Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

To be the man, you gotta beat the man.

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey and the Baltimore Ravens boast one of the NFL’s elite defenses, but they have to get past Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game (3 p.m. ET). The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions and have won two of the last four Super Bowls.

Humphrey likened the aura that surrounds the Chiefs to that of his alma mater, Alabama.

“I don’t know why I was thinking about this on the field, but I feel like the Chiefs — over the years — are the [professional] football version of Alabama,” Humphrey said at his Thursday media availability. “It’s like, every year in, year out, they might be like, ‘Oh they’re not looking that good. They’re not this.’ They’re still ‘that team.’ They’re still the team to beat. Whether they’re losing, [or] whether they’re winning, they’re still the Chiefs, and they’re the team to beat. They’re Super Bowl champs, and for us to beat them, it’s going to take everybody firing on all cylinders. [Patrick] Mahomes, I think him and Lamar [Jackson] … I think those two quarterbacks are … It’s those two quarterbacks and then everybody else. 

“So, we’re playing one or two of the best quarterbacks … The two best quarterbacks in all the world are going to be on the same field, and so, we’re facing one, and they’re facing the other. I think it will be a really good matchup.”

Alabama previously won six national championships under now-retired head coach Nick Saban from 2007-23. Humphrey was part of Alabama’s 2015 championship team and went on to become a first-round draft selection of the Ravens in 2017.

Humphrey, a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro selection, was limited to 10 games in the regular season due to injury. Across said playing time, he totaled one interception and 26 combined tackles. He has been inactive for Baltimore’s last two games.

Humphrey was part of a Ravens defense that surrendered just 301.4 total yards (sixth in the NFL) and 16.5 points (first) per game in the regular season. Last week, Baltimore’s defense surrendered just three points against the Houston Texans in the AFC divisional round, with Houston’s lone touchdown coming off a punt return.

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Baltimore cruised its way to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, going 13-4 and putting together standout wins against the San Francisco 49ers (33-19), Detroit Lions (38-6) and Miami Dolphins (56-19), while sweeping the season series with the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals.

On the other hand, Kansas City, which went 11-6 in the regular season, is in the midst of a roller-coaster season that saw it lose five of eight games down the stretch and squeak out the AFC West division title. That said, Kansas City handled Miami in the wild-card round, 26-7, and eked out a 27-24 win on the road against the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round.

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