Week 14: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday November 16, 2012 1:05 PM
Line: Ravens +3 O/U 48
OK put down the razors. Drop the drano. Unload the gun. Untie the noose. It’s not the end of the world. So the Ravens have lost two straight, have been absolutely decimated by injuries, and are facing three of the hottest teams in football to end the season. This is still a very good 9-4 football team. Will the swagger return or will the Ravens continue to fold? With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s keys to the game.
Baltimore Gridiron Report Keys to the Game
1st and Ten: Contain Peyton Manning
Look, let’s just get the obvious out of the way first, if the Ravens have any prayer of winning this game, they have got to contain Peyton Manning. If hey allow him to sit back in the pocket untested, then this is going to be a very, very long day. It is my sincerest hope that Dean Pees and John Harbaugh went back to the Broncos/Chiefs game from a few weeks back and watched how the Chiefs managed to keep Peyton contained. In that game the Chiefs pressed the line heavily, and forced Peyton to throw to his weak side.
Look at his passes all season and you’ll notice that when forced to pas across his body Peyton throws absolute duds. If the Ravens can get him under pressure and force him to make his weak throws they can take advantage of him.
2nd and Long: Rapid Delivery
If there’s one player on the Broncos roster that scares me as much as Manning, it’s Vonn Miller. The kid is an absolute monster and he has the big play ability that terrifies me against a shaky Offensive Line. The Ravens have got to combat Miller and his athleticism by getting the ball out of Joe’s hands quickly.
The best way to accomplish this would be a healthy dose of shotgun or a healthy dose of pistol formation. Snap the ball and get it out as quickly as possible. It’s the only way to negate the Denver pressure.
3rd and Short: Run Run Run
Winning this game starts with running the ball effectively. It forces the Broncos to stay honest to the rush defense and allows for a more effective play action (Joe’s strongest weapon). Ray Rice had a great game against the Skins, and the Ravens should be focusing on a heavy dose of him for this week’s game plan. Get him moving well and everything else will just fall into place, especially since the forecast calls for rain. If Ray can’t find holes to bounce around in, then you just move to Bernard Pierce who’s emerged as a stout complement. He’s not as evasive but he’s big, strong and hard to tackle.
4th Down: Rise to the Occasion
Looking across the defense and the offensive line, the Ravens have more holes than anyone ever thought possible. No Jameel McClain and now no Marshall Yanda. I’m not entirely sure if things could get much worse. In order to win this game, the Ravens backups have got to rise to the occasion. I know it’s a cliche but it’s true. The backups have got to play better than they did in Washington and the Ravens have got to maximize the production with what little they have remaining.
Extra Point: Pray
On paper this does not look good at all. That being said at least the Ravens have rain on their side and some cold weather. Rain levels the field and I’m still not convinced that Peyton can thrive in the harsh conditions.
This will undoubtedly be the toughest game to win since Houston. So if you’re a praying sort of person, pray for some early Christmas magic.
Jonathon Scruggs (8-5)
Hang a black shroud. This isn’t going to be pretty.
Broncos 38 – Ravens 27
Matt Jergensen (10-3)
I can understand the negativity surrounding the team right now with defensive injuries and a two game losing streak but I think returning home and the playcalling change may give the team the boost they need. If they can finally win the time possession battle and keep Peyton on the sidelines they can get this one.
Ravens 28 – Broncos 23
Gene Winner (11-2)
Not liking the Ravens chances in this contest. Even if the offense can improve, the defense just has too many injuries to overcome. Hopefully, they pull this out and prove me wrong
Broncos 31 – Ravens 26
Ben Zinman (10-3)
Ravens D will minimize Manning’s effectiveness through the air and the Ravens will play another close contest to the end of regulation. This one will result in a victory
Ravens 28 – Broncos 27