The defense of the Baltimore Ravens, led by perennial All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, is not as good as it has been in previous years, but it is still good enough to pose a big challenge to the Chiefs offense in Sunday’s opening round playoff game.
While the Chiefs have turned themselves into the league’s best rushing offense this season, the Ravens have proven themselves to be one of the best at stopping the run. In fact, the Ravens have only allowed 100 or more yards by an opposing back three times this season.
So while it’s reasonable to expect a healthy dose of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones from the Chiefs on Sunday, Kansas City’s playoff fortunes could very well rest on the right arm of quarterback Matt Cassel.
Cassel will face a Ravens pass defense that has given up 300 or more passing yards in five games, with Ravens’ corners Chris Carr and Josh Wilson allowing opposing receivers to go over the century in each of those games. That should make Chiefs fans optimistic that Cassel and receiver Dwayne Bowe can turn in some big plays on Sunday.
The questions is, will it be enough to beat the surging Ravens?
Baltimore’s record in those five games where their opponents were successful through the air was 4-1. In those four victories, the Ravens were +8 in turnover ratio, while in the game they lost they were -2.
So will the Chiefs get their first playoff win in 17 years on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium?
If Charles and Jones can hold on to the football and Cassel can return to the same efficient form he showed prior to this past week’s loss to the Raiders, then the Chiefs will be packing up their winterwear for a trip to New England. If Lewis, Reed, and company win the turnover battle however, Kansas City fans will be victimized by yet another epic home playoff loss.