Straight and Arrowhead: Chiefs (+6.5) Headline NFL Week 5 Picks Against Spread

Mark CrystelContributor IIIOctober 6, 2012

A 36-28 loss to the Steelers in 1985 was the last time the Chiefs dropped three straight by a TD or more at Arrowhead.
A 36-28 loss to the Steelers in 1985 was the last time the Chiefs dropped three straight by a TD or more at Arrowhead.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When veteran football fans think of the year 1985, a few things likely come to mind.

The Chicago Bears.  Refrigerator Perry and that powerful Bears defense.  The cool Jim McMahon and his head bands.  Perhaps Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins, who handed Chicago its only loss of the 1985 season.

Far less remember Bill Kennedy, the Chiefs quarterback of the 1985 season.

But knowledgeable Kansas City Chiefs fans with a sharp memory might remember something else: It's also the last time the Chiefs lost three consecutive home games by a touchdown or more.

After a bad home loss followed by an overtime win at New Orleans that seems like a distant memory, the Chiefs find themselves as almost a seven-point home underdog to a Ravens team that was eager for a break after playing four games in 18 days.

Coach John Harbaugh knows it, which prompted him to give his team the weekend off.

The problem is, it's only Week 5.

"I know a lot of guys out there were fighting fatigue," said Ravens safety Ed Reed.

Ray Lewis admitted it, too, which might have been the reason the Browns were able to stay in the game right down to the last pass.

The extra days off might benefit Baltimore's veteran defense.

The question is, can they hand the Chiefs another bad home loss?

If history is any indication, the chances are slim.  At least, it would be the first time in a generation.

Kansas City has out-gained each of its four opponents so far, but the key in all three losses has been turnovers.

Most recently, Kansas City committed six turnovers that killed scoring drives in the home loss to San Diego and were minus-11 in turnover margin in its three losses.   The Chiefs have committed a league-high 15 turnovers so far, and Matt Cassel's seven interceptions and three fumbles have accounted for two-thirds of those. 

But it's unlikely for an NFL team to commit six turnovers in consecutive games, especially at home, so look for the Chiefs to clean it up and play it conservative, utilizing Jamaal Charles to control the clock and keep the ball away from Baltimore's no-huddle offense.

Charles is the NFL's leading rusher through four games.  As a matter of fact, the Chiefs are just two spots behind Baltimore in total offense and lead the Ravens in total defense.

Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said the Cassel's job is safe for now, but conventional wisdom suggests he is on the hot seat.

This game could be his last chance, but the home crowd could help if the Chiefs perform well early and the fans could get behind them.

Baltimore had trouble in Philadelphia with the crowd noise, and Coach Harbaugh admitted it caused problems for Joe Flacco and his offense.

The Chiefs dropped their first two home games by double digits, but you have to go back to 1985 to find the last time it happened three times in a row. 

As a six-point underdog, oddsmakers are suggesting it might happen again for the first time in 27 years.

But with the Chiefs coming off a six-turnover game and desperate for a good showing in front of the home fans against a Ravens team on the road and possibly having some shades of fatigue, look for Cassel and the Chiefs to put forth a special effort in front of a sea of red at Arrowhead Stadium.

Take Kansas City plus the points.