Week 5: Baltimore Ravens At Kansas City Chiefs
- QuarterbackThe Ravens are clearly one of the better teams in the AFC and much of it has to do with the improvement of Joe Flacco. He is one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league. He can get it deep, escape pressure and he seems to rise to the moment and the competition. That’s a formula for winning.The Chiefs are reeling following their third defeat in four games. Matt Cassel is coming off a game in which he threw three first-half interceptions. That’s a formula for defeat. He seems unprepared for what opposing defenses are going to throw at him.
- OffenseThe Ravens understand that while Flacco is good, their best all-around offensive player is running back Ray Rice. He has the combination of speed and power that allows him to bounce out of tackles and then run by opponents in the secondary. The big-play ability of Torrey Smith fits well with Flacco’s arm while Anquan Boldin can make tough catches.The Chiefs also want to attack with the running game and Jamaal Charles. While he’s not as strong as Rice, he has the speed to hit the home run. Dwayne Bowe is a talented receiver who does not always compete at the level you want.
- DefenseThe Ravens are no longer the shutdown defense they once were and there’s little doubt about it. However, the Ravens can make big plays on defense. Ed Reed is one of the greatest safeties the game has ever seen and he must be accounted for on each play. Haloti Ngata is one of the best interior linemen in the game.The Chiefs may have given up 37 points to the Chargers, but much of it was due to an offense that turned the ball over five times in the first half. Linebacker Derrick Johnson is one of the team’s hardest hitters and Eric Berry is solid in the secondary.
- Special TeamsThe Ravens think Justin Tucker is going to be a solid NFL kicker and will be able to make the big kicks in clutch situations. So far, he looks good but not great. Punter Sam Koch has a strong leg and can place the ball inside the 20.The Chiefs would love to hold their own with the Ravens on offense and defense and let special teams decide the battle. Head coach Romeo Crennel knows that punt returner Javier Arenas is capable of breaking the big play at any time. Placekicker Ryan Succop is consistent and dependable.
The Ravens are rolling in the early season and the big-play ability of Joe Flacco makes them a legitimate threat to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. In addition to Flacco’s big arm, Ray Rice gives them perhaps the best running back in the league. The Chiefs are off to a slow start and need a dramatic turnaround to become respectable.