Sunday AFC Playoff Picks: Chiefs Vs Ravens Game Preview

AFC Wild Card Playoffs
Baltimore Ravens (5) at Kansas City Chiefs (4), Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Sunday, January 9, 2011, 1:00 pm EST, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Ravens -3
Current Line: Ravens -3
Opening Total: 42
Current Total: 40.5
Money Line: Ravens -170 / Chiefs +150

Chiefs Ravens NFL Preview
Kansas City will need to find a way to contain Baltimore RB Ray Rice on Sunday

The Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and will try to snap a six-game losing streak in the postseason when they host the Baltimore Ravens (12-4) on Saturday.  The Chiefs find themselves as home underdogs against the Ravens (-3) despite losing just one game at Arrowhead Stadium this past season.

Kansas City suffered that lone home loss in the regular-season finale against Oakland, looking anything but a playoff contender in a 31-10 defeat.  After leading the Chiefs to back-to-back wins that clinched the AFC West title following an appendectomy, quarterback Matt Cassel had his worst game of the year against the Raiders.  Cassel completed just 11 of 33 passes for 115 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions after throwing just one pick in his previous six games.

The Ravens have won four straight games since losing at home to Pittsburgh 13-10 in a game that decided the winner of the AFC North.  They have also won six of seven and own the top winning percentage of any team in NFL history in road playoff games with a 6-3 record.  Just last year, Baltimore stunned New England on the road 33-14 in the same playoff round.

The team’s offense has taken a step back over the last six games, averaging 20.7 points after scoring 28.7 per game in the previous six.  The Ravens are coming off their worst offensive performance of the season in a 13-7 home win against Cincinnati last week that meant little after the Steelers jumped out to a big lead at Cleveland, essentially clinching the division.  They totaled only 199 yards against the Bengals, including 125 through the air from quarterback Joe Flacco.

Flacco has not thrown for 200 yards in the last three games as Baltimore has looked to get the running game rolling.  Running back Ray Rice has responded by averaging 107.3 rushing yards per game during that stretch and will counted on to produce again at Kansas City.

This game could very well come down to which team runs the ball better and takes pressure off the quarterback.  The Chiefs led the league in rushing behind running backs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, averaging 164.2 yards per game.  They will be facing a Ravens run defense that ranks in the Top 5, giving up 93.9 yards per game on the ground.

Baltimore has won the previous two meetings with Kansas City both straight-up and against the spread, including a 20-10 victory at Arrowhead in 2006.  The last three home meetings for the Chiefs have all gone UNDER the total in addition to four of their last five overall.

If you are betting this AFC wild card playoff game between the Chiefs & Ravens, make sure to check out the winning NFL picks packages we offer.  You can also get free winners on our free NFL picks page.

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