His Dirkness figured this week would be filled with discussions of playoff past, the present playoff situation, and what may await the Chiefs in their playoff future. To the contrary, all I have really heard people talk about is Charlie Weis' backstabbing ass. Yes, he was a distraction on Sunday. No, he won't be nearly as big a one next Sunday. The only relevant question I'd like to hear on the situation is if he should've been canned before the playoff game. As much as I would have considered that option, too much time has passed, making it impossible to do so now. So we're stuck with his fat ass for these next 4 games (eh...see what I did there?). But, I don't wanna hear anymore about it this week. We have bigger and better things to focus on. You won't hear another peep from me on the situation.
One more quick note before I explain my Ravens < Jets argument. The new playoff overtime rules are in effect, which I had totally forgotten about until just reminded on NFL Live. Under the new guidelines, an overtime game can only end on the first possession if that team scores a touchdown. If the receiving team kicks a field goal, then the team that began on defense has an opportunity to match that field goal (at which point they would kick off again and the next score would win), or could win the game outright with a touchdown. I'm really hoping one of these games goes into overtime and we get a chance to see this unfold. If it proves effective, I wouldn't be surprised to see the new rules adopted for all NFL games, which would be a step in the right direction in my eyes.
Now, on to why I think the Ravens are a better matchup for the Chiefs than the Jets. As I started doing my research on the Ravens (following the Chiefs loss), I noticed a few stats that degraded the Ravens in my mind. The funny part about this was that as I was developing these beliefs, I was watching the Titans hang around with the Colts, which would've switched our opponent back to the Jets. It was definitely a glass case of emotions. However, I still cheered on the Titans for the benefits that the 3 seed would have over the 4 seed (greater possibility of hosting the AFC Championship). But then I read this article, that so eloquently described why he believed the Ravens to be a more favorable opponent for the Chiefs than the Jets, that I became fully convinced.
The Chiefs offense has encountered their biggest struggles this season against two teams: The Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos (no, the Chargers game didn't count because we were starting a girl at QB). These two teams have one defining characteristic in common: Shutdown cornerback (Champ Bailey and Nnamdi Asomugha). When teams are able to shut down D-Bowe with one player, the Chiefs offense becomes very stagnant (yes, we threw for a lot of yards at Denver, but most of it came in garbage time where standard analysis is thrown out the window). With D-Bowe on lockdown, and such little else at the WR position, the rest of the defense can all key on the running game, thus stifling the Chiefs offense. If the opposing defense lacks a CB that can shutdown D-Bowe, this gives the other Chiefs receivers the opportunity to work against straight 1-on-1 coverage, which they are capable of beating. This forces the defense to decide whether to throw an extra defender to the passing game or the rushing game, which gives the Chiefs offense all the power in deciding how to attack them. This is the biggest component in deciphering the Chiefs success on offense this year.
So how does this analysis apply to the Chiefs opponent on Sunday? Well, the Ravens cornerbacks aren't exactly their strength. Neither Chris Carr or Josh Wilson have the ability to handle D-Bowe in 1-on-1 coverage. Who does have that ability? A Mr. Darrelle Revis, who plays for them New Yahk Jets.
But that's not the only reason the Chiefs offense might find it easier to operate on Sunday. Despite the Ravens' reputations on defense, they rank 27th in the NFL in sacks (only 27 on the year). The Jets rank 8th in the league with 40 on the season. That's good news for an offensive line coming off its worst outing of the year on Sunday against the Raiders (who, surprisingly, are tied for 2nd with 47 sacks).
The Ravens' run defense stats are also inferior to those of the Jets. While the difference is only 3rd for the Jets and 5th for the Ravens, a closer look shows a bigger difference than that. The Ravens have faced the third fewest rushing attempts this season, which skews their numbers just a bit. In other words, they rank lower in average yards per carry than they do in rushing yards allowed per game. This tells me it may be a bigger case of teams being afraid to run against the Ravens, instead of not actually being able to. This is very important, because if the #1 rushing team in the NFL can't run the ball on Sunday, they will lose.
One more factor in this debate between the Jets and Ravens before 100% of my attention shifts to the city that's home to one of the best TV shows of all time. The Chiefs defense was gashed with runs up the middle by the Oakland Raiders. This is yet another area where the Jets have been more successful than the Ravens this season. Jets are 4th in the league, while the Ravens are 14th in the NFL.
So, while I can't say I was any different with my preconceived notions about the Ravens being tougher than the New York Jets, my research has all pointed in the opposite direction. If those of you out there who majorly fear the Ravens have any other reasons why they should be feared, I would love to hear them. Maybe it's just a common sense vs. statistical analysis argument, which is one of the funner debates in sports. Way more so than the "is funner a word" debate.