Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens: Edge Goes To The Chiefs
The playoff match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens is not sexy.
There are no compelling story lines. No brash coach making bold predictions. No player having a remarkable comeback year.
Both teams are workmanlike mirror images of themselves.
In fact, an in-depth look at the team and individual statistics of the Chiefs and Ravens reveals two teams that are evenly matched.
The Chiefs do have a slight edge though for these reasons.
1. Chiefs Passing Attack On First Down
The Chiefs come into the game with the leagues number one rushing attack but they will be hard pressed to run on the Raven’s number five rushing defense early on in the contest.
Matt Cassel and Charlie Weis need to throw on first down to loosen up the Raven’s staunch front seven.
With quick, short throws that will act as long hand-offs the Chiefs will be in a position to run on second, third and, if necessary, fourth down.
2. The Ravens Are Old On Defense
While the Raven's finished a respectable tenth in total team defense, they are not as dominate as years past.
The Ravens base defense does not get to the quarterback on first or second down like years past. They only managed 27 sacks in the regular season with eleven of those coming from one player in Terrell Suggs.
The Chiefs should be able to convert short third down plays and keep the aging Raven’s defense on the field for extended periods of time.
3. Run Downhill At Ray Lewis
Expect the Chiefs to run directly at Ray Lewis with fullback Tim Castille leading the way for Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.
Lewis has been a dynamic player and will go down as one of the greatest middle linebackers to ever play the game.
Throughout his career though, Lewis has struggled with running games that have made him fight through traffic to make tackles.
4. Must Protect This House
The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1993 with the great Joe Montana was playing quarterback.
In order to get the noise level ear ringing and mistake making loud, the Chiefs need to create some big plays early on defense to get the fans into a complete frenzy.
Derrick Johnson has had an opportunity to intercept the ball six times this year with his instinctual play but for whatever reason he has not held on to the ball. He needs to actually hold onto the ball this Sunday.