If you look at the course of the season for the Baltimore Ravens, you find that they played tough games against tough opponents. But their record could have well been way opposite of the outcome, given the number of close games they played, and with weaker teams. They do seem to play to the level of their competition. They do not get blown out, however. But, they also do not run away with games. The MVP of this team seems to be Billy Cundiff.
Game one vs. Jets WIN 10-9. Jets overall Defensive rank 3rd, Offensive rank 11th
Game two vs. Bengals LOSE 15-10 Cincinnati overall Defensive rank 15th, Offensive rank 20th
Game three vs. Browns WIN 24-17 Cleveland overal Defensive rank 22nd, Offensive rank 29th
Game four vs. Steelers WIN 17-14 Pittsburgh overall Defensive rank 2nd, Offensive rank 14th
Game five vs. Broncos WIN 31-17 Denver overall Defensive rank 32nd, Offensive rank 13th
Game six vs. Patriots LOSE 23-20 (OT) New England overall Defensive rank 25, Offensive rank 8th
Game seven vs. Buffalo Bills WIN 37-34 (OT) Buffalo overall Defensive rank 24th, Offensive rank 25th
Game eight vs. Dolphins WIN 26-10 Miami overall Defensive rank 6th, Offensive rank 21st
Game nine vs. Falcons LOSE 26-21 Atlanta overal Defensive rank 16th, Offensive rank 16th
Game ten vs. Panthers WIN 37-13 Carolina overall Defensive rank 18th, Offensive rank 32nd
Game eleven vs. Buccaneers WIN 17-10 Tampa Bay overall Defensive rank 17th, Offensive rank 19th
Game twelve vs. Pittsburgh LOSE 13-10 Pittsburgh overall Defensive rank 2nd, Offensive rank 14th
Game thirteen vs. Houston Texans WIN 34-28(OT) Houston overall Defensive rank 30th, Offensive rank 3rd
Game fourteen vs. Saints WIN 30-24 New Orleans overall Defensive rank 4th, Offensive rank 6th
Game fifteen vs. Cleveland WIN 20-10 Cleveland overall Defensive rank 22nd, Offensive rank 29th
Game sixteen vs. Cincinnati WIN 13-7 Cincinnati overall Defensive rank 15th, Offensive rank 20th
Baltimore scoring trends show that games with points scored in 10-19 point range of 6 and their record 4-2. Games with points 20-29 of 5 and record 3-2. Games with points of 30 + of 5 and record 5-0.
The Ravens tend to play to the level of their competition. The games that they scored higher points in were against weak teams, save New Orleans and that game had three field goals by Cundiff to end game and one very bad punt by New Orleans in second quarter that gave Ravens ball deep in New Orleans.
They played in five games against top ten defenses, winning all except splitting with Pittsburgh. These were all close, low scoring games, accept again the New Orleans game. The key to those close wins...Billy Cundiff.
Overall, Baltimore is a pretty average team. The only real "flair" that they can be tagged with is their defense. Rice is not a huge threat, neither is Flacco and Boldin has not been what they hoped he would and Haley should be able to further exploit any weaknesses there. The biggest scoring factor keeping them in games is Cundiff.
In overall stats, the Chiefs and Ravens are pretty close. Close in 3rd down conversions, fumbles and fumbles lost, time of possession, yards per play, points scored against, etc. Only real difference is in total points scored which Chiefs have a moderate edge of four points per game more. We also have outsacked the Ravens 38-27.
The Ravens are fairly tough against the run, in overall yards and yards allowed, their one weakness to the left outside on runs. However, they are weak against the pass.
They seem to have capitalized on turnovers and field position.
So statistically, the keys to the game will be for us to take care of the ball (which we are good at), capitalizing on matchups with Moeaki and Bowe and Tucker in the passing game, getting Charles and/or McCluster to the outside, and turning Hali loose. Blitz packages would seem to be effective against Flacco, as our secondary and DJ match up well to hold Flacco on passing completions. Rice is mediocre runner who is often held to little or no gain, and we should be able to contain.
I see two versions of this game. A lower scoring affair of 10 to 17 points each, with the edge going to the Ravens being able to get Cundiff in field goal range. Our key in a close game, if their defense able to stifle us, is for the battle of Colquitt vs. Cundiff on field position. We'll need good punts from Colquitt to pin them back and Hali and company to hold them out of Cundiff's range. The other version is a 24-10 type game. That would be Cundiff getting three field goals or so, and our offense sputtering or on the flip side, our offense making moderate success and our defense holding their scoring down. I do not see a higher scoring game by the Ravens. Our Defense can hold Rice and Flacco to what has been their statistical average game this year. For the naysayers...do you really think that they can hold Charles? Does not Bowe and Moeaki really match up well against their secondary (key to keep Cassel upright, but Ravens have not been the sack producers this year). We need to get into the endzone early to keep their defense from feeding off their success, which is what Lewis has always been good at keeping them doing. But the Ravens real hope, and what has kept them going this year is on the leg of Cundiff. We have to win the game of field position.