The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens 34-20 on Monday Night Football at M&T Bank Stadium, in a game featuring the top two Super Bowl favorites. This was without question the most exciting game on the NFL schedule to this point, and will probably be the most exciting game on the schedule all season (or at least until playoff scenarios come into play, of course). And it was a big statement victory for the Chiefs.

Here are our three main takeaways from the game:

The defending champs remain the team to beat

There’s no Super Bowl hangover for the Kansas City Chiefs. If anything, they look even more difficult to beat, thanks in part to the addition of rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (who had 25 touches for 134 yards in this game).

But we knew that the offense is insane; what’s particularly encouraging for the Chiefs is how well their defense is playing. For the third straight game, the Chiefs allowed 20 points. That’s not some incredible defensive performance, but it’s plenty good enough when you have an offense that will usually put up 30+ points. The Chiefs sacked Lamar Jackson — the 2019 NFL MVP — four times, and held him to 97 passing yards (with a 3.5-yard average) and a 73.1-yard passer rating.

This was a massive win for the Chiefs when thinking to January, with only one postseason bye in each conference this year. They now have the tiebreaker over Baltimore.

And the Kansas City schedule is pretty weak the rest of way. Look at their games in Weeks 7-9, for example:

Patrick Mahomes is on another level

And the biggest reason the Chiefs are the team to beat is of course because they have the best player at the most important position in sports. While there may be players that have better particular seasons (like Lamar Jackson last year), Patrick Mahomes is the most valuable player in the NFL, and it’s not particularly close.

Mahomes was incredible on Monday night, completing 31-of-42 passes for four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 133.5 passer rating. He made some incredible throws.

He even threw an underhand touchdown pass to a fullback, a touchdown pass to an offensive lineman, and ran for a touchdown.

And he did all of this against a very good Ravens defense. We throw around the word “unstoppable” too much in sports, but Mahomes is pretty damn close to that.

The Ravens’ passing game needs to be much better

While the Ravens did their usual thing in the running game on Monday night (21 carries, 158 yards; 7.5 AVG), their passing game was alarmingly unproductive. They can run over a lot of teams in the regular season and come out victorious, but their passing game needs to be *significantly* better to be able to compete with the Chiefs in January (in what would likely be a road game). Jackson also struggled in the Ravens’ stunning playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans this past January, with a 63.2 passer rating.

But 97 passing yards, while averaging just 3.5 yards per attempt? Yikes. As we saw on Monday night, the Ravens’ defense isn’t going to be able to shut down Mahomes. You can run the ball well and keep Mahomes off the field as much as you want, but ultimately you’re going to need several explosive plays in the passing game to keep up with the Chiefs on the scoreboard.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.