FBG says: Neutral matchup. Against the Cardinals, Lamar Jackson followed up his dazzling Week 1 with another dynamic showing. Shedding the "runner only" tag way ahead of schedule, Jackson has averaged a league-best 12.9 adjusted yards per attempt and 7 touchdowns through the air. He's shining, and he's doing it with a clear focus on his two main playmakers, rookie Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews. Last week, Brown and Andrews accounted for 22 of Jackson's 37 targets, combining for 16 receptions and 198 yards. (No other Raven topped 30 on the day.) Brown's Week 1 eruption was eye-opening, and it came over just 15 snaps of action. He's being managed, but it's clear how much the team wants to feature him when he's in. Brown's snap and usage rates skyrocketed in Week 2; he's being moved around and utilized in different ways to win with his elite speed and quickness. Andrews has all the markings of an in-his-prime Jimmy Graham, fast down the seams and deceptively powerful in the open field. He beat the Arizona secondary repeatedly, both on downfield routes and on tough, contested catches over the middle. Beyond those two, the receiving corps is mostly a situational bunch. Miles Boykin and Willie Snead have combined for just 62 yards on their 9 targets, and the running backs don't factor in much with Jackson at the helm. He's more interested in big, tide-shifting plays down the field than checking down. Armed with a pair of weapons as potent as Brown and Andrews, it's no surprise he's succeeding early on.
For all the Chiefs' surprising 2018 success, the pass defense was mostly a liability. Through two weeks of this season, though, a noticeable turnaround has emerged. New coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has installed an aggressive, turnover-seeking unit that pressures both quarterback and receiver for the ball. Up front, pass rushers Chris Jones and Frank Clark make for a dynamic pass-rush duo. Jones has been nothing short of ferocious on the interior: he lived in the Raiders' backfield Sunday, knocking Derek Carr down four times. It's exceptionally tough for opposing passers to throw from a clean pocket in this matchup. There are some questions on the back end, where outside cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Charvarius Ward remain hit-or-miss. Both were burned badly on deep balls by the Jaguars' D.J. Chark in Week 1. But Kendall Fuller remains solid in the slot, and rookie safety Juan Thornhill has injected new playmaking chops into this unit. There could be major help on the horizon, too, as some reports this week have connected the team to disgruntled Jaguars star Jalen Ramsey. As it stands, though, this unit may no longer be the pushover it was for much of last season.