Regular Season Week Five: What To Look For
1. Trap Game
Last year the Ravens made a habit of losing to teams that were not as good as them. They lost all 4 of their regular season games last year to the Titans, Jaguars, Seahawks, and Chargers who all didn’t make the playoffs. So far the Ravens have lost to an Eagles team that can be great one week and awful the next. After this week the Ravens play at home against a decent Cowboys team and then travel to Houston to face the undefeated Texans. This has trap game written all over it as the Ravens could be looking ahead to the Cowboys and the Texans. The Chiefs haven’t looked good this year but the Ravens usually play down to the level of their opponent. The Ravens just need to take it one week and a time and they will be fine.
2. Ravens Pass Defense
This is an important game for the Ravens pass defense for a few reasons. First off, they rank 29th in the NFL giving up 295.8 yards per game. With the players they have in the secondary, the pass defense should be much better but that is a whole different conversation. If the Ravens can’t contain the Chiefs passing game then the secondary is a real problem. The Chiefs rank 17th in the NFL passing for 246 yards per game which isn’t that bad when you consider they have a good run game. The real problem with their passing game is Matt Cassel has thrown for 7 interceptions which is tied for 2nd worst in the NFL this year. He is on pace to throw for 4,232 yards, 20 touchdowns, 28 interceptions, and have 16 fumbles. He currently has 3 lost fumbles which makes him responsible for 10 of the Chiefs 15 turnovers, which leads the NFL. The offensive line hasn’t been much better allowing 13 sacks. Chiefs fans are calling for backup QB Brady Quinn to start and the Chiefs haven’t announced who will start the game yet and it is assumed if Cassel struggles again that Quinn will enter the game. The Ravens need to blitz early and often to confuse the QB and force sacks and turnovers which the Chiefs are very susceptible to.
3. Containing RB Jamaal Charles
Charles ranks 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards with 411. He also is tied for 2nd with a ridiculous 5.7 yards per carry. Last time Charles played the Ravens he had 82 yards on 9 carries and 1 TD. This was an average of 9.1 yards per carry. He also had a rushing TD, 1 catch for 15 yards, and 1 lost fumble. Charles should be seeing more carries this this week as backup Peyton Hillis is out with an ankle injury. Due to the speed of Charles the Ravens will need to set the edge very good to push Charles back inside to the rest of the defenders. This job will mainly come down to OLBs Courtney Upshaw, Paul Kruger, and Albert McClellan. So far this year they have none a good job of this. If the Chiefs want to win they will need to get Charles the ball in many different ways so the Ravens defense should be looking for screens and short passes to Charles along with the rushes.
4. Don’t Settle For Field Goals
So far the Ravens have done a good job of this with their new, revamped offense. They rank tied for 2rd in the NFL with a red zone TD percentage of 66.67. Only the Panthers are better with 72.73%. Over the last few years though the Ravens have settled for lots of field goals in the red zone, especially on the road. So far this year the Chiefs defense has allowed 14 TDs and ranks 31st in the NFL in points given up with 136. The Ravens need to take advantage of this weakness of the Chiefs. If the Ravens score field goals instead of touchdowns they will keep the Chiefs in the game and for the first time this year Arrowhead Stadium could get really loud an this would force the Ravens out of their hurry up offense which I expect they will start out in due to the weak Chiefs defense.