Ravens also face history in K.C.

Chiefs have won 18 in row at home in December

December 10, 2006|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

The Ravens' complicated scenario to wrap up a playoff berth today spans three time zones, two division rivalries and one formidable streak.

In their first trip to Arrowhead Stadium, the Ravens will look to become the first team in a decade to beat the Kansas City Chiefs at home in December. The last team to do that was the Indianapolis Colts in 1996.

The Chiefs have won 18 straight December games at Arrowhead, the longest home winning streak in this month since the AFL-NFL merger.

Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce, a 10-year veteran who played in Kansas City once a year with the Denver Broncos, said there is a reason for the Chiefs' unparalleled success.

"By far, it's the loudest place in the NFL - that includes domes," he said. "The best way I can explain it is this: I played a game there once where it was minus-40 degrees and the stadium was 80 percent full. They're just crazy."

If the Ravens win in Kansas City, they would still need the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and New York Jets all to lose in order to clinch their first playoff berth since 2003.

The Bengals, a 10 1/2 -point favorite, face the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos, a 7 1/2 -point underdog, play at the San Diego Chargers. And the Jets, a 3 1/2 -point favorite, go against the Buffalo Bills.

The Ravens (9-3), who hold a two-game lead over the Bengals in the AFC North, know a win could move them closer to the division title as well as a top-two seed in the AFC.

The Chiefs (7-5) are caught in a five-way logjam for the final two wild-card spots.

"It's gut-check time for us," Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez told Kansas City reporters. "There's no other way to say it: We can't afford to lose this one."

Facing a desperate team and a daunting crowd, the Ravens say it's imperative they have a strong start.

"We just have to have ball control offensively and move the ball," quarterback Steve McNair said. "I think it's all about shutting them down early."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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