How's the defense going to fare?
It's going to be a much tougher matchup than most people are making it out to be. Kansas City's struggled with turnovers, especially quarterback Matt Cassel, but the Chiefs have plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Speedy running back Jamaal Charles is the NFL's leading rusher, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is a big, physical target that will challenge a struggling Ravens pass defense and fellow wide receivers Jon Baldwin and Dexter McCluster are proven playmakers as well. Kansas City is ranked fourth in the NFL in total offense. Baltimore is ranked 23rd in total defense and 29th in pass defense. The key, as it has been all season for the Chiefs, will be how well they protect the football.
How will the Ravens' offensive tackles do against Kansas City's pass rush?
It's definitely going to be a challenge. Hali is off to a slow start - he has just one sack so far - but is a two-time Pro Bowler that had 54.5 sacks and 22 forced fumbles during the first six seasons of his career. He had 12 sacks and four forced fumbles last year. Houston, meanwhile, is an emerging speed rusher and leads Kansas City with four sacks, three of which came during the Chiefs' Week 2 win against the New Orleans Saints. The Ravens' offensive line has fared better than expected thus far, but did yield four sacks during last week's win against the Cleveland Browns. To Oher and Osemele's credit, however, they held Philadelphia Eagles defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin, probably the league's top pass rushing tandem, to just one combined sack in Week 2.
Is this a tougher matchup than many expect?
Yes. The Chiefs are a team that many predicted to win the AFC West prior to the start of the season. The talent's still there, and Kansas City ranks among the top half of the league in both total offense (4th) and total defense (13th), but the Chiefs, simply put, have been derailed by turnovers. Cassel has twice as many turnovers (10) as touchdown passes (5). The offensive line has also struggled to protect him, allowing 13 sacks during the first four games, while Kansas City's defense has struggled at times to stop the run, but the Chiefs have an offense that's capable of moving the ball and a physical pass defense that should challenge the Ravens' passing game. If Kansas City actually protects the football, this could be a more interesting game than most are making it out to be.