But one thing you should know as the Ravens head into the BBQ capital of the world for tomorrow’s wild card matchup is that the Chiefs play incredibly well at home.
Todd Haley’s team went 7-1 at Arrowhead Stadium this season, and their lone home loss didn’t come until Week 17.
They ran for 183 yards per game at home this season (far and away the best in the NFL), and allowed just 14.8 points in games at Arrowhead. That total is third best in the league.
A large reason for their defensive dominance at home is the crowd noise that’s generated by the 80,000-plus that pack the seats. The Ravens cranked up the fake crowd noise during practices this week to try and simulate game conditions, but it’ll be tough for quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense to hear much of anything tomorrow.
“I’d put it right up there with our place and with Seattle (as) the outdoor stadiums that are really loud,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “Pittsburgh, I’d put it right there with all those places. It’s a great place to play, it’s very unique, it’s right on top of you, it’s kind of enclosed. [It’s] an old-style type of configuration, so (they’ve got) great tradition there, great playoff tradition there. So, it’ll be exciting.”
The Ravens have had big-time issues with pre-snap penalties this year, so the crowd noise at Arrowhead is a definite concern for this team.
They were flagged for six pre-snap infractions last week against the Bengals, including four false starts. And that was at home, with minimal crowd noise while the Ravens were on offense.
The penalties have slowed the offense this season, setting them back in long-yardage situations and making it tougher on Flacco to convert third downs. The players and coaches are well aware that can’t continue in the playoffs.
“We’re going into an environment where a lot of teams have had issues with [pre-snap penalties],” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “So, it’ll take a lot of discipline on our guys’ part, and bottom line, at this point, you’ve got to get it done.”
“You can see when you look at the tape, there are a lot of offenses that have false starts against them a couple of times a game because it’s so loud,” Flacco said. “And, we’re going to have to make sure we go in there and handle that well. It’s going to be a loud place. It’s going to be rocking, and rightfully so. They’re going to be excited about this game, and we’re going to have to go in there and make sure that we handle that in order to play well.”