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Playoff Time: Ravens Versus Chiefs

With the playoffs upon us, it’s time to take a look at the way the different teams match up against one another. First, we have the Baltimore Ravens vs the Kansas City Chiefs. Since there’s no better way to assess the strengths and weaknesses of two opposing teams than through a positional breakdown, here we go:

Joe Flacco goes up against KC’s Matt Cassel in the battle of the quarterbacks. Both Flacco and Cassel finished the regular season with poor performances. Flacco’s came in a game against Cincinnati in which, despite his woes, he showed significant improvement over his week two self when the Bengals pretty much managed to shut him down, forcing him to register 4 interceptions and to generally crack up under the pressure.

Matt Cassel had a weak start to his season too, but since his breakout effort against the Broncos he has been constantly improving. Once shouldn’t forget that the way to this guy leads through the league’s best rushing attack, so anyone aiming to put pressure on him will have to contend with that. Running back Ray Rice may be the X-factor for the Ravens, as it has become quite clear that the team thrives when he is involved. Jamaal Charles on the other hand is one of the best running backs the league has to offer, his athleticism, speed and explosiveness tough even for the Ravens to handle. In this match-up, it’s clear where advantage is. Receivers-wise the Ravens retain the edge, even though Dwayne Bowe may have a few surprises up his sleeve for them. The Chiefs’ Tony Moeaki is a solid presence at TE too, so this one’s a tight race. The defensive/offensive lines and the linebackers match-ups are mostly dominated by the Ravens too, although at the OLB position, the Chiefs’ Tamba Hali (finished 2nd in the NFL in sacks), is a formidable presence indeed.

The bottom line: the game is likely to turn into a classic unstoppable force meeting the immovable object affair. The Chiefs rely on their running game a lot, and they’re likely to push it against the Ravens too. On the other hand, the Ravens are great at stuffing the run, so what it basically boils down to is which of the two teams is more capable of making big plays. The Chiefs will have the support of the 12th player no doubt, but the Ravens have postseason experience to counter it.

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