Sunday, January 2, 2011
Quick Take: Ravens at Chiefs
By Bill Williamson
Three things to know about next Sunday's Chiefs-Ravens wild-card game:
1. Change focus: Much of the Chiefs’ early playoff preparation was focused on the New York Jets. The odds were in favor of the Chiefs hosting the Jets even though the Chiefs entered the week with a chance to play the Ravens or the Steelers. Yet, because of the Chiefs’ loss to Oakland, the Colts' win over Tennessee and the Ravens' and Steelers’ victories, the Chiefs are the No. 4 seed and the Ravens are the No. 5 seed. The Chiefs’ early preparation for New York shouldn’t hurt them. They can quickly change course and now start focusing on the 12-4 Ravens. I get the feeling that the Chiefs were quietly disappointed they didn’t get to host the Jets because they felt they were a better matchup for them than the Ravens. But the home loss to Oakland took the Chiefs’ wild-card fate out of their hands.
2. Get the home mojo back: One of Kansas City’s biggest disappointments Sunday was its inability to end the regular season with a perfect home record. The Chiefs finished the regular season 7-1 at home. Still, guard Brian Waters said it's do-over time next week and he sees the New Arrowhead Stadium as being a huge advantage. “I can’t wait to see our home crowd in the playoffs,” Waters said. Still, Baltimore likely will not be frightened. The Ravens went 5-3 on the road this season.
3. Run the ball: This game could likely come down to who can run the ball and who can stop it. The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing this season. The Ravens were fifth in the NFL against the run. The Chiefs are best when their run game is working. Still, the Ravens are a very stout defense, especially up front. The Chiefs’ offensive line was thrown around by Oakland on Sunday. It must rebound and control the line of the scrimmage if the Chiefs are able to play the game they want to play.