Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs, 1/9 CBS NOON
Kansas City was one of the surprise teams of the 2010 Season starting off with an upset win of San Diego at home in Week 1. That win was part of a 3-0 start.
Quarterback Matt Cassel posted his best quarterback rating since being named a starting quarterback after the injury to Tom Brady when he was in New England back in 2008.
The Chiefs lived up to their ability to run the ball as Jamaal Charles rushed for 1,467 yards as part of the #1 rushing attack in the NFL. Surprisingly, the Chiefs defense improved from third worst in the league last season to #14 this season.
The Ravens, once again, was known for defense in 2010. Despite upgrades on the offensive side of the ball in the receiver corps, the defense finished in the top ten and top three in points given up. Even though he played in 10 games this season, safety Ed Reed intercepted eight passes. If you extend that to a full 16-game season, Reed probably would have come close to matching the single-season interception record of 14 by Dick “Night Train” Lane of the Los Angeles Rams in a 12-game season in 1952.
The Ravens finished the season with a 12-4 record and another second place finish in the tough AFC North Division. This is the third consecutive year that the Ravens have finished as a Wild Card qualifier. Each time the Ravens have advanced to the next round.
Kansas City is a difficult environment to play, but the Ravens are an experienced team. The Chiefs have a lot of pieces in place to be competitive team, especially in the long run with the personnel in place in the front office.
It may not be as intriguing as the other matchups, but this should be one of the good games of the playoffs.
THE PICK: Baltimore 27, Kansas City 20