Comparing the Kansas City Chiefs to the Baltimore Ravens
Last year, I compared the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC's top team, the New England Patriots. This year, I'll do the same thing and compare the Chiefs to the AFC's best, the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
You may think there are no similarities between the best team in the league compared to the worst, but you might be surprised. In fact, Baltimore scored nine points in Week 5 against Kansas City, the fewest it had scored all year.
As you may remember, Matt Cassel's fumble at the 1-yard line turned out to be the biggest difference-maker in that game, and the Ravens survived 9-6.
In this slideshow, I'll go by position to compare both teams to see which team is better in each area.
Chiefs: Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn
Ravens: Joe Flacco
This one isn't even close. The Chiefs started Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn, both of whom had issues taking care of the football, while Joe Flacco turned the ball over once in the postseason and won the Super Bowl MVP.
Flacco's turnover came on a fumble against the Denver Broncos in a double-overtime win. His ability to go four postseason games without throwing an interception is rare and difficult—something most quarterbacks struggle to do for four straight games.
Chiefs: Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis
Ravens: Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce
Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice, both of whom came into the league in 2008, are highly valued by their respective teams. Both running backs get extensive touches each season as both offenses work their plan around their running backs.
Charles carried the ball 285 times and caught 35 passes. Rice, on the other hand, had fewer touches on the ground, but far more receptions than Charles. Their backups haven't been involved as much and have had to help carry the load for their teams at the running back spot.
Rice averaged 5.1 yards per touch while Charles finished with a 5.5 yard-per-touch average.
Chiefs: Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss
Ravens: Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta
In the regular season and postseason combined, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson teamed up for 102 catches for 1,147 yards. Pitta was the go-to tight end in the end zone after coming away with 10 touchdowns all year.
Tony Moeaki had a quiet 2012 season while trying to bounce back from a season-ending injury during the preseason finale the year before. He ended up second on the team in receiving yards and fourth in receptions after being used a lot during his rookie season.
But the Ravens get far more production from their tight ends. Moeaki was on his own after Kevin Boss suffered a season-ending injury early in the year.
Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin and Dexter McCluster
Ravens: Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones
The Chiefs receiving corps don’t even come close to what the Ravens have to offer.
Dwayne Bowe gained 801 yards and three touchdowns, all which came late in the fourth quarter when games were already decided. Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith both beat Bowe in each of those categories.
Flacco has a reliable supporting cast in Boldin, Smith and Jacoby Jones. Meanwhile, the Chiefs' top target was Bowe, with no one else coming close. Dexter McCluster came through at times, but Jon Baldwin hasn’t played like a first-round draft choice since coming out of Pittsburgh.
Chiefs: Branden Albert, Jeff Allen, Ryan Lilja, Jon Asamoah and Eric Winston
Ravens: Bryant McKinnie, Kelechi Osemele, Matt Birk, Yanda Marshal and Michael Oher
The Ravens offensive line includes right guard Yanda Marshal, who received a Pro Bowl invitation. The Chiefs offensive line had some success with run blocking, but the Ravens had a better and healthier offensive line overall
The Chiefs lost Rodney Hudson for the season, while Branden Albert missed three games. Although Albert allowed only one sack, he missed both games against Von Miller.
Ravens: Vonta Leach
The Chiefs ran a different offense last year in which they did not have a fullback. Instead, Charles, Peyton Hillis, Nate Eachus, Shaun Draughn, Cyrus Gray and Patrick DiMarco were all listed as running backs.
Chiefs: Tyson Jackson, Dontari Poe and Ropati Pitoitua
Ravens: Arthur Jones, Terrence Cody and Haloti Ngata
Haloti Ngata is one of the most feared defensive lineman in the NFL today. The Chiefs were looking for a Ngata-like player in Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey and Dontari Poe, but they hit and missed when they took those three linemen.
Jackson stepped up a little bit after making little to no impact in his first three years in the league. He still has a long way to go, and so does the entire Chiefs defensive line.
Chiefs: Derrick Johnson, Brandon Siler, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali
Ravens: Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Dannell Ellerbe and Courtney Upshaw
Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis are usually part of the league's most dominating linebacking corps. However, the Chiefs had one of the top group of linebackers in the league last season.
Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson went back to the Pro Bowl after both linebackers were named to the Pro Bowl for the first time the year before. Justin Houston eventually became an alternative Pro Bowler after the Super Bowl matchup was decided.
The Chiefs 3-4 defense has seen success, thanks to the linebackers. If the Chiefs can see improvement from Brandon Siler or find someone else in his spot, they'll have the best group of linebackers in the league.
Chiefs: Brandon Flowers, Jalil Brown, Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis
Ravens: Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams
The Chiefs struggled last year with their defensive backs. After losing Brandon Carr, Stanford Routt did not become the player many thought he'd be in Kansas City. Despite going a step back from his rookie season, Eric Berry still got a Pro Bowl nod.
Ed Reed was named the starting free safety and was going to play alongside Berry in the backfield before the Ravens made their run. Reed and Bernard Pollard had a lot of experience as defensive backs and had to lead the group after Lardarius Webb went out with a midseason injury.
But Cary Williams pulled through at cornerback with four interceptions, which were the first four of his six-year career.
Brandon Flowers has played well throughout his career, but the Chiefs are waiting for him to step up to that elite level.
Chiefs: Javier Arenas, Ryan Succop and Dustin Colquitt
Ravens: Jacoby Jones, Justin Tucker and Sam Koch
The Ravens and Chiefs were both pleased with what they had in their special teams play. Justin Tucker and Ryan Succop both pulled through for their teams while Dustin Colquitt was recognized as the best punter in the AFC and represented the Chiefs in the Pro Bowl.
But what gives the Ravens the big edge is the play of Jacoby Jones, who had two kick-return touchdowns and one punt-return touchdown during the regular season. Jones also extended Baltimore's lead in the Super Bowl when he opened up the second half with a 109-yard kick-return touchdown.