs Deon Bush intercepts a pass intended for...

    Kansas City Chiefs Deon Bush intercepts a pass intended for Baltimore Ravens Isaiah Likely in the end zone in the 4th quarter. The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs Deon Bush intercepts a pass intended for...

    Kansas City Chiefs Deon Bush intercepts a pass intended for Baltimore Ravens Isaiah Likely in the end zone in the 4th quarter. The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs Deon Bush intercepts a pass intended for...

    Kansas City Chiefs Deon Bush intercepts a pass intended for Baltimore Ravens Isaiah Likely in the end zone in the 4th quarter. The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs Deon Bush intercepts a pass intended for...

    Kansas City Chiefs Deon Bush intercepts a pass intended for Baltimore Ravens Isaiah Likely in the end zone in the 4th quarter. The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Deon Bush intercepts the ball...

    Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Deon Bush intercepts the ball thrown by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the end zone during the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • The Chiefs recover Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers' fumble in...

    The Chiefs recover Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers' fumble in the end zone during the AFC championship game in January. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers, #4 coughs up the...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers, #4 coughs up the ball in the end zone to Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie for a touchback during the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers fumbles the ball at...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers fumbles the ball at the one-yard line as he tries to score and the Kansas City Chiefs recover the ball during the AFC championship game against the Chiefs in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Lamar Jackson talks to referee during Ravens loss to Chiefs.

    Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, right, talks to Referee Shawn Smith, left, in the fourth quarter after a taunting penalty on wide receiver Zay Flowers. The Chiefs defeated the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, reacts as Referee Shawn Smith,...

    Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, reacts as Referee Shawn Smith, center, calls a taunting penalty on wide receiver Zay Flowers, right, in the third quarter. The Chiefs defeated the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is called for a taunting...

    Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers is called for a taunting penalty on the Chiefs L'Jarius Sneed after a 54-yards catch in the third quarter. The Chiefs defeated the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike sacks Kansas City Chiefs...

    Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes during the AFC championship game against the Chiefs in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike sacks Kansas City Chiefs...

    Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes during the AFC championship game against the Chiefs in Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Ravens Kyle Hamilton, left, tackles Chiefs Clyde Edwards-Helairehe in the...

    Ravens Kyle Hamilton, left, tackles Chiefs Clyde Edwards-Helairehe in the third quarter. Chiefs defeated the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson keeps for a first down...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson keeps for a first down as the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens\xe2\x80\x99 Lamar Jackson catches a tipped pass and runs...

    Baltimore Ravens\xe2\x80\x99 Lamar Jackson catches a tipped pass and runs for gain in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson catches his own deflected pass...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson catches his own deflected pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws the ball away...

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws the ball away under pressure from Baltimore Ravens Kyle Hamilton as the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs Trent McDuffie breaks up a pass intended...

    Kansas City Chiefs Trent McDuffie breaks up a pass intended for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the 4th quarter. The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback #8 Lamar Jackson catches a pass after...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback #8 Lamar Jackson catches a pass after his pass was deflected by a Chiefs defensive player in the second quarter. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs #22 Trent McDuffie almost intercepts a pass...

    Kansas City Chiefs #22 Trent McDuffie almost intercepts a pass as Baltimore Ravens quarterback #8 Lamar Jackson throws the ball away while being brought down by Kansas City Chiefs #95 Chris Jones in the second quarter. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Ravens quarterback #8 Lamar Jackson has the ball stripped away...

    Ravens quarterback #8 Lamar Jackson has the ball stripped away by Chiefs #90 Charles Omenihu in the second quarter. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce catches a pass over Ravens...

    Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce catches a pass over Ravens Brandon Stephens for a first down in the first quarter. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers fumbles the ball at...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers fumbles the ball at the one-yard line as he tries to score and the Kansas City Chiefs recover the ball during the AFC championship game against the Chiefs in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens\xe2\x80\x99 Kyle Hamilton is unable to stop Kansas City...

    Baltimore Ravens\xe2\x80\x99 Kyle Hamilton is unable to stop Kansas City Chiefs\xe2\x80\x99 Travis Kelce from catching a touchdown pass in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Ravens quarterback #8 Lamar Jackson has the ball stripped away...

    Ravens quarterback #8 Lamar Jackson has the ball stripped away by Chiefs #90 Charles Omenihu in the second quarter. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens\xe2\x80\x99 Lamar Jackson catches a tipped pass and runs...

    Baltimore Ravens\xe2\x80\x99 Lamar Jackson catches a tipped pass and runs for gain in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Jan. 28, 2024: Baltimore Ravens #6 Patrick Queen and teammate...

    Jan. 28, 2024: Baltimore Ravens #6 Patrick Queen and teammate Baltimore Ravens #24 Jadeveon Clowney bring down Kansas City Chiefs #10 Isiah Pacheco in the second quarter. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens #14 Kyle Hamilton celebrates a first half tackle....

    Baltimore Ravens #14 Kyle Hamilton celebrates a first half tackle. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws the ball away...

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws the ball away under pressure from Baltimore Ravens Jadeveon Clowney as the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens Justice Hill is tacked after a gain in...

    Baltimore Ravens Justice Hill is tacked after a gain in the first quarter as the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is striped of the ball...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is striped of the ball by Chiefs Charles Onenihu for a 2nd quarter turnover as the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson keeps for a first down...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson keeps for a first down as the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws the ball away...

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws the ball away under pressure from Baltimore Ravens Kyle Hamilton as the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws a completion to Mark...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws a completion to Mark Andrews in the first quarter as the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson catches a tipped pass and runs...

    Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson catches a tipped pass and runs for gain in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson catches a tipped pass and runs...

    Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson catches a tipped pass and runs for gain in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Kansas City Chiefs' George Karlaftis recovers fumble by Ravens' Lamar...

    Kansas City Chiefs' George Karlaftis recovers fumble by Ravens' Lamar Jackson in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Jan. 28, 2024: Ravens #4 Zay Flowers and teammates celebrate...

    Jan. 28, 2024: Ravens #4 Zay Flowers and teammates celebrate his first quarter touchdown during the Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Ravens #4 Zay Flowers catches a touchdown pass in the...

    Ravens #4 Zay Flowers catches a touchdown pass in the first quarter as Chiefs #32 Nick Bolton was late on the coverage. Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens' Kyle Hamilton is unable to stop Kansas City...

    Baltimore Ravens' Kyle Hamilton is unable to stop Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce from catching a touchdown pass in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers catches a pass in...

    Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers catches a pass in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • Ravens and Chiefs fans fight for the spotlight before the...

    Ravens and Chiefs fans fight for the spotlight before the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Samantha Cholewczynski of Baltimore wears her handmade shirt showing Lamar...

    Samantha Cholewczynski of Baltimore wears her handmade shirt showing Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs AFC title game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Ketia Stokes, right, and her mother, Linda Stokes of Baltimore...

    Ketia Stokes, right, and her mother, Linda Stokes of Baltimore get ready as the Baltimore Ravens take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Patrick Reed a former Parkville resident wears his Johnny Unitas...

    Patrick Reed a former Parkville resident wears his Johnny Unitas jersey that he wore to the Ravens Super Bowl against the 49ers. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Pat McFaul of Bel Air gets ready for the Baltimore...

    Pat McFaul of Bel Air gets ready for the Baltimore Ravens game as they host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • Shawn Blowe of Baltimore carries a giant Lamar Jackson photo...

    Shawn Blowe of Baltimore carries a giant Lamar Jackson photo on his way to thew stadium. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Staff)

  • A group of Ravens fans from the United Kingdom tailgate...

    A group of Ravens fans from the United Kingdom tailgate at the BMORE Around Town tailgate party prior to the AFC championship game between the Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Ravens fans cheer as Zay Flowers arrives prior to the...

    Ravens fans cheer as Zay Flowers arrives prior to the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • avens Jadeveon Clowney arrives prior to the Baltimore Ravens hosting...

    avens Jadeveon Clowney arrives prior to the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Ravens running back Delvin Cook arrives prior to the Baltimore...

    Ravens running back Delvin Cook arrives prior to the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Ravens fans tailgate at the BMORE Around Town tailgate party...

    Ravens fans tailgate at the BMORE Around Town tailgate party prior to the AFC championship game between the Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs. ..(Jerry Jackson/Staff photo)

  • the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the...

    the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

  • Chris and Karen Nicewarner of Martinsburg, W. Va attend every...

    Chris and Karen Nicewarner of Martinsburg, W. Va attend every home game and are on the sideline as the Ravens prepare to host the Chiefs in the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

  • A fan holds a sign about Taylor Swift and Travis...

    A fan holds a sign about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce before the 2024 AFC Championship in Baltimore. (Karl Merton Ferron/staff)

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Come on, folks. If you can’t get excited about this game, check your pulse. In the words of Pro Football Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Lewis, where would you rather be on the first Thursday night in September than watching Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes play against Jackson?

A year ago, some Ravens fans were feeling cocky about Jackson winning the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and a possible Super Bowl. So, they wanted Mahomes — “The King” they called him — to come to Baltimore.

I didn’t. I wanted quarterback Josh Allen and those choking Buffalo Bills here in the title game.

Now, it’s different. It’s time to go into Kansas City and make a statement, much like Detroit did a year ago with a 21-20 victory to spoil the Chiefs’ opener the night they hung their championship banner. This isn’t to suggest that the Ravens are as good as last year, but the game should give us some indicators.

The Ravens panicked last year in the AFC title game, but that might change this season with running back Derrick Henry in the fold. The former Tennessee Titans star should carry the ball 25 times a game early in the season, especially against a Chiefs defense that allowed an average of 113.2 rushing yards per game during the 2023 regular season.

In the conference title game in January, the Chiefs had four sacks, so how will this revamped offensive line without guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson and right tackle Morgan Moses hold up?

There are just as many questions about the receiving corps. The Ravens are in good shape with tight ends Isaiah Likely and Mark Andrews, but can wide receivers Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor and Rashod Bateman beat Kansas City’s outstanding cornerbacks, Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson?

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Zach Orr talking at a news conference at the Under Armour Performance Center. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)
Zach Orr will have a tall task against the Chiefs on Sept. 5 in his first game as the Ravens’ defensive coordinator. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

Defensively, the Ravens have a lot of building to do staff-wise after losing line coach Anthony Weaver to Miami and defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson to Tennessee. Mike Macdonald, who led the first defense in NFL history to lead the league in fewest points allowed, sacks and takeaways as coordinator, is now the coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

So, that leaves Zach Orr, 31, as the team’s new defensive coordinator. His first job is to scheme a way to contain Mahomes and slow down tight end Travis Kelce, who had 11 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore in January.

That’s a huge assignment.

Orr will be going against one of the better offensive minds in the league in Kansas City coach Andy Reid, who has added former Ravens speedy receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to the roster via free agency and drafted Texas receiver Xavier Worthy in the first round.

This game should provide a great matchup of rookies with Worthy going up against the Ravens’ Nate Wiggins, the fastest and highest-rated cover cornerback in college football last season whom Baltimore took with the 30th pick.

Worthy ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.21 seconds) in NFL scouting combine history. Wiggins ran a 4.28. It’s speed versus speed. Plus, we’ll get to see how the Ravens play without weakside linebacker Patrick Queen, now with the Steelers, and safety Geno Stone, who signed with the Bengals in free agency.

There is so much intrigue. The Ravens have had only a few season openers as exciting as this one, and it’s usually when they lined up against Pittsburgh. But this is Kansas City. The Chiefs have won three of the past five Super Bowl titles.

And don’t forget, we’ll also probably get to see American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift a few more times on isolated camera shots as she roots on her boyfriend, Kelce.

I can’t wait.

All right, I went too far. Sorry.

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