Rob Long: Ravens/Broncos
There’s several ways to look at this football game on Sunday between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens are on a two-game losing streak, including a home loss two weeks ago against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens rarely lose one game at home and haven’t suffer two home losses since 2009. Once of those games were to a Peyton Mannning led Indianapolis Colts team. The Ravens were 6-2 at home that year.
The Ravens haven’t lost two consecutive home games since 2007 when an eight-game losing streak included four consecutive home losses. The was the last time the Ravens have suffered a losing season.
Since we’re on the topic of streaks, the Broncos haven’t lost a game since October 7th. That streak includes five straight on the road. The ole expression of “Something has to give” is in full effect.
The Broncos have one of the most feared pass rushes in the National Football League and the Ravens offensive line has been, at best, suspect lately. Michael Oher has struggled with speed and that’s exactly what Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil specialize in.
New offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell is very familiar with Manning but he doesn’t have to gameplan for number 18. That’s up to Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees, who’s defense has been under fire lately. Many fans guessed Pees would have been the coach who was going to be fired when rumors began to swirl that a change was on the horizon last Monday. When it was announced that Cam Cameron was going to fired, there wasn’t exactly shock over the decision, just the timing of the decision.
All of that is in the past, but there are still questions to answered. Many of those questions will get answered on Sunday. Questions such as, “How will Jim Caldwell influence the offense and/or Joe Flacco?” That’s certainly the most important question.
Speaking of important, this game is tremdously important to the Ravens. A loss on Sunday will mean this team has gone from 9-2 and in good position to a number two seed to 9-5 with a possibility of a four seed, maybe.
I predict that there will be more questions than answers after 4:00. The Broncos will be too much for this Ravens defense. Peyton Manning will have an impressive day and continue his march toward both the Comeback Player Of The Year and MVP.
In addition, the Ravens will have a very difficult task of protecting Flacco enough to take advantage of any weaknesses in the Broncos secondary.
Broncos 31 Ravens 26