Five final thoughts on Chiefs (8-5) at Ravens (4-9) prior to Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff at M&T Bank Stadium:
1) If the Ravens fall behind early, look out for Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali, He’s one of the best in the NFL at his position, and Hali (6 ½ sacks) will be looking to tee off on whoever plays quarterback for the Ravens.
2) Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith’s mobility is often underrated. He has 366 yards rushing this season, and he’ll look to scramble for first downs, particularly in third-down situations. That could be trouble for a Ravens’ defense that often has trouble getting off the field.
3) You have to wonder what kind of home field advantage the Ravens will have. Ravens fans have been extremely supportive, considering the way this season has gone. But it’s the weekend before Christmas, the Ravens are eliminated from playoff contention, and it’s going to be a chilly afternoon. If the Ravens don’t keep things close, empty seats could be plentiful by the fourth quarter.
4) One Raven having his best season is wide receiver Kamar Aiken (54 catches, 674 yards, four touchdowns). Aiken has proven he’s a viable possession receiver who can help the Ravens next season, regardless of whether wide receiver Steve Smith decides to retire on return. Aiken’s numbers would be even better if Joe Flacco had stayed healthy.
5) The Chiefs are the first team to win seven straight after a 1-5 start since the Bengals in 1970. There’s always a chance the Chiefs could take the Ravens lightly. But the Chiefs are locked in a tight AFC wild card race with the Jets (9-5), who won Saturday night, and the Steelers (8-5). The Chiefs know they need this game.