A dozen (or so) tasks the Chiefs must accomplish to knock off the Ravens

The Chiefs are playing in their sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game. If they're going to go back to the Super Bowl, here's what they need to do.

Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15)
Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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9. The tackles need to hold up

The Ravens' defense led the NFL in sacks this season, so the offensive line must hold up in this game. With Joe Thuney not playing in this game, that will put much more pressure on the tackles: Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith.

Jawaan Taylor was given an $80M contract last March and so far he hasn't been worth it. Donovan Smith didn't have sky-high expectations, but it's fair to say that he's played as well as expected. Neither player had a strong performance against Buffalo. Via PFF ($), both tackles were responsible for all five pressures that Mahomes faced (Taylor allowed 3 and Smith surrendered 2). They have to be a lot better against the Ravens.

Joe Thuney not suiting up for this game puts immense pressure on the other four starting linemen. Given how inconsistent the tackles have been this season, they'll be under extreme scrutiny in this matchup. Edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney has had a renaissance season in 2023, tying a career-high in sacks with 9.5. He's capable of being a game-wrecker. Odafe Oweh and Kyle Van Noy have had nice seasons themselves and both can take advantage if either Taylor or Smith have disappointing performances.

If Patrick Mahomes is under constant pressure in this matchup. the Chiefs won't be going to Super Bowl LVIII. If they're going to win, it starts with keeping him clean and the offensive tackles are the most important players in doing so.