The Ravens might be the perfect team. They have a run game that is an unstoppable force, a defense that is an immovable object, and a top 5 all-time kicker in Justin Tucker. They have all that and the MVP frontrunner in Lamar Jackson. Granted, I think Christian McCaffrey should get the MVP and be the first non-QB to win the award since Adrien Peterson came within 9 yards of breaking Eric Dickinson's rushing record, but that's for another post.
This playoff season has already produced more blowouts than I can remember. I enjoyed the Miami vs. Kansas City because of my bias as a Chiefs fan, but the rest of the non-Chiefs fans/non-Swifties world probably didn't. The only good back-and-forth suspenseful games this playoffs have been Los Angeles vs. Detroit and Green Bay vs. San Francisco. Everything else has been a lopsided blowout. Green Bay vs. Dallas was at least interesting because NOBODY had Green Bay blowing Dallas out in their own home. That game at least reminded fans that in the playoffs...ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!
To Houston's credit, they kept it close at halftime. The future is bright for that franchise and they have nothing to hold their heads down about. It's just the Ravens are another beast this year. C.J. Stroud has been hands down the Offensive Rookie of the Year, not to mention a top 10 QB as a Rookie, but that Raven's defense made him look like Ryan Leaf at times.
Unfortunately, the offense never got going. The Houston defense held on as long as it could, but the Houston defense was no match for the Raven's rushing attack. Eventually, Lamar and his arsenal of RBs that the Ravens have will wear even the best of defenses down. Who's left? You have Tampa Bay, Detroit, San Francisco, Buffalo, Kansas City. Who can challenge?
Tampa Bay had a great win in the Wild Card round but was against the team that had the most epic 2nd half of the season collapse of any team in the last 5 seasons. That team lost Arizona and the New York "not so football" Giants to close the regular season. I don't trust Baker Mayfield against Detroit's defense, let alone Baltimore's defense. In all fairness, I don't have them getting out of Detroit, anyway.
Detroit has the weapons to keep up with Baltimore. If the game is a shootout, I give the edge to Detroit, but can Jared Goff not get rattled by this scary Baltimore defense? In the last Super Bowl Jared Goff played, the Patriot's defense bullied him the whole time. Has Jared Goff exercised those demons enough to beat Baltimore?
Buffalo might be too banged up to go toe to toe with Baltimore. Their defense has quite a bit of injuries. Most of the starting DBs are questionable to play at best for the Divisional round. Gabriel Davis has been injured as well. He is one of the best No. 2 WRs in the game. The injuries are one of the main reasons I don't see Buffalo getting past the Chiefs.
San Francisco on paper is the team that should battle the Ravens the best. They have all the same qualities the Ravens do. Great running game, great defense, and even better weapons in the passing game than Baltimore. The kicker for the 49ers isn't as good, but other than that, they stack up great against Baltimore. The only problem...Baltimore destroyed San Francisco just a few weeks ago. That was the game that ruined any chance of Brock Purdy winning MVP. San Francisco didn't look too dominant against Green Bay either. Has San Fran fixed their weaknesses?
That leaves Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The Defense is good enough to hold Lamar Jackson in the passing game, but they've struggled to stop quarterbacks who like to run. As a Chiefs fan, I will never count out Patrick Mahomes. He's had as amazing of 5 years as any QB ever. His "comeback route" in the divisional round against the Texans in the 2019 season was one of the craziest games that nobody ever talks about. He ruined that franchise for the next three seasons. T
hen you got the "13 seconds" game the last time Kansas City played Buffalo in the playoffs. That man won a Super Bowl last year with one and a half legs. That being said, will any of his receivers not named Travis Kelce or Rashee Rice be able to make a play? Those 2 guys are going to get a lot of double teams, because why not? Will any of those remaining players be able to beat anybody on the Raven's defense? Mahomes has done some magical things in the playoffs, but he will need to pull out a David Copperfield, Harry Houdini amount of magic to beat these Ravens and get to his fourth Super Bowl.
The Ravens are one of the most balanced teams I've seen in years, but inferior teams beat superior teams in professional sports all the time. These playoffs have already shown that anything can happen, so any of these teams can do it if it's their turn. As the saying goes... ANY GIVEN SUNDAY.