Reigning Super Bowl champions always have the biggest targets on their backs. They'll get everyone's best shots each week as the rest of the NFL aims for signature victories.
That holds true for the Ravens, who after defeating the Texans on Sunday, are already focused on the challenge the dynamic Kansas City Chiefs will bring to Baltimore for a heavyweight Week 3 contest.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for 204 yards and a touchdown to lead Baltimore past the Deshaun Watson-led Houston Texans to improve to 2-0. While those weren't the gaudy numbers Ravens fans have become accustomed to, Jackson was efficient and didn't turn the ball over.
Similarly, Patrick Mahomes got off to a slow start before finishing with 302 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers. Both quarterbacks were hit early and often, taking them out of their MVP-caliber rhythms. But they made it through. And now the anticipation for a Jackson-Mahomes showdown cranks up.
When asked if it was already too early to start thinking about playing Kansas City, Jackson said he'll get right on it tomorrow. Running back Mark Ingram II, however, isn't waiting that long.
"Immediately," Ingram said when asked how long the team will wait to start game planning. "I think everyone has their iPads, we're going to study our film. We'll enjoy this on the plane ride home and then we'll focus on the Chiefs."
With lofty expectations for this season, Ingram knows how important this bout will be for Baltimore.
"They're the defending champs, and we know we have to play our best football and put our best foot forward to get a W," Ingram said. "Like I said, enjoy our plane ride home, we’ll watch the film, make our corrections and get ready to work on our game plan for next week, get ready for the defending champs."
Watching film on the Texans game tonight, reflecting, and applying that toward playing opposing head coach Andy Reid's team is what Ingram and Co. will do. For Ravens cornerback DeShon Elliot, who told reporters that Mahomes is one of his good friends, the attention also turns tonight.
"We’ll get back to work tonight, I'm sure," Elliot said. "Tonight is all we’re going to have, but tomorrow is the time we will worry about KC. It's one game at a time, so we had to get through Houston first, but we got that dub so now we're going to enjoy this win. But tomorrow it’s time to get back to working, time to get back at a KC."
While no fans are permitted to attend what promises to be one of the games of the 2020 NFL season in just the league's third week, many eyeballs will be taking it in on Monday night.
"It's going to be a great game, so everyone tune in to that. It's going to be a fantastic game," Elliot said.