Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Chiefs, Football, NFL, Playoffs, Ravens, Sports
In the less heralded game of the weekend on the AFC side, the Baltimore Ravens head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.
On a quick outlook, this game looks to be pretty evenly matched. The 10-6 winner of the AFC West hosts the 12-4 Baltimore Ravens. When looking at the Chiefs, you see a team that has only lost once at home and boasts the second leading rusher in the game, Jamaal Charles. Charles compiled all 1467 yards of his while splitting time with Thomas Jones, who is the thunder to Charles’ lightning. Matt Cassel has had a phenomenal second season in Kansas City, throwing just 7 INT’s opposed to 27 TD’s. One could say he is having a poor man’s Tom Brady-esque season.
Defensively, the Chiefs are stout against the run allowing only 4.3 yards a pass. While they’re young, and sometimes look the part in the passing game, Romeo Crennel has got his boys playing at a higher level than all pundits expected. The Chiefs rank 14th in yards per game allowed, 11th in PPG allowed, and own a +9 turnover differential. Tamba Hali has become one of the league’s better pass rushers, and Eric Berry seems to be the next in line at the safety position to take over the top throne.
Baltimore meanwhile, carries much more fan fare and publicity. Our very own Brandon Dowling thinks they are the best team in the AFC, despite losing to Pittsburgh down the stretch and displaying shaky defensive performances. The Ravens boast an offense which is much more 2 dimensional thanks to steady improvement by Joe Flacco. A new arsenal of weapons at WR such as Anquan Boldin, Donte Stallworth, and T.J Houshmanzadeh will give the young Chiefs DB’s all they can handle. The Ravens have struggled on the ground, which is uncharacteristic of a Ravens squad led by Ray Rice. They’ve only been able to amass 3.8 yards a carry this season, a problem which will only expose itself more against the Chiefs.
While the Ravens still have a good defense, it isn’t great opposed to other Raven defenses who have laced it up in the playoffs. They’re a “mortal” 10th ranked defense in yards per game, but combat that by ranking 3rd in PPG allowed. They’re also in the green when it comes to turnover differential at +7. They don’t blitz as much as they used too, and outside of Ed Reed, are merely average in the secondary.
That will be the key to the Chiefs beating the Ravens. The ball will be forced to come out of Matt Cassel’s hands, and he’ll need to find his offensive weapons consistently. Cassel has been sound in this area interceptions wise, but has only completed 58% of his passes.
Realistically, it will be tough for the Chiefs to beat the Ravens. The Chiefs were 6-4 down the stretch, with wins coming against the Seahawks and Rams. Kansas City has not tested themselves this year, at all. While the Ravens have faced the likes of the Patriots, Steelers, and Jets, the Chiefs biggest game was against the Colts, a game early in the season which they lost. Beating up on the cupcakes is nice, and a good foundation to start the “winning tradition,” but it won’t get you far in the playoffs. You’re hard pressed to say the Chiefs have impressed you this year in terms of winning big games, which is why I have to go with Baltimore despite the game being played at the Arrowhead. Look for Kansas City to keep it close, but not have enough gusto to take it in the end.