What's standing in the way of the No. 1 seed Baltimore Ravens (14-4) from reaching the Super Bowl?
The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs (13-6).
The two face off in the AFC championship game on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Lamar Jackson took his historic contract and ran with it this season, a campaign for his second MVP award. In the divisional round, the Ravens scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to oust the Houston Texans 34-10. Jackson went 16-of-22 for 152 yards passing and added 100 rushing yards. He was responsible for all four of Baltimore's touchdowns.
He's had veteran star Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers at his disposal throughout the season. They've combined for 1,400 yards.
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Patrick Mahomes' receivers haven't been as reliable, but the Chiefs have powered their way through the season and are playing in their sixth conference championship game.
Last week, the Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in the divisional round — again. It was Mahomes' first road playoff game of his career. He went 17-of-23 for 215 yards and two touchdowns, both to Travis Kelce. The duo passed Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski for most playoff touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver tandem. Isiah Pacheco added 97 yards and a rushing score.
The Ravens and Chiefs haven't faced off since 2021 when Jackson ran for 107 yards and two scores in his first victory over Kansas City.
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Ravens vs. Chiefs odds, moneyline, over/under
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- Spread: Ravens (-3.5)
- Moneyline: Ravens (-200); Chiefs (+165)
- Over/under: 44.5
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NFL championship round odds, predictions and picks
AFC: Ravens vs. Chiefs
NFC: 49ers vs. Lions
Lorenzo Reyes: Ravens 26, Chiefs 19
Patrick Mahomes has been able to mask the lack of star talent at receiver for the majority of the season. And Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice have emerged as his two top options. The problem is that Baltimore’s defense — with Roquan Smith and Kyle Hamilton (for Kelce) and the Ravens corners (for Rice) — is built to stop a team like Kansas City. And then on offense, coordinator Todd Monken has done a tremendous job unlocking Lamar Jackson’s efficiency. Kansas City will need to create steady pressure up the middle of the line, otherwise, it might be a long day for the Chiefs’ defense.
Tyler Dragon: Ravens 24, Chiefs 23
The Chiefs have advanced to six straight AFC championship games and have won two of the last four Super Bowls. But Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have a squad talented enough to topple Kansas City’s budding dynasty. Jackson’s playmaking and uncanny ability to beat teams with his arm and legs are going to cause the Chiefs defense a lot of problems. Plus, the Ravens are the best defense that Patrick Mahomes’ faced all year. Enjoy this AFC title bout. Mahomes and Jackson are the two best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Safid Deen: Ravens 30, Chiefs 28
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens didn’t come this far as the AFC’s best team to lose to the reigning champions, right? Sure, the Chiefs are back in the AFC title game, and should be feared because of their talent and reputation. But the Ravens have won more than half their games this season against winning teams, and the Chiefs just happen to be in their path next. I’m taking Jackson and Baltimore in a close one.
Victoria Hernandez: Ravens 28, Chiefs 23
The AFC championship is Lamar Jackson's to lose. Yes, the Chiefs have marched past the Dolphins and Bills and Patrick Mahomes showed that he can, in fact, win a playoff game on the road. But Buffalo's defense was decimated and Kansas City's wide receivers still have not stepped up. The Ravens let the Texans hang around for a bit before putting the bow on them in the fourth quarter. Expect another remarkable performance from Jackson as he launches to his first Super Bowl.
Jordan Mendoza: Ravens 23, Chiefs 16
After what Baltimore did to Houston, it’s hard to see any team beat this stacked squad. Kansas City looked like its old self against Buffalo, but the offense isn’t consistent enough to trust against a ruthless Baltimore defense. The Chiefs have enough to limit Lamar Jackson, but he’s able to break away late in the game to send the Ravens to the Super Bowl.
You can view the full list of USA TODAY's NFL expert predictions here.
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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
Expert Introduction: I'm well-versed in public speaking, having studied its various aspects and practiced it extensively. I've conducted numerous public speaking engagements, including delivering speeches, presentations, and lectures to diverse audiences. Additionally, I've actively engaged in public speaking training, workshops, and seminars, honing my skills and knowledge in this field. My expertise is further demonstrated by my in-depth understanding of the concepts and principles related to public speaking, as well as my ability to apply them effectively in real-world scenarios.
Public Speaking Concepts:
Introduction to Public Speaking
Public speaking involves a face-to-face attempt to inform, persuade, or entertain a group of people through words, physical delivery, and visual or audio aids. It is essential to gain the audience's attention and make them interested in the speech from the outset. Additionally, the introduction should reveal the purpose of the speech to the audience, ensuring clarity and engagement .
Methods of Speech Delivery
Different methods of speech delivery, such as impromptu, extemporaneous, and memorized, offer distinct advantages and challenges. For instance, impromptu speaking is spontaneous and responsive, but may result in a disorganized message. Extemporaneous speaking allows for a conversational tone and increased eye contact, while memorized speeches enable full audience engagement but carry the risk of the speaker forgetting parts due to nervousness .
Structuring the Speech
Organizing speeches serves two crucial functions: improving clarity of thought in a systematic way and increasing the likelihood of the speech's effectiveness. A well-organized speech enhances audience understanding and perception of the speaker's reliability and credibility .
These concepts form the foundation of effective public speaking and are essential for delivering impactful and engaging speeches.
If you have any specific questions or would like to delve deeper into any of these concepts, feel free to ask!