Game Preview: 'The Next Step Is Finish'

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Entering their third straight postseason, the Ravens are unabashed in stating their intention:

Win Super Bowl XLV.

While Baltimore's focus has been squarely on the Kansas City Chiefs this week, emotional leader Ray Lewis set the tone for the Ravens' playoffs on Wednesday.

"We've been to the AFC Championship, we've been to the Divisional rounds, we've done everything we're supposed to do," Lewis said. "What's next for us? The next step is finish."

Baltimore's upstart 2008 season ended in Pittsburgh. Their 2009 run fizzled in Indianapolis. This season, the Ravens enter the postseason with their best regular-season record of the three years (12-4).

Due to the strength of the AFC, Baltimore will once again have to do it the hard way on the road. But that doesn't bother the Ravens.

"I just like who we are as a team, no matter where we play, whoever we play," Lewis said. "It ain't about being cocky, it ain't about being nothing. It's about being very confident in our ballclub. And our ballclub, right now, has really been battle-tested. So, we're ready for the playoffs."

The Ravens have faced five of the 12 teams in the playoffs and held a fourth-quarter lead in every game this season.

They won in New York in Week 1 and pulled off a comeback in Pittsburgh in Week 4. They took the AFC's top-seeded New England Patriots to overtime and had the NFC's top-seeded Atlanta Falcons on the ropes. Then they knocked off the defending champion New Orleans Saints in Week 15.

Cornerback Chris Carr recalled a conversation with former teammate Prince Miller, a rookie cornerback who spent a week on New England's practice squad in September. Miller said the Ravens' talent "compared to" the Patriots'.

"I feel like we have the most talented team in the NFL," Carr said. "If you look at our roster from top to bottom, I think it's fair to say.

"With the talent that we have and with our experience, with the mentality that we have, we expect to win [the Super Bowl] because we know that when we line up against any team, we feel that we should beat them."

As Ravens packed their bags for Kansas City on Friday, there wasn't a different feeling than any other week. It was as if there wasn't a single thought that this could be their final trip.

If it's up to Lewis, they'll be packing for Dallas in not too long.

"Right now, my job as a leader towards my team is to tell them, 'Man, look, we've got three weeks to make up your mind," Lewis said. "We've got Kansas City this week, whoever next week and whoever the next week. Whatever you've got to do. Whatever you've got to do. Let's see if we can make that trip to Dallas."

THREE KEYS TO A RAVENS WIN

Win Up Front:There's no secret to the Chiefs' offense. It's a run-heavy attack featuring speed (Jamaal Charles) and power (Thomas Jones). Kansas City has one of the bigger offensive lines in the AFC, so it will be essential for the Ravens' talented defensive line to keep the linebackers free. Calling Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg and Terrence Cody.

Get A Lead: The best way to get the Arrowhead Stadium fans out of the game is to take an early lead. Also, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel hasn't taken many chances this year and only has two fourth-quarter comebacks in two seasons in Kansas City. If Baltimore forces him to chuck it, that's when Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed can take over.

Win The Turnover Battle: Baltimore's defense has caused nine turnovers during the past two games. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been avoiding handing the ball over, setting a franchise record this season. Protecting the football is paramount in the playoffs, just ask the 2000 Ravens.

Ravens                          Category                           Chiefs

12-4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2010 Record . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10-6

Won 4. . . . . . . . . . . . Current Streak . . . . . . . . . . . .Lost 1

  1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Points Scored . . . . . . . . . . . . .366
  1. . . . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . . . . .44
  1. . . . . . . . Rushing Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . .13
  1. . . . . . . . Passing Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . .27
  1. . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns on Returns . . . . . . . . . .4

270 . . . . . . . . . . . . Points Against . . . . . . . . . . . . .326

  1. . . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . . . . .38
  1. . . . . . . . Rushing Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . .11
  1. . . . . . . . Passing Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . .23
  1. . . . . . . . . . . TDs Allowed by Return . . . . . . . . . . .4

30:42. . . . . . . . . . . Time of Posession Avg.. . . . . . . . . . .31:04

+7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Turnover Ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .+9

49.0%. . . . . . . . . Red Zone TD Pct. For . . . . . . . . .59.6%

42.5%. . . . . . . . Red Zone TD Pct. Against . . . . . . .70.3%

24.7. . . . . . . . . . . . . KOR Avg. For . . . . . . . . . . . . .19.7

26.0. . . . . . . . . . . . KOR Avg. Against . . . . . . . . . . .20.2

7.4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PR Avg. For . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10.1

8.1. . . . . . . . . . . . . PR Avg. Against . . . . . . . . . . . .8.6

Ravens

Chiefs

Category

Stats

Rank

Stats

Rank

Total Offense

322.9

22

349.7

12

Rush Offense

114.4

14

164.2

1

Pass Offense

208.4

20

185.5

30

Points/Game

22.3

16

22.9

14

Total Defense

318.9

10

330.2

14

Rush Defense

93.9

5

110.3

14

Pass Defense

224.9

21

219.9

17

Points/Game

16.9

3

20.4

11

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