AFC Game Of The Week
Ravens at Broncos
Ravens: The last time we saw the Baltimore Ravens, it was in the Super Bowl. Flacco proved he’s elite and earned a contract extension after putting together a post-season performance of 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. That was just the first of many things to happen to the Ravens this off-season. Never have I seen a team lose so many key pieces. Ray retired, Ed Reed is in Houston, Bernard Pollard is in Tennessee, Dannell Ellerbe is in Miami, Paul Kruger is in Cleveland and Anquan Boldin was traded to San Francisco. All those guys listed were very important to the Ravens’ success in 2012. This off-season, they added Chris Canty, Elvis Dumervil, Marcus Spears, Michael Huff and Daryl Smith. I like those moves a lot because this defense which has been questioned over the last few seasons is much younger and quicker along with a healthy Terrell Suggs. Thursday night, a title defense begins for the champs at a place where one of the more memorable games took place in Denver. This Ravens offense will have a lot to prove to all of us come Thursday night.
Broncos: What a year the Broncos had in 2012. They win the Peyton Manning sweepstakes by signing the four-time MVP and he leads them to their best record since 2005 at 13-3, which also resulted in closing out the season with eleven straight victories. Peyton is still elite and he has more around him in Denver than he did in Indianapolis. The Broncos made a splash this off-season by signing Wes Welker to a two-year/$12 Million deal. Peyton and Welker will become a top-five QB/WR tandem and he will bring a splash to this offense because he’s so effective in the slot and can really open up the middle of the field. Defensively, they will have to show they can survive the first six games without Von Miller who is suspended due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Broncos know this year it’s a Super Bowl or bust season for them. Anything less than coming out of the AFC will be considered a failure. They start off 2013 by playing the team that knocked them out the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion.
Prediction: Never has a week one match up meant so much. The Broncos know that if they don’t give up a big play to Jacoby Jones and Peyton doesn’t throw an interception in double overtime, the Broncos could’ve made it to the Super Bowl. They’ve had this game circled on their calendar since the schedules were released in April. The Ravens will look like a completely different team. No Boldin and no Dennis Pitta and those were two important pieces to that offense. I like the Broncos to get the win on Thursday night. Broncos 31 Ravens 21