TV Coverage: CBS
When: Sunday, Oct 10, 1:00 p.m., ET
Is there anyone else who would of thought that Kyle Orton would lead the NFL in passing yards without a big named wide receiver – Brandon Marshall is with the Miami Dolphins – on the team? This is the second straight road game for the Broncos who have struggled defensively away from home lately but Orton has continue to find ways to throw the football at a consistent, and productive rate. In seven of their last 8 road games the Broncos have allowed 20 plus points against and if that happens against the Ravens, Denver’s in trouble.
So what makes this matchup so intriguing? Well, it’s because the Broncos are heading into Baltimore with the NFL’s best offense while the Ravens lead the NFL against the pass (119 YPG) and total defense (235.8 YPG). At the age of 35, Ray Lewis is still the undoubted leader of this defense but their most important player in Ed Reed, is still hampered with a bad hip. Baltimore is 4-0 at home all-time against the Broncos, including a 21-3 wild-card victory in 2000. The Ravens have outscored Denver 111-39 in those four wins. For years the Ravens were searching for a go-to receiver, and now they have three of them with Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
With the way the Ravens are playing right now, it’s hard to argue against them, especially since they’re my Superbowl pick for this season. I expect Denver to go deep against a concerning Ravens secondary that’s hampered by injuries and inexperience, but I don’t see them being very successful due to the non-stop pass rush that Baltimore brings. The Ravens have already played three top defenses on the road so far this season. The New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers are no slouches. It will take a gritty, physical performance by the Broncos offensive line to show the entire league that they won’t be pushed around.
Matchups to look out for: Anquan Boldin vs Champ Bailey
They’re both veteran players, and while Anquan is getting a second chance at football instead of having to play in the shadow of former teammate, Larry Fitzgerald, Bailey looks to be on his way out of Denver if they decide not to offer him an extension. Through four games this season, Boldin’s amassed 355 yards and three touchdowns. His best game came against the Cleveland Browns where he caught 8 receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns. As for Champ, he’s been hampered by an ankle injury but did hold Titans receiver Nate Washington to 42 yards along with keeping him going deep. Boldin is a tough matchup even against a stout defender like Bailey due to his toughness, size, speed, and physical nature and has the ability to throw you off of your game. I don’t expect him to put up numbers like he did against Cleveland, but he should have a decent outing.
There’s no question that Denver will be able to move the ball in this game, especially with the wide array of offensive weapons, but their biggest problem has come in the red-zone – which the Ravens are best when the field is short. Even with the pass-happy offense, I still see the Ravens holding them to 17 or fewer less points and winning the turnover battle.
About the Author
Written by Andrew Macaluso
21 year old sports blogger.