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Arrowhead Report: A Playoff Return Awaits

Posted Jan 7, 2011

Final notebook additions before the Ravens visit town

Wildcard Weekend banners hang throughout the padded walls of Arrowhead’s inner-bowl. When the Chiefs took the field for Friday’s practice, the turf had already been trimmed and lined. “Wildcard” logos were also in the mix, having been specially stenciled next to the NFL Shield near each Red Zone.

Arrowhead is ready to go. The Chiefs are ready to go. These are the games that The New Arrowhead was built for.

“Our regular season was a success,” Coach Todd Haley said. “We did what we had to in order to punch a ticket to be able to play more games and that’s our goal, will be our goal and we accomplished that goal this year. Now, this is where you really can define yourself as being just a good team, or being something special.”

Many saw the freshly renovated Home of the Chiefs for the first time in Kansas City’s season-opening win over San Diego on Monday Night Football. With that national spotlight focused on Arrowhead once again, it’s another opportunity for Kansas City to shine.

Major concerts have been scheduled for the summer, a premier soccer matchup has already occurred and college football continues to be played inside Arrowhead, but weekend’s like these are what the Hunt Family had to have had in mind when they officially christened the overhauled building this summer.

It’s only fitting that Arrowhead is hosting its first home playoff game in seven years during its (second) inaugural season. With big games come big visitors.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it a priority to visit the first playoff game hosted at the new facility and will be on hand during Sunday’s contest. He’ll not only be surrounded by the best tailgate scenery known to the game, but he’ll witness a pre-game flyover from one of the B2 Stealth Bombers housed at Whiteman Air Force Base as well.

If you can’t make it to Arrowhead, there are plenty of places to turn for pre-game coverage.

Aside from the Hy-Vee Chiefs Insider Pregame Show (markets and times here), Dan Marino stopped by the Chiefs training facility earlier this week to record interviews with Matt Cassel and Todd Haley for The NFL Today on CBS. Former Pro Bowl WR Cris Carter was also in the building this week to record interviews with Haley and Dwayne Bowe for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.

The Chiefs are back on the national map with an opportunity to show the country exactly what the AFC West Champs are made of. For many NFL fans, Sunday’s game will mark their first impression of the Chiefs this season.

“The Chiefs are not a big media market team,” CBS analysts Phil Simms told Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star earlier this week. “So for teams like that, this gives them a chance for people to say, ‘Wow I didn’t know Jamaal Charles was that good, or that Matt Cassel was such a talented quarterback.’ This is how a team like Kansas City brands itself across America.”

The New Arrowhead is ready, and so are the fans. The only thing left to do is to send the new facility’s postseason record to a perfect 1-0.

Injury Report – Kansas City

The Chiefs removed Dwayne Bowe from the injury report after the wide receiver practiced in full for the second consecutive day. Bowe had missed Wednesday’s practice due to illness, but his removal from the injury report signals that he is ready to play on Sunday.

“His last two days have been good,” Coach Todd Haley said of Bowe. “This has been kind of like a 24-hour deal and kind of depends on the timing of when they catch it. We have taken all precautions possible that we can take.”

Brian Waters had also been battling illness throughout the week, but returned to practice in full on Friday and is listed as probable for Sunday.

While Bowe and Waters headlined the Chiefs injury list, reserve WR Quinten Lawrence also came down with an illness on Thursday that caused him to miss practice. He returned to the field on Friday and is also listed as probable.

“You always worry when multiple guys get something,” Haley said. “The ball is going to be kicked off on Sunday and we need all hands on deck.”

Illness affected a few practice squad players throughout the week as well, but is appears that the Chiefs have kicked whatever bug has been circling through the locker room for the time being.

PROBABLE: WR Quinten Lawrence (illness); G Brian Waters (illness)

Injury Report – Baltimore

The Ravens have listed up to 12 players on their injury report this week, but appear to have made notable progress since Wednesday afternoon. After a handful of upgrades yesterday, the Ravens upgraded three more players at practice today.

DT Haloti Ngata (thigh) and LB Terrell Suggs (knee) both practiced for the first time this week and LB Jameel McClain was elevated from a limited participant to a full performer.

Additionally, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said that he “feels good” about Suggs and Ngata playing on Sunday.

QUESTIONABLE: LB Dannell Ellerbe (head); LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder); DT Haloti Ngata (thigh); S Ed Reed (chest); LB Terrell Suggs (knee); CB Josh Wilson (head); S Tom Zbikowski (back)

PROBABLE: C Matt Birk (knee); WR Derrick Mason (abs/ankle); LB Jameel McClain (back); T Michael Oher (knee/ankle); WR David Reed (wrist)

Turnover Chart

Despite their vast difference in playoff experience, the Chiefs and Ravens are similar teams in quite a few areas. One of the most glaring similarities lies in the value that each squad places ball security.

The Ravens set a franchise record this season with just 20 turnovers. Likewise, the Chiefs thrived in that same department with just 14 giveaways. Kansas City’s total also set a franchise record.

“It’s going to come down to little things, ball security, who plays best on special teams, who can run it efficiently,” Coach Todd Haley said of Sunday’s game. “Really what we have been emphasizing to our guys is doing all the little things right.”

Historically, turnovers have decided Baltimore’s playoff games.

In the Ravens’ three playoff wins of the John Harbaugh/Joe Flacco era (2008-present), Baltimore has forced 12 turnovers and given away the football just three times. That 9 differential has led to a 73-33 scoring advantage over postseason opponents.

On the flip side, Baltimore is 0-2 in the postseason when finishing negative in the turnover department. The Ravens defense forced just two turnovers in those games, while the offense gave away the football eight times. That -6 differential led to a 17-53 difference in scoring and a winless record.

It’s Your Lucky Day

Today’s your lucky day if you want to come to Arrowhead on Sunday, but are still without a ticket.

Aside from putting a limited amount of standing room tickets on sale yesterday, the Chiefs have put a small number of tickets returned by the Ravens available on the open market. The allotment is extremely limited, but if move fast enough, you might just get your hands on this weekend’s hottest ticket.

Ticketmaster.com is the place to visit to get your hands on any and all returned tickets.

 

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