Media roundup: Who's picking the Ravens?

January 08, 2011

Here's a selection of national media predictions for Sunday's Ravens-Chiefs matchup:

• CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco expects the Ravens to survive against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs are a young team with a lot of players in their first postseason game. The Ravens have a lot of veterans who have been there before. Baltimore has also gone the Wild Card route and had success in the past, so that shouldn't be a problem. The Ravens ran the ball better late in the regular season, so expect to see a lot of Ray Rice. The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing, so this one will be decided by the defense that shuts down the run and puts it on the other team's quarterback. I like the Ravens' defense better. It's tough to run on them. Matt Cassel will be forced to make throws down the field to beat the Ravens. I'm not sure he does. Baltimore moves on.

• It's unanimous at CBSSports.com -- all five NFL writers think the Ravens will be victorious and cover the spread.

• SI.com's Peter King believes the Ravens will edge the Chiefs by a field goal.

"We got Ray going,'' Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said the other day, speaking of the end-of-season hot streak for running back Ray Rice. And that's going to be vital in this game. Remember last season's wild-card rout by Baltimore in New England? Rice rushed for 159 yards and was the best player on the field, better that day than two of the top 20 players of all time ( Ray Lewis, Tom Brady). He carried the Ravens that day, and I'll be stunned if the Ravens don't ask him to do exactly the same thing to silence the 70,000 red-wearers in Missouri on Sunday.

For all the positives in Chiefland this year, the decline of the run defense down the stretch has been startling. Over the last five games, foes have rushed for 701 yards (5.0 yards per rush); the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders all hit K.C. for more than 160. I love the Chiefs' run game, with Mr. Inside ( Thomas Jones) and Mr. Outside ( Jamaal Charles) being capable of winning it. But this game, I believe, is going to be a case of a young, hungry, deserving team getting very close, and nearly being rewarded for a division title with a playoff win, but the Ravens being a little bit more equipped to grind down a defense on the ground.

• Dave Goldberg of FanHouse.com thinks the Ravens will easily beat Kansas City.

Another road favorite, based in part on the Chiefs' dismal showing in the finale against Oakland, and in part, because they seem to be a "just glad to be here'' team. (And no, not because Charlie Weis is leaving -- coordinators come and go all the time.)

A couple of stats of note: The Chiefs need to run to be successful and the Ravens allow just 95 yards rushing a game. The Ravens are also third behind Pittsburgh and Green Bay in a more important category -- points allowed -- with just under 17.

• Mike Golic and Merril Hoge pick the Chiefs to win at home, while the rest of the analysts in ESPN's NFL Expert Picks choose the Ravens.

• ESPN Sunday Countdown's Mike Ditka believes Kansas City will beat the Ravens, but the rest of the analysts disagree.

• All eight USA Today analysts pick the Ravens to win against the Chiefs.

• SportingNews.com's analysts agree that the Ravens will advance in the playoffs.

[Compiled by Dean Jones Jr.]

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