NFL Nation: Ravens-Chiefs Quick Take 2011

Late AFC West notes

July, 28, 2011
Late night (OK, early morning) notes on a Wild Wednesday:

Add the Houston Texans to the teams that are making a big run at Nnanmdi Asomugha. The Texans join the Jets and 49ers as teams currently scrambling to pay Asomugha big dollars. Houston’s foray into the Asomugha party is not a surprise. They’ve been expected to make a run. The more teams making a serious bid, means the more money Asomugha will take him.

I get the feeling his agents are sitting back and letting the ledger rise. Meanwhile, ESPN’s John Clayton points out a couple of reasons why an Asomugha move to San Francisco is very possible.
  • The Denver Post reports that no deal is imminent between the Broncos and the Dolphins for quarterback Kyle Orton and Orton is expected to practice in Denver on Thursday. Still, this is a fluid situation that can change quickly.
  • Broncos safety Brian Dawkins told reporters in Denver Wednesday that he is in the process of restructuring his contract, which will keep him in Denver.
  • Denver defensive end Elvis Dumervil proclaimed that he is 100 percent healthy. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle last August and missed the entire 2010 season. He is moving back to defensive end as the Broncos transition to the 4-3 defense this season.
  • After making linebacker Jonas Mouton the first second-round pick to sign earlier Wednesday, the Chargers signed tackle Stephen Schilling (sixth round) and linebacker Andrew Gachkar (seventh round) later in the evening.

Quick Take: Ravens at Chiefs

January, 2, 2011
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.

Quick Take: Ravens at Chiefs

January, 2, 2011
Three things to know about next Sunday's Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs wild-card game:

1. Ravens catch a break: Baltimore (12-4) caught a huge break by avoiding the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round. A loss by the Chiefs (10-6) and a win by the Colts in Week 17 sent Baltimore to Kansas City. Although no playoff draw is easy, the Ravens are just 2-8 against Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, including last year's playoff loss in the divisional round. Now, Manning and the Colts are the New York Jets' problem. Kansas City is a team without a lot of playoff experience, and that could work in Baltimore's favor.

2. Baltimore's offense must step up: Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome spent the past offseason beefing up the offense to perform in big games. But at times, the offense this season has been a disappointment. Baltimore traded for receiver Anquan Boldin, signed free-agent receivers T. J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte' Stallworth and drafted two rookie tight ends. The goal was to put as many weapons around third-year quarterback Joe Flacco as possible and take pressure off the defense. On paper, the Ravens are one of the most well-rounded playoff teams with the ability to win in different ways. But Baltimore's offense must prove it can be productive and consistent in the playoffs.

3. Let the seeding debate begin: Should teams be awarded for having the better season or winning the division? Baltimore won two more games than Kansas City, but the Chiefs have home-field advantage. The Ravens have been mum on the subject recently, but that's probably a sign they're not ecstatic about the seeding system after having a tremendous season. Baltimore finished second in the AFC North via a tiebreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4), who have a first-round bye and at least one home playoff game. The Ravens are one of just four teams to finish with 12 wins in the NFL, but they probably will play their entire postseason on the road as the fifth seed.