I'm purposely posting this outside of the game thread because I don't want to bring everybody down...after all, winning the AFC West and hosting a playoff game is a good accomplishment for this team, especially after the past four years.
However, I've seen this movie before, and I didn't like it the last few times. This team, as currently constructed, is going nowhere in the playoffs-this year or any future year, until we get a legitimate, top-shelf QB.
As far as today goes, here are the stats:
Chiefs Passing (30th)-no need to look any further, huge edge for the Ravens
Baltimore Rushing (14th), KC Rush Def (14th)-push
Baltimore Passing (20th), KC Pass Def (17th)-very slight edge Chiefs
Kick Returns Chiefs 28th, Ravens 6th-huge edge Ravens
Kicking: Chiefs 30th, Ravens 1st-huge edge Ravens
Chiefs first playoff game in 4 years, lost last 6 playoff games, lost last 3 home playoff games, just got blistered at home by an average Raiders team, 2.5 point underdogs.
Ravens-6-3 on the road in the playoffs, tons of playoff experience.
So, I'm not exactly breaking any new ground here when I call the Ravens an EASY winner today...again, 23-7 is my pick. The ONLY way I see the Chiefs winning is through turnovers and/or a kick return TD, which given the stats, is highly unlikely. If the Chiefs and Ravens both bring their A game today, it's not even close.
Now, to my second point, about the Chiefs not winning going forward, I think it starts and ends with Matt Cassel. To be clear, I am a fan of what he's done and think he's a decent NFL QB...however, in order to win in the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl, you've got to have a guy that is an elite-level QB (there are exceptions, of course, but I'm not interested in hoping for things to break right and squeak in-I want to win because we're the best). Cassel is not that type of player. He's not going to go win us a game. He's going to manage a game.
I am not here to hate on Cassel...simply to point out reality. The reality is, the Chiefs are doing the same crap that they've been doing for the past 20 years...trying to put together a decent team that runs the ball, plays some good defense, and wins some regular-season games. I am not looking for a team that hopes that some nebulous idea like "home field advantage" is going to mysteriously put the team over the top. Forgive me if I can't get excited about that type of team...I'm looking for a 49ers/Patriots/Steelers-type dynasty that are WINNERS. I want a team that will show up anytime, anywhere, regardless of location, weather, opponent, whatever and will just flat out get after the other team. We are not that type of team, and until we get in that elite-level Tom Brady/Peyton Manning/Joe Montana-type of player, and some more good pieces to go with him. I just can't get too excited about this team.