Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs
1:00 ET @ M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
The Ravens come into their friendly confines of M&T Bank and do battle with the lowly Kansas City Chiefs. The Purple Birds look to start off their season on a positive note and also seek to make this campaign like 2008's when they went 11-5 and found themselves in the AFC Championship game.
The Chiefs come in with a new QB and looking for a new record for the season. They finished 2008 with a 2-14 record in the cellar of the AFC West. They may, however, be without their new QB Matt Cassel though and may have to find a way to pull a win out of .... well .... somewhere.
Right Tackle Michael Oher vs. Defensive End Tyson Jackson:
You can call it the battle of the rookies but these two men are far from it. As a 6 foot 4 inch, 310 pound rookie lineman out of Ole Miss, Michael Oher has impressed during pre-season for the Ravens. Look no further than his first pre-season game where he absolutely abused the Washington Redskins' defensive line en route to a 23-0 Raven win.
Oher has to pick on someone at least close to his own size this week as the 6 foot, 4 inch, 206 pound Tyson Jackson comes rolling into town with Joe Flacco's blood on his mind. Tyson was Kansas City's first round draft pick in this year's draft out of LSU. He went 3rd overall for his dominance and ability to combine speed with power.
This match-up may as well decide the game. Tyson Jackson looks to put pressure on Joe Flacco which may be the only chance the Chiefs have of winning. Forcing Joe Flacco to throw early will cause issues for Baltimore as their pass game is still lowly. The pressure of Jackson will also clog holes in the run game by which Baltimore lives and dies with. Their only real offensive production last season came on the ground.
A lot is resting on this monstrous in this game.
Players to Watch:
Ray Rice - RB - Baltimore Ravens
Almost everyone wanted to draft Ray Rice in the late rounds of their fantasy football drafts this season in hopes of getting what may be the biggest draft steal of this year. Many experts are predicting a big outburst from Rice this year as he will get the majority of the carries for the Ravens. Chris Mortensen predicted Ray Rice to rush for 1200-1400 yards this season putting him on the same level as Steve Slaton and Matt Forte were on last season. That is probably the main reason why Mort put the Ravens in the Super Bowl as the AFC representative.
The Ravens will probably stick to the running game plan of last season and call Ray Rice's number multiple times in the game.
Dwayne Bowe - WR - Kansas City Chiefs
Bowe is considered one of the best receivers in the NFL and is the heart and sole of, basically, the entire Kansas City team. With the Ravens' weak secondary, the Chiefs will look to move the chains through the air. Cassel's number one target will without a doubt be Bowe. The only chance the Ravens have of containing him is on plays where he is picked up by the safety Ed Reed.
Last season, Bowe pulled down 86 balls, totaling 1022 yards and seven touchdowns.
Matt Cassel - QB - Kansas City Chiefs
The question is still around whether Cassel will play or not after being injured in the preseason. What we do know is that if he does play, he will not be at 100%. But he will also have a feast on the terrible Ravens' secondary that consists of Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Dawan Landry, and the superstar Ed Reed.
Matt will have Bobby Engram, Mark Bradley, and Dwayne Bowe as his targets with the only thing stopping him being the Baltimore safeties. Neither Foxworth, Washington, nor Samari Rolle will be a force in this game just as they will not be in many games this season.
It is also good to watch Matt Cassel this game to get a tell for the season to come ... to see if Matt is the real deal. He stepped into a good situation in New England and had success. Tyler Thigpen had success last season in this KC system, so maybe Cassel is set up for success again.
The Chiefs look to be no problem for the great Ravens defense. They will have to rely on passing the ball with a not healthy Matt Cassel with pressure pushing down on him. If the the Ravens corners somehow come into their own and shut down their men, the Chiefs are in for a long game.
The Ravens shouldn't have a problem advancing the ball on the Chiefs defense with lacing strength in the secondary and at the linebacker positions. Joe Flacco looked solid in the preseason and as did the entire Ravens squad.
Baltimore wins 31-3.