The Kansas City Chiefs may have a 1-3 record and be winless at home, but that won’t stop their fans from being hoarse come Monday morning.
Sunday afternoon, one of the most passionate fan bases will once again pack Arrowhead Stadium to provide a home-field advantage to a struggling team that’s having early quarterback issues.
While Matt Cassel’s problems are mostly self-inflicted, Chiefs’ fans will do their best to create chaos for Joe Flacco and the offense that is ranked second in the NFL through the first quarter of the season.
For Flacco, the no-huddle has been key to the team’s offensive emergence, but there is cause for concern – the only time the Ravens played away from M&T Bank Stadium this season, the no-huddle faltered.
“When you have a crowd like that, it can get in the heads of the offense,” tight end Ed Dickson said. “For us, we need to work on our silent counts and not let the crowd be a factor.”
While working on their silent counts, the practice field will be anything but silent – simulated crowd noise is blaring through multiple speakers.
“We try to [practice with crowd noise] week in and week out but definitely more now because we’re going into a hostile environment,” Dickson said. “If we make plays, the crowd is going to get quieter and quieter. That’s one of our goals on offense is to take the crowd out of it early.”
When asked about the noise factor, John Harbaugh spoke of the disadvantage it also has for the defense.
“The defense has to communicate, too,” Harbaugh said. “They’re getting a call in, they’re making checks, they’re adjusting to motions and things like that. If the crowd is really loud, it challenges the defense as well.”
While a loud crowd can throw a wrinkle into the Ravens’ game plan for Sunday, some offensive players aren’t too worried about it.
“It’s going to be loud, but I think we’ll be alright,” said left tackle Michael Oher.
The last time the Ravens played in Arrowhead, in a January 2011 playoff game, the crowd was taken out of the game by the third quarter, as Cassell completed nine passes for 70 total yards, while tossing three interceptions. The Ravens went on to win by a score of 30-7.