Mark Zinno: Ravens Reactive – Week 1 Prediction
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So when the Ravens and Broncos rematch to open the NFL season, what can we expect? Simple. Another hell of a football game. Who has the edge? Let’s take a look.
QB – Is it crazy to think that Joe Flacco has surpassed Peyton Manning? No, not really. Flacco has proven he is a big game QB, second only to Peyton’s little brother Eli. Flacco isn’t afraid of road games and knows how to win them. Peyton still has more pressure than Flacco and given the late state of Manning’s career, he has to win another ring very, very soon. EDGE – Even
RB – Ray Rice continues to be an all-purpose back who will give defenses fits. The Denver situation of running back by committee isn’t really of concern because they won’t run with a great amount of regularity. If you ask most offensive coordinators, if you combined, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman into one running back, they would still take Rice over that guy. Don’t forget the Ravens have Bernard Pierce as a powerful change of pace back. EDGE – Ravens
WR – It’s really unfair what the Peyton Manning has to work with. It’s like giving a fraternity brother his pick of super models to go out with! Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are enough to keep the best defensive coordinators up at night. Add in Wes Welker … the only question left is, are there enough passes to go around? The Ravens still have to wonder if Torrey Smith is good enough to handle the workload of a number one WR. EDGE – Broncos
FRONT 7 – The Ravens were so weak here least year, it was sad. Ray Lewis was a shell of himself. Terrell Suggs was never 100% after his Achilles injury and Haloti Ngata was playing through pain all season. Paul Kruger and Danelle Ellerbe did a fine job and left for greener pastures. All Ozzie Newsome did was reload better than you could have imaged. Stole Elvis Dumervil. Signed Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and Michael Huff and drafted Matt Elam. Good enough for me. The Broncos will be a shell of themselves up front without Von Miller. EDGE – Ravens
DB – The Ravens still have a ton of questions back here. Ed Reed, no matter how old, is still a game changer. His departure makes the Ravens different. Lardarius Webb is coming of ACL surgery. Michael Huff is in a new system and everyone else is unproven. That’s a lot of unknowns for me. And it could be the weakest part of the Ravens improved defense. Oh yeah, they are facing Peyton Manning in their first game. EDGE –Broncos
COACH – John Harbaugh won’t ever get the credit he deserves. John Fox gets more for doing less. Fox is a hell of a coach. He won with Tim Tebow! Need anyone say more? But John Harbaugh really is the face of the Ravens now. He is the heartbeat of that franchise and coaching matters so much in the NFL. EDGE – Ravens
PREDICTION – This is a revenge game for the Broncos. They can’t lose this game. After the way they lost in January, they can’t lose this one. They won’t. Denver 29, Ravens 24.
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