It's finally here, the NFL playoffs -- that storied time where legends are made and reputations are won. The wonderful world of do-or-die football begins with the wildcard round this weekend and SB Nation Arizona has its own role to play. Our team of "experts" has been beating the spread consistently throughout the season, besting the Vegas odd-makers at their own game. We already looked at the two Saturday matchups, so now move into Sunday's pair, beginning with the Baltimore Ravens versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
Baltimore Ravens -3 @ Kansas City Chiefs
Let's get this out of the way, the Kansas City Chiefs are easily the surprise team of the year. A year removed from a 4-12 season, the Chiefs stormed out of the gate, compiled ten wins, and finally wrenched the AFC West crown away from the San Diego Chargers. Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, and Jamaal Charles all had Pro-Bowl worthy years, and Arrowhead Stadium was rocking like it hadn't since the Priest Holmes days.
Yet, under inspection the Chief's record may not be quite what it seems.
85-138. That was the combined record of Kansas City's opponents. Not the toughest of schedules. The number of playoff teams the Chiefs beat: one. That team? The 7-9 Seattle Seahawks. To say KC had a cakewalk of a schedule is an understatement.
Meanwhile, the Ravens entered the season pegged as a Super Bowl favorite on the expectations of a monstrous defense finally being complimented by a capable, explosive offense.
But it didn't really work out like that. The Baltimore defense has been tremendously inconsistent throughout the season -- who can forget the Monday night game against Houston in which a tired Raven's defense allowed the Texans to storm back and score 21 unanswered points -- and the offense often still finds itself stuck in neutral despite the fact that it has roughly 156 playmakers.
The Chiefs do two things well: run the ball and play defense. Throughout the history of the NFL, that has been the recipe for playoff success.
Plus, it's never a good idea to bet against a home dog.
Prediction: Chiefs 23, Ravens 20. The home crowd fuels Kansas City to a narrow victory over the Baltimore.