NFL Playoffs: Ravens vs. Broncos

11

Jan 2013

POSTED IN Matchups | no comments

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 4:30 p.m. ET

Back in Week 15, the Denver Broncos headed to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Baltimore Ravens in a matchup that was thought to possibly be a playoff preview. The Broncos had a poor record against the Ravens in Baltimore and were expected to struggle if not have their winning streak snapped. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Peyton Manning and company didn’t miss a beat in Baltimore in Week 15 by embarrassing the Ravens on their home field, 34-17. Baltimore failed to put up a fight against arguably the best all-around team in the AFC and as a result were in dangerous of missing the playoffs altogether. The Broncos’ defense suffocated the Ravens’ offense and proved Von Miller’s squad was amongst the elite in the NFL moving forward. Along with the defense starting to reach their potential against potential playoff opponents, the Broncos’ offense continued to fire on all cylinders with Manning making a strong case for a fifth NFL MVP award at season’s end. The running game took a hit with former Raven Willis McGahee going with a potential season-ending knee injury, but backup Knowshon Moreno was able to step up in place of McGahee and pick up the slack. With Manning hitting wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and having the advantage of a solid run game with Moreno regardless of the injury to McGahee, the Broncos are the favorites in the AFC to advance to the AFC Championship game and the Super Bowl shortly after. The one thing that the Ravens have going for them heading into this matchup with arguably the best team in the NFL is the emotional factor. Superstar linebacker Ray Lewis announced before the end of the regular season that he intends to retire at season’s end. With Lewis calling it a career after 17 seasons, the team will have the motivating factor of attempting to win a Super Bowl before Lewis officially calls it a career. Lewis proved to be an emotional motivator in the win over the up-and-coming Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Wild Card round, but it remains to be seen whether or not that will be enough to put the Ravens over the top against the Broncos. At this point in time, the Broncos are heavy favorites to advance to the AFC Championship game against either the Houston Texans or New England Patriots with a -9 point spread. This spread is high and risky, but might be worth the risk with Denver as hot as any team in the league coming into this game.

Prediction: Broncos -9

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