The Baltimore Ravens feel like they are legitimate contenders to go to the Super Bowl after revamping the offense in the offseason. After getting by the Browns 23-16, the Ravens travel to Arrowhead for a week 5 matchup with the underperforming Kansas City Chiefs. Are the Ravens going to take the Chiefs lightly and go through the motions? Or are they going to gain some momentum after they beat the Patriots, by literally, inches to pull to 2-1 on the season in week 3. The Chiefs sit on the opposite end of the spectrum at 1-3. They will get another opportunity at home in week 5 after getting knocked off by the San Diego Chargers last week.
The Chiefs certainly got off on the wrong foot last week. With turnover after turnover propelled by quarterback Matt Cassel and often reliable running back Jamaal Charles. Cassel threw three interceptions and Charles fumbled the ball away twice. Many of the turnovers occurring deep in their own territory, including a Cassel pick-6 that gave the Chargers a commanding 21-6 lead before the half. Cassel has felt the heat all week, mainly to do with a potential quarterback change considering the way he has performed thus far this season. He has tossed 5 touchdowns on the year with 7 interceptions. Whenever a quarterback throws more touchdowns than interceptions, his job is almost always in jeopardy. Then again, if you are Matt Sanchez you get unlimited lives, but that is for another time and article. The Chiefs played from beyond from throughout, so it was difficult to get Jamaal Charles a full host of carries. The running game is their number one weapon, as they lead the NFL in rushing yards per game at 172 yards. When the Chiefs fell behind early, their complete identity was scrapped, forcing the ball with 42 pass attempts for Cassel spells disaster. If they limited their turnovers against the Chargers the game may have had a different tune.
People were expecting big things out of the Chiefs defense this season with playmakers at several key positions. However, cornerback Brandon Flowers has battled injuries and the defense as a whole has been out of sync. One thing they can hang their hat on, though, is the fact they don’t give up much yardage a game. They currently are 13th in the NFL, allowing 334 yards per game. Nothing spectacular, but it is deceiving if you look at the points they allow a game, 34 (31st). Much of that is accredited to the amount of turnovers the offense has given up deep in their own territory. No matter how good a defense is, giving teams 20-yards to work with spells disaster. The Chiefs offense has been their defenses worst enemy so far in 2012.
The Ravens offense with a more up tempo no huddle attack has looked quite well. Second year receiver Torrey Smith is having a breakout campaign, he has already posted 337 yards with 3 touchdowns. All 3 touchdowns coming in the last two weeks, two against the New England and one against the Browns. The Ravens have long desired a speedy receiver that can get downfield quickly; Smith has provided that for this team. Running back Ray Rice continues to churn out productive outings, rushing for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns. While the Ravens are famous for their stout defenses, it has been the offense that’s needed to carry this team. Without linebacker Terrell Suggs in the lineup, the defense has definitely taken a step back. They are ranked 23rd in the league, a far-cry from their days in the top-5 which was a yearly occurrence.
Ravens vs. Chiefs Spread and Betting Odds:
Baltimore Ravens -6.5 (-110)
@Kansas City Chiefs +6.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ravens vs. Chiefs Pick:
The Ravens have a history to playing down to opponents on the road in these spots. Bettors were left scratching their heads last year when they lost to the Seahawks and Jaguars on the road. The lines were nearly identical in those games to this one against the Chiefs. A great team against an inferior opponent on a short line, great. Not so fast, the Ravens are not the same team at home as they are on the road. They hovered around .500 last year, with their only impressive win coming against the Steelers in a primetime SNF game.
I think when the Chiefs get into their element, feeding the ball to Jamaal Charles 30 times a game they are a decent team. If they are playing catch-up then the team starts to unravel. I think this a great chance for the Chiefs to pull out a signature win and the Ravens falter, overlooking the Chiefs in this spot. If the books felt this was going to be a blowout Ravens win they would have set this at -7.5 I believe. I like this game will be a 20-17, 23-17 type of game, so sign me up with the Chiefs.
PICK = Chiefs +6.5