Who has the edge between the Ravens and Chiefs

Ravens offense <P> Total (21) Rushing (1) Passing (32) <P> Baltimore isn't fond of being reminded that it has the most one-dimensional attack in the entire league.

However, they are loath to get away from what works. The personality of this offense is built around Jamal Lewis' thunderous running style. The passing game may be a year or two away depending on rookie quarterback Kyle Boller's development and what general manager Ozzie Newsome does to address a shortfall of personnel at receiver.

Quarterback

Kyle Boller is throwing spirals again after a series of short-armed passes before last week.

Running backs

Jamal Lewis faces off against his old mentor, Priest Holmes. Lewis is a far superior athlete to Kansas City middle linebacker Mike Maslowski.

Receivers

With the exception of Todd Heap, there's a serious lack of production from a passing offense that averages 4.05 yards per attempt.

Offensive line

Left guard Edwin Mulitalo calls the Chiefs the best defensive line the Ravens have seen this year. Pass protection improved last week. Run-blocking has been superb.

Chiefs offense

Total (4) Rushing (4) Passing (15)

Unit averages 36 points and 366 yards per contest as running back Priest Holmes has rushed for seven touchdowns. Tight end Tony Gonzalez has been underutilized along with wide receivers Eddie Kennison and Johnny Morton. What doesn't receive enough attention is a top-notch offensive line that includes two eight-time Pro Bowl selections in guard Will Shields and tackle Willie Roaf.

Quarterback

Trent Green hasn't played his best football yet, but still has 669 yards on 64.2 percent accuracy despite five interceptions.

Running backs

Rarely, does anyone get a clean shot on the compact, slippery Priest Holmes.

Receivers

Blends speed and athleticism with solid size.

Offensive line

Bulldozing group can pass-block and run-block equally well and allowed only 26 sacks last season.

Quarterback edge: Chiefs

Running back edge: Tie

Receivers edge: Chiefs

Offensive line edge: Chiefs

Ravens defense

Total (13) Rushing (15) Passing (14)

Ravens are in an attack mode with four mobile linebackers led by Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs with an active secondary highlighted by safety Ed Reed. Thus far, defensive line hasn't mounted much of a pass rush, but has been really stout against the run behind scrappy nose guard Kelly Gregg.

Defensive line

Despite lack of ideal size or big names, Rex Ryan's unit gets the job done with technique, hustle and toughness.

Linebackers

Another challenge for a group that seems to love straightforward encounters like this one.

Secondary

Chris McAlister's return is critical today as the Chiefs have a multi-dimensional attack.

Chiefs defense

Total (17) Rushing (8) Passing (24)

Kansas City appears vulnerable against the pass, but that hasn't seemed to matter much for a Baltimore offense that doesn't scare many people vertically. The Chiefs' best defensive players are defensive end Vonnie Holliday, outside linebacker Shawn Barber, nose guard Ryan Sims and safety Jerome Woods.

Defensive line

Holliday is a difficult assignment. Sims is a load inside.

Linebackers

Slightly undersized group, but Kyle Boller's former Cal teammate Scott Fujita is emerging as a play-maker.

Secondary

Hard-nosed athletes have seven interceptions through three games.

Defensive line edge: Chiefs

Linebackers edge: Ravens

Secondary edge: Ravens

Ravens special teams

Gary Zauner's unit has rebounded strongly from a shaky preseason, especially in the area of kick coverage. Dave Zastudil, Matt Stover and Wade Richey are off to solid starts. Punt returns have been shaky at times.

Chiefs special teams

Dante Hall is one of the most electric return men in football. Kicker Morten Anderson has been through the football wars. Punter Jason Baker has done well as a kickoff specialist, too.

Special teams edge: Chiefs

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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