Ravens @ Chiefs
Sunday – 10/7/12
This Sunday at 1:00pm the 3-1 Ravens roll into Arrow Head Stadium in Kansas City to take on a struggling 1-3 Chiefs team. Baltimore leads the all-time series between the two with a 3-2 record. Their last meeting ended in a 30-7 beat down in the 2011 playoffs with the Ravens being the victor in that contest. Kansas City is 0-2 at home this year and will be looking to get a win in what is considered one of the loudest home crowds in the entire league. Baltimore has been on the road only once this year and that ending with a 1 point loss at the hands of the Eagles.
The Ravens are coming off a nice extended week having battled and defeated the Cleveland Browns on last week’s installment of Thursday Night Football. This was a much needed break because Ed Reed and company stated after their victory over Cleveland that they were battling fatigue in the fourth quarter. This rested Ravens team is going to be blood thirsty in their quest to pick up their first road win of the year.
Kansas City has been struggling so far this year and will be looking to get their home crowd back on their bandwagon and they could do just that with a big win over the Ravens. The Chiefs are going to be coming into Sunday quite hungry for a win and their fans sure want to see an improvement over last week’s game in which they committed 6 turnovers against the Chargers.
It should be an interesting contest Sunday so let’s check out what both teams need to do to secure a victory.
What the Ravens need to do to win the game
This week might finally be the week in which we see the Ravens run game come to life. Arrow Head stadium is known for being one of the loudest stadiums in all of football and as we all know, loud stadiums make it hard for no huddle offenses. In addition to the crowd noise, Kansas City is allowing 118 rushing yards a game. With a loud crowd and a defense that is allowing over 100 yards rushing a game, the real question is: Why not pound the rock with Ray Rice? I suspect we will see a heavy dose of Ray Rice and I think it will be needed to secure a road victory this week.
The Ravens’ defense is going to have their hands full Sunday and will need a stout performance to aid a win. Jamaal Charles enters week 5 second in the NFL in rushing yards at 411 yards. He is a dangerous weapon on the ground and Ray Lewis and the run defense need to keep Charles in check. Stopping Charles has to be the number one objective for the Ravens defense. Baltimore needs to make Matt Cassel beat them. Last week that was the Chargers game plan against the Chiefs. They limited Charles to only 88 yards rushing and forced Cassel into throwing the ball 42 times. That resulted in three interceptions and a victory for the Chargers. If Baltimore can limit Charles and have Cassel as uncomfortable as this guy on a longboard, a Ravens victory will come that much easier.
What the Chiefs need to do to win the game
Kansas City needs flip the script on what the Ravens defense is going to try to do. They need to let Jamaal Charles win the game and not rely on Matt Cassel to win it for them. Look for the Chiefs to find some interesting ways to feed Charles the ball and keep him involved early and often. Also if they do need to pass the ball frequently, they do have one hell of a target to throw to. Dwayne Bowe is an excellent receiver and his numbers prove just that. He is 10th in the league in receiving yards and only one behind the leader in touchdown catches at 3. In addition to those numbers, he is also the most targeted receiver in the league with 49 targets through the first 4 weeks. If the Ravens do shut down Charles, look for Bowe to be the vocal part of the offense.
This might seem obvious, but the Chiefs really need to keep the opposing teams offenses out of the end zone a little more. They are second in the league in scoring defense letting opponents score at a rate of 34 points per game. The Ravens can be a high powered offense and if they score northward of 30 points, the Chiefs have no chance. Kansas City’s magic number needs to be 20 on Sunday. If the Chiefs D can keep the Ravens under 20 points, which is no easy task, then they will have a great chance to win this game.
The match-up to keep an eye on and that very well could decide the outcome of the game is Jamaal Charles vs the Ravens rushing defense. Ray Lewis, as evident through the first four weeks, has defiantly lost a step and his lateral quickness is nowhere where it used to be. His motivational skills have not diminished though and he knows how to get this Ravens defense rolling. Charles is going to try and run all over the place and put his name on top of the rushing leader list, but Ray Lewis never backs down from a challenge. The bad news for the Chiefs, this Ravens defense is well rested. Look for this to be a great match-up throughout the entire game.
As tough as Arrow Head stadium can be to play in, and as good as Jamaal Charles has looked this season, I’m still predicting a Ravens victory. With an extended week’s rest this Ravens team is going to be fired up to claim its first road victory of the season. I see the return of the Ravens running game coming to life Sunday, which is going to lead to a 31-17 Ravens victory.