Chiefs and Ravens On Different Paths

When the schedule came out in April this looked like the game that could determine which team would be going on undefeated. In October it looks more than like an average game at best with the Chiefs sitting at 0-3 for the first time since 1980.

"This is my third team," Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said to the KC Star. "At all three, I went through terrible periods of time. It's not going smoothly right now. But I don't know of one coach in the Hall of Fame that hasn't lost three in a row at some point. So I'm not going to jump off a bridge. I'm going to respond to our problems like I expect my players to respond to our problems."

The Baltimore Ravens success this season has been much better than the Chiefs. They stand 2-1 with wins over Pittsburgh at home and Cincinnati on the road. The Ravens lost the season opener at Cleveland 20-3. This is a pivotal game for the Ravens as they hope to establish themselves as the team to beat in the AFC North.

It does not get much easier for Baltimore after the Chiefs game. They will back on the road to play Joe Gibbs and his Washington Redskins, then have the bye in week six.

This is the second consecutive meeting between the Chiefs and Ravens. Last year the Chiefs were 3-0 heading into Baltimore and thanks to the heroics of return man Dante Hall and a solid defensive performance, Kansas City won 17-10.

The Chiefs have yet to lose in Baltimore as they thumped the Ravens back in 1999 behind Elvis Grbac 35-8. The Ravens have yet to visit Arrowhead in this series and in fact they are the only remaining team in the NFL to avoid what some considered until, this year, the ultimate home field advantage.

Still Chiefs fans can still hold a glimmer of hope for Monday night's game, Vermeil is undefeated against Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick beating him once with the Chiefs and the other with the 27-10 in 1999.

Monday will also feature two of the best running backs in the league, and what a place to showcase them in prime time. Both Chiefs back Priest Holmes, and Baltimore back Jamal Lewis have won NFL rushing titles. Holmes played with the Ravens from 1997 to 2000 before they let him go via free agency.

Still Holmes won a Super Bowl with the Ravens and in the end it has turned out well for both teams.

"I would say that what he learned from me was very little because I think that most of his skills he pretty much already had. He demonstrated that in camp before we got started with the season." Holmes said.

"I think that one of the things I was able to add, along with the other guys that were there helping me out, was just the film watching on a Thursday night before the game just so you could familiarize yourself with the defense that you're getting ready to play."

Holmes is just one of the factors for Kansas City on offense, but they will have to try put points on the board against the always tough Ravens defense. After giving up 20 in the first game, the Ravens have held the other two teams to a mere 22 points.

"With Baltimore's defense, led by (LB) Ray Lewis, he does a wonderful job as far as getting the guys excited and having the guys ready to run. They're definitely going to attack." Holmes told reporters in their weekly conference call.

"They're going to put an eight-man box and they're going to dare you to run on them. Then they're going to say, ‘Hey, beat us on the outside.' But with what we have and our techniques and the way that we run the ball, I think we will definitely be able to get into the lanes and have positive yards. The one big thing we're looking for is putting a hat on a hat and allowing the running backs run."

The Ravens offense which has sputtered at times for Billick this year but has managed to score 53 points in the last two games thanks to the running of Jamal Lewis. As for the Chiefs they've only managed to score 38 points in their last two games and the scoring sooner or later will have to increase for a Kansas City offense that led the NFL last year.

Still its Monday Night Football and anything is possible. The Chiefs face daunting task but they have the weapons to compete head to head, even struggling as they have been offensively, to defeat the Ravens in Baltimore.

Though the Chiefs could have a decided advantage and that's if the pending plea bargain that attorneys for Jamal Lewis becomes too much of a circus and a distraction for the Ravens only offensive threat. If that happens, the Chiefs could actually dominate defensively.


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