Chiefs vs Ravens 2011 NFL Preseason Week 2 Preview
In a rematch of one of last season’s AFC Divisional playoff games, the Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) will be taking on the Baltimore Ravens (0-1) at M&T Bank Stadium in week 2 of the 2011 NFL preseason. The Ravens took a loss in week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they will now face Chiefs team that was blanked 25-0 at home by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. Both of these teams have added new receivers to their teams, with Kansas City signing Steve Breaston while the Ravens replaced Derrick Mason with former Bills wide receiver, Lee Evans. These squads are both poised to make it back to the playoffs again and although this game won’t count in the standings, the Chiefs will be thinking about how Baltimore eliminated them from the playoffs last season.
Last season marked a revolution for the Kansas City Chiefs franchise, as Head Coach Todd Haley’s team put up a 10-6 record after a disappointing, 4-12 performance in 2009. It marked the best single-season turnaround in franchise history and the Chiefs won the AFC West Championship. Kansas City earned a home playoff game for the first time since 2003 and although they couldn’t advance, it was a very big step for this team. Baltimore also finished the 2010 season on a good note with a 12-4 record and a second-place finish in the AFC North. The Ravens advanced to the AFC Divisional round, but were beaten by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-24. The Ravens have advanced to the playoffs all three seasons under Head Coach John Harbaugh, posting a 32-16 regular season record in the process.
Kansas City ranked in the NFL’s top 10 in several different categories at the end of the 2010 season. The Chiefs won the league’s rushing title, registering 2,627 rushing yards, and they will need that type of consistency from their backfield once again if they expect to top the Chargers again in the AFC West. Expect to see the Kansas City starters play for a longer time than Baltimore’s because if week 1 of the preseason was any indication of what lies ahead, then it is easy to see that the Chiefs need a few more reps than the Ravens up to this point.
QB Tyler Palko struggled mightily in his first preseason game of the year last Friday, throwing for just 32 yards on 4-of-8 passing, including many erratic throws throughout the night. Palko was also sacked three times and will have to be much more aware in the pocket if he expects to gain Todd Haley’s trust back there. He can’t afford to have another similar effort against the Ravens tomorrow if he wants to keep any chance of being Matt Cassel’s backup this season alive.
Chiefs’ rookie defensive end, Allen Bailey, had an average day in his first professional game against the Bucs last week. He was able to come up with a sack, but was also pancaked a few times and looked a little slow when trying to recover on those plays. It’s still uncertain if KC is going to keep Bailey at his regular defensive end position this season, or move him over to play some outside linebacker as well. These decisions will rely on how well he progresses throughout the preseason, but a strong showing on Friday night could be just what he needs to land himself a starting gig.
The Ravens will surely leave their starters in for a longer period of time than last week as well, as they would like to get Lee Evans some snaps with Joe Flacco. We will also be getting our first look at Ricky Williams in a Ravens uniform. Williams will be backing up Ray Rice, but the big difference in the Baltimore backfield is the loss of fullback Le’Ron McClain. McClain is now on the Kansas City Chiefs and you can bet that he will be very fired-up and ready to stick it to his old team. The Ravens are favored by a touchdown in this game and when considering last season’s playoff beat-down issued by Baltimore and last week’s inability of the Chiefs to score any points, I’m compelled to take the Ravens to cover at home.