It has been 9 days since the Ravens last played so they should be well rested and chomping at the bit to get a piece of the Chiefs. The Ravens are currently one of the healthiest teams in the league with just a two players on the injury list, Jah Reid(Calf) and Torrey Smith(Ankle), both listed as probable. Reid is likely to be active for the first time this season, but don’t expect to see much of him on the field. Smith on the other hand is expected to start and play as he normally would. With that, lets jump in.
3. Torrey Smith/Jacoby Jones/Anquan Boldin vs. Chiefs Secondary- The Chiefs secondary is banged up and not overly talented. Statistically the Chiefs secondary has limited opposing offenses to less than 300 passing yards in each game and less than 250 three times. Those numbers are deceiving though because they have given up passing touches in bunches averaging over 2 per game. The Ravens WRs should be able to overwhelm the Chiefs secondary and Flacco should be able to find them with ease.
2. Ray Rice vs. Chiefs D- Ray Rice has been a force this season. His numbers don’t accurately reflect his greatness because he hasn’t had high volume carries, but his averages speak for themselves. The Chiefs run D has been solid, but they allowed C.J. Spillar to have a huge day(123 yards and 2 TDs rushing) against them and he is the only player they have faced who is remotely on Ray Rices’ talent level. Rice should also be able to find holes through the air. Expect the Chiefs D to blitz often in an attempt to find holes in the Ravens OL, that should leave some space in the middle of the field for Rice to get open and make plays. To read more about Rice this season, check out this article from earlier this week.
1. Ed Reed vs. Matt Cassel- Matt Cassel has churned out 7 interceptions in 4 weeks. Ed Reed has 2 picks and has had his hands on three more over the same span. Reed is playing some of his best football in years and Matt Cassel might be playing the worst he ever has. For those reasons Reed is making his fifth appearance on this list in 5 weeks.
Honorable Mention- Haloti Ngata vs. Chiefs OL- Ngata is playing the best he ever has and the league has taken notice. Jason LaCanfora tweeted the other day that Ngata Is playing at an MVP level. Dean Pees recently said Ngata was playing extremely disciplined and smart football. Ngata has been a human wrecking ball all season, Expect him to cause constant issues for the Chiefs. Ngata, by presence alone, demands double teaming on every single play that opens holes elsewhere.
3. Chiefs OL vs. Ravens Pass Rush- The Chiefs offensive line has been good only once allowing more than 2 sacks in a game (5 to the Bills). Conversely the Ravens pass rush has struggled greatly through the first 4 games. Matt Cassel has thrown interceptions left and right, but the Ravens need to find a way to get pressure on him to encourage a few mistakes.
2. Eric Berry vs. Dennis Pitta- Eric Berry is one of the best young players in the league. After a sensational rookie season Berry missed all of his second season with an ACL tear. Now he is back and he has looked solid the first few weeks. Berry still isn’t all the way back in terms of coverage, but he has improved each week and will cause some problems when tasked with defending Pitta.
1. Jamaal Charles vs. Ravens defense- Jamaal Charles has led the league in scrimmage yards this season thanks in large part to his nearly 300 total yards against the Saints. Charles is nothing to be taken lightly but the Ravens are well aware of that. The last time these two teams played Charles gave the Chiefs an early lead with a 41 yard strike. He finished the game with just 82 yards as the Ravens defense clamped down in the second half. They need to control Charlesor risk the home crowd getting a little to hyped up. I was at the playoff game two years ago, when Charles broke free on that long run the Stadium exploded loader than any stadium I have ever been in. The Chiefs have some of the best fans in the league, if not the best (aside from Ravens fans of course) in the league. The Ravens must silence Charles to keep the crowd under control.