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Ravens vs. Chiefs: Stopping Joe Flacco and the defensive pressure

Two keys to the Chiefs game against the Ravens will be slowing down Joe Flacco and avoiding the Ravens pass rush.

Doug Pensinger - Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel is like a lot of coaches when making his game plan -- find what the opponent does best and take it away from them. For some teams, that's a fairly easy task. For others, like the Baltimore Ravens, that's a little harder.

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The Ravens are loaded all over the place. Take away Ray Rice? Joe Flacco is capable of beating you. Take away Torrey Smith? The tight ends are always lurking. It's a tough situation for the Chiefs defense, and even their offense. The Ravens defense has been elite for over a decade.

I talked with Bruce over at SB Nation's Ravens blog, Baltimore Beatdown, and he says outside of the quarterback the most important player on the Ravens roster is the guy who protects his blind side.

Obviously, it has to be Flacco. But if you want someone other than the obvious answer, then look no further than left tackle Michael Oher, who now gets to protect Flacco's 'blind side' for real. Give Joe time in the pocket and he'll pick anyone apart. Pressure him and he can crack and make questionable mistakes.

Pressuring the quarterback is the fastest way for a defense to be successful. The Chiefs HAVE to create turnovers in this game. They can't win unless they do.

Defensively, the task is also very difficult. The Ravens defense doesn't have a clear weakness (and they haven't for a long time).

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are the names everyone knows when you mention this defense. However, this defense is giving up way too many yards so far in 2012. It all starts and ends with the trenches. Haloti Ngata is already the best defensive tackle in the league but it has to be pass pressure, which needs to come from the edge That means that the guy who needs to step up is outside linebacker Paul Kruger, who had five sacks in a limited role last year. With Terrell Suggs sidelined, he has to pick up the pace.

If the Chiefs can avoid the Ravens pass rush, they can make this game competitive. If the Ravens are doing what they want with the Chiefs offensive line, KC has no shot.

So offensively the Chiefs need to create turnovers. Defensively they need to avoid turnovers. So this should be fun...

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