If the Baltimore Ravens were watching Wild Card Saturday from Kansas City yesterday then they should have learned that nothing is guaranteed. Just ask both representatives from last year’s Super Bowl.
In what was perhaps the biggest upset in the history of Wild Card Weekend the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks eliminated the defending Super Bowl Champions 41-36 at Quest Field in yesterdays first playoff game.
There have been 358 division champions in the modern pro football era and the Seahawks were the first to ever win their division with a losing record. They obviously now become the first to win a playoff game.
In yesterday’s second game Rex Ryan carried a personal record of 1-5 into Indianapolis against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Rex and his Jets would advance when Nick Folk hit a last second field goal giving New York the 14-13 victory.
Today’s game in Kansas City pits the 12-4 Wild Card Ravens against the upstart AFC West Division champion 10-6 Chiefs. The Ravens will carry the best winning percentage playoff road record in NFL history into Arrowhead Stadium today.
The Chiefs come in as the NFL's best rushing team averaging 164 yards per game. The Ravens run defense has been one of the stingiest in the NFL for 10 years and this year is no different, yielding just 94 rushing yards to their opponents this season.
The Chiefs also boast one the best touchdown receivers in the NFL this season. Dwayne Bowe led all NFL receivers with 15 TDs this season.
The Ravens showed they could be beat through the air this season with quarterbacks like Ryan Fitzpatrick having career days against them.
The Ravens surrendered 52 completions of 20 or more yards this season. All-world safety and oft injured Ravens safety Ed Reed led the NFL with seven interceptions this season despite just playing in 10 games.
The Ravens have begun to return to their power running game and Ray Rice in the last four games. Rice has 82 touches for 402 all-purpose yards during the last four weeks of the regular season.
Baltimore must get WR Anquan Boldin on track today. Boldin has just five catches for 26 yards in the last three games.
The Chiefs are young, very young and had just two victories against teams with winning records this season. They proved their youth by being blown out at home last week against a divisional rival in the last game of the season dropping them to the four seed. The Raiders beat them 31-10.
The Chiefs defense ranked 14th this season giving up an average of 330 yards per game. The Ravens defense remained a top 10 defense once again but barely. They gave up 319 yards per game with the bulk of those yards through the air.
The Ravens have a knack for blowing fourth quarter leads and did just that, a league-high nine times this season.
The Chiefs offense ranked 12th while the Ravens' lack of an offensive identity in the first 12 games dropped them to 22nd overall.
The Ravens should win this game today but then again weren't the 11-point favorite Super Bowl champs supposed to do the same thing yesterday in Seattle?
The Jets were supposed to get worn down by an improving Colts rushing attack allowing Peyton Manning to pull away at the end last night? How did that work out for Jim Caldwell's team?
The Ravens should win this game if they play the way they played for most of the season. Run the ball setting up Flacco, who by the way has yet to miss the playoffs since he was drafted three years ago. Flacco is just one of four quarterbacks to have accomplished this feat in NFL history.
The Ravens will have a hard time stopping the Chiefs running game but they will bottle it up enough to force Matt Cassel into a few mistakes.
John Harbaugh has led the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons. He is 3-2 in the playoffs playing every game on the road. Last season the Ravens delivered a devastating first-round home loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The Chiefs' last playoff appearance came in 2004 with their last playoff win coming in 1993.
None of that means anything but the Ravens should have learned yesterday that the Chiefs should not be taken lightly.
Regardless of records and stats the game comes down to execution for 60 minutes and that’s something the Ravens struggled with this year.
Executing for a full 60 minutes will not be a problem today. The Ravens will play a complete game today and the Chiefs will learn that experience and defense wins playoff games on the road in NFL.
Join me live in a little over an hour as I attempt to live blog my first Ravens game. Log in to see if Ray Rice can run 80 yards for a touchdown to start the game again this year.
Let's talk about Cam Cameron's play selection and what offense will show up today.
Please feel free to join in and comment. So if you’re not going out to watch, stay home and enjoy the game with me on the Bleacher Report.
My prediction: Ravens 27, Chiefs 13
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