Ravens Vs. Chiefs

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M&t Bank Stadium, 9 P.m., Chs. 2,7

October 04, 2004|By Jamison Hensley


Ravens run offense vs. Chiefs run defense: This represents the biggest mismatch of the game. Jamal Lewis is coming off a 186-yard rushing effort in Cincinnati, his fifth-best career performance. The All-Pro running back has gained 100 yards in 13 of his past 18 games, dating to last season. The Chiefs' run defense has been the team's most vulnerable area. Kansas City is giving up 150.3 yards rushing a game after being ripped by Denver's Quentin Griffin (156 yards) and Carolina's DeShaun Foster (174). The Chiefs' linebackers (Monty Beisel in the middle and Scott Fujita and Shawn Barber on the outside) are suspect.


Ravens pass offense vs. Chiefs pass defense: Without Todd Heap (ankle) and Travis Taylor (groin), the only reliable target in the Ravens' limited passing game has been Randy Hymes. The key remains limiting the turnovers by quarterback Kyle Boller. He hasn't thrown an interception in 44 pass attempts, but his three interceptions last year against the Chiefs (which came at the Kansas City 2-yard line, 7-yard line and in the end zone) proved costly. The Chiefs have the best interception percentage in the NFL (five in 83 pass attempts) and cornerback Eric Warfield has three. Kansas City, though, has been shaky late in games. Last week, the Chiefs allowed Houston's David Carr to complete six of seven throws for 112 yards and one TD in a fourth-quarter comeback.


Chiefs run offense vs. Ravens run defense: Priest Holmes entered Week 4 second in the NFL with 351 rushing yards and is averaging 4.7 per carry. The Ravens are second against the run and haven't allowed a back to gain more than 98 yards this season. The Chiefs have one of the most formidable lines in football, with Pro Bowl players in right guard Will Shields and left tackle Willie Roaf. The Ravens should get a boost with the expected return of nose tackle Kelly Gregg, who missed the past two games with a knee injury. Last year, Holmes had 90 yards rushing on 22 carries against the Ravens but didn't break a run longer than 14 yards.


Chiefs pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense: With the Chiefs having little presence at receiver, defenses have locked onto tight end Tony Gonzalez, and Kansas City has slipped to 23rd in passing offense. Starting receiver Eddie Kennison (hamstring) probably won't play, which means return man Dante Hall will play more on offense. The Chiefs have been unable to stretch teams and quarterback Trent Green's 6.1 yards-per-attempt average ranks in the bottom third of the NFL. The Ravens' secondary hasn't lived up to expectations, giving up 11 catches of 20-plus yards, but it has much more talent than Kansas City in this matchup. Can nickel back Deion Sanders be "Prime Time" in his return to prime time?


Special teams: Hall can change directions - and games - like few returners before him. He had four runbacks for touchdowns last season (including a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Ravens) but hasn't reached the end zone off special teams since Oct. 5, 2003. Still, his 14.0-yard average on punts ranks first in the NFL. The Ravens' coverage teams are solid, ranking in the top 11 in the league on kickoffs and punts. Rookie B.J. Sams had a season-long 63-yard punt return for the Ravens last week. Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes (2-for-4 on field-goal tries this season) and punter Jason Baker (39.8-yard average) are below average.


Intangibles: Going against winless Kansas City would be a "trap" game, one the Ravens might easily overlook, if not for playing in prime time. The Ravens are looking to remain perfect on Monday night (3-0 in franchise history). The Ravens have won seven straight regular-season games at M&T Bank Stadium, their last loss coming against Kansas City last year. The Chiefs are a desperate team, but they had the same attitude last week and were upset by Houston.


Prediction: In a game that will be close throughout, the Ravens will prove to be the more determined team in the national spotlight. It will come down to the Ravens' big-play defense in the fourth quarter and the leg of Ravens kicker Matt Stover.

RAVENS, 27-24



Records: Ravens 2-1, Chiefs 0-3.

Line: Ravens by 6.

Vs. spread: Ravens 2-1, Chiefs 0-3.

Series: Chiefs lead 2-0

Last meeting: Chiefs won, 17-10, on Sept. 28, 2003, in Baltimore.

NFL rankings

Ravens offense: Overall (22), rush (2), pass (31).

Ravens defense: Overall (16), rush (10), pass (20).

Chiefs offense: Overall (18), rush (6), pass (23).

Chiefs defense: Overall (23), rush (29), pass (16).

Ravens injuries

Out: C Mike Flynn (collarbone); TE Todd Heap (ankle).

Doubtful: WR Travis Taylor (groin).

Questionable: T Ethan Brooks (knee); DT Kelly Gregg (knee); RB Ovie Mughelli (hamstring); CB Deion Sanders (hamstring); LB T.J. Slaughter (hamstring).

Chiefs injuries

Out: TE Kris Wilson (ankle).

Questionable: CB William Bartee (neck); WR Eddie Kennison (hamstring); WR Samie Parker (hamstring).

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