Reporting Jerry Coleman
The Ravens get ready for a rematch of week 15 when they host the Broncos which did not turn out so well for the Purple and Black on December 16th . Peyton Manning and Company cruised 34-17 at M&T Bank Stadium. Get ready for chapter two, this time the stakes are a little bit higher. Also an even bigger challenge due to the fact it is in the Mile-High City, 5,200 feet above sea level.
The team will get to Denver the day before they have to play one of the biggest games in franchise history. With that, the players know how important this game is and what they will require for a victory. Ray Rice said, “I don’t want to go into that game letting their defense dictate how we play ball. We have a certain way we play around here. It’s playoff football. We are going to go out there and give it our best shot, obviously, but my biggest thing this week is how we execute. They are a great defense. They are a great team. I’m not taking that away from them. They have earned the right to have their homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. With all our ups and downs, we have earned the right to get another shot.” With every playoff game possibly being Ray Lewis’s last game as a Raven. Rice is not prepared for that, “A guy that has played 17 years, won a Super Bowl, has all kinds of honors and the one last victory lap around the stadium just to soak up everything, it was just so emotional. What he’s done for me … I’m sure he’s done a lot for you all just the way he plays the game. To see that one victory lap, when I saw him come out of that tunnel, it was just an emotional-struck day for me. I’m glad I got to live to fight another day. You all know why.” Next is the preparation for the game on Saturday. They have to stop Peyton Manning, which has never been an easy task.
The Broncos quarterback has a nine-game winning streak against the Ravens. It dates back to his fifth year in the NFL with Indianapolis. Lewis is not just ready for Manning he is ready for the whole team. “You hear that time and time again, and I think for my team, the thing is it’s not about facing Peyton; it’s about facing the Denver Broncos. As a team, that’s our No. 1 goal. Who are we going to play? Like I said, just sitting in the team meetings and just listening to everything, everything we’ve been talking about is going to play the team that has won 11-straight games. They have a very hot streak going right now. Arguably, they are the best team in football. If that’s what it is, then let’s line up and let’s be who we are, and let’s get ready to play the best team in football.” That is the kind of mind set that a 17-year veteran will make sure his team mates take in, which is yes Manning is an elite player, but is one player on the field, have to focus on the whole team and advantage of their weakness not just Manning’s.
Even though the Ravens are the underdogs in this game, they will have several players that did not participate in week 15 . That will be a factor, but so will the altitude. Lewis said it never has affected him, Rice has never played in Denver. That will be interesting; maybe the altitude is over played because the team doctors and trainers will defiantly have the team prepared for it. What can stop a fast pace offense? , a high powered defense. Which Baltimore has. They also can also force turnovers, the Ravens’ “D” has forced 35 INT’s, in last 12 postseason contests. It is time to look ahead, as the Ravens try and keep Lewis from hanging up his cleats on Saturday.