coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/01/2013 12:43 PM in NFL

Baltimore Ravens At Denver Broncos: Preview and Pick

Baltimore Ravens At Denver Broncos: Preview and Pick

It has been a very long wait, but finally the National Football League will start their season. The season opener is a good one as the Baltimore Ravens travel to the Mile High City to take on the Denver Broncos. This game has all the intrigue of a great season opener as this is a rematch from the playoffs a season ago.

Baltimore Ravens At Denver Broncos Odds

Despite the fact that the Baltimore Ravens are the defending champions they enter this game as huge underdogs. The Broncos opened up as eight point favorites at most offshore locations. That line has started to sway in favor of the home team and can be found as high as nine points, depending on your online sportsbook.

The reason for the big line is most likely due to the big turnover of personnel for the Ravens. Super Bowl star quarterback Joe Flacco remains with the team and signed a big offseason deal that meant the Ravens would have to part ways with several starters from a year ago. Ray Rice returns in the backfield but overall they parted with nine starters from a season ago to include Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, two defensive mainstays.

The Broncos are led by future hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning. The Broncos added Wes Welker to the arsenal as a free agent during the offseason and drafted running back Montee Ball to give Manning even more outlets in an already explosive offense. With Thomas and Decker already established as solid receivers, this Broncos offense has the ability to be one of the best in the league.

The Broncos did take a hit on defense when linebacker Von Miller was suspended for the first six games of the season. That will make this game against the Ravens a true test for this team.

According to the sports betting trends the Broncos ended the season on a high note. The Broncos are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in the last five games overall, 4-0 ATS in the last Thursday games and 4-1 ATS in the last five games against the AFC.

The Ravens also have some football betting trends in thier favor for this outing. The Ravens are known for their quick starts to the season as they are 5-0 ATS in the last five games in week one of the regular season. They are also an amazing 8-2-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings with the Denver Broncos and they are 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight games on the road.

Baltimore Ravens At Denver Broncos Pick

This game will be very entertaining as these two teams start the long trek towards the playoff and hopefully a shot at the Super Bowl, check back closer to game day for my pick on this game.


coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/02/2013 03:14 PM

The Denver Broncos and their fans have been patiently waiting for a chance at redemption ever since giving away a playoff game to the Baltimore Ravens on January 12, 2013. Of course, the Ravens turned the momentum of that victory into a Super Bowl championship.

On Thursday night, the two teams square off again from Sports Authority Field. There is plenty to talk about as these two teams will kick off the 2013-14 NFL season, but here we will concentrate on the most important matchups in the game. The team that gets the better of these particular matchups will likely come out victorious, starting the campaign 1-0.

Champ Bailey vs. Torrey Smith
In the playoff game last year, Torrey Smith had probably the best game of his career, leading to one of Champ Bailey's worst. The immediate aftermath included questions of Bailey's ability to play the cornerback position at an elite level now at the age of 35 years old. The Broncos were also quick to bring in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as a free agent.

In the playoff loss last year, Smith only caught three passes. But he had touchdowns of 59 and 32 yards and beat Bailey badly on both plays. With Anquan Boldin now playing in San Francisco, Joe Flacco will likely lean on Smith even more, and because of that, Bailey will be challenged. Flacco has proven he isn't afraid of going right at the 12-time Pro Bowler, and Bailey will have to be ready.

Of course, there is a chance Bailey won't even play in the game as he is still dealing with a foot injury that occurred during a preseason game against Seattle. If Bailey is unable to suit up, Rodgers-Cromartie would likely draw the assignment of Smith.

Ryan Clady vs. Elvis Dumervil
Because the Baltimore Ravens use a 3-4 defense, Ryan Clady and Elvis Dumervil won't necessarily be matched up one-on-one. But make no mistake, the Ravens' best pass-rushers come in the form of their outside linebackers. The tandem of Dumervil and Terrell Suggs has amassed 148 career sacks. Dumervil will be especially hungry to make an impression against his former team after an offseason error involving a fax machine led to his departure.

Clady, who is coming off shoulder surgery, will be put to the test in protecting Peyton Manning. He only gave up one sack all of last season, and Dumervil has never had a sack in a season-opening game.

Denver Linebackers vs. Baltimore Tight Ends
The Broncos struggled matching up against opposing tight ends on a consistent basis last season. Not only could they not cover them, they picked up huge chunks of yards after the catch as well. Fortunately for Denver, the Ravens will be without Dennis Pitta, who will miss most if not all of the season with a hip injury. In two games against the Broncos last year, Pitta had 10 receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Without him, the Ravens will look to Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark.

Part of the problem Denver had with the tight end last season was due to the play they received from the middle linebacker position. Wesley Woodyard has been placed in this spot for the time being due to the six-game suspension given to Von Miller. Woodyard has been good in coverage throughout his career and even had three interceptions last season. Many of the tight end assignments could fall on him in this game.

If Woodyard gets beat, the safeties need to be ready to pick up the slack. Denver can't get torched by tight ends the way they did in 2012. Hopefully, this was a big point of emphasis with the defense this offseason.

Manny Ramirez vs. Haloti Ngata
Manny Ramirez has been given the starting job at center this season, largely because the team didn't have a better option. His first assignment will be to line up across from one of the most physically imposing players in the league, Haloti Ngata.

Ngata is easily one of the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL and has been for years. He could deal a severe blow to the Denver running game if Ramirez isn't up to the challenge.

Ramirez will almost certainly need help from either Zane Beadles or Louis Vasquez as the Broncos should game plan to double team Ngata almost constantly.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/03/2013 04:19 PM

Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey had his helmet with him for Tuesday practice at the team’s Dove Valley complex, but he did not take part in the workout beyond participating in the team stretch. Whether he will wear that helmet in Thursday night’s season opener is still a major question mark. Bailey suffered a left foot injury in the Aug. 17 preseason loss at Seattle and has not participated in a practice since.

Tight end Joel Dreessen (knee) and rookie running back C.J. Anderson (knee) did not participate and are not expected to be in uniform for Thursday night’s game. Guard Chris Kuper (ankle) was also listed as limited.

The Broncos will likely hold off any public acknowledgement about Bailey’s status until before Thursday’s game. The concern is putting him back on the field too quickly and risking the injury becoming a nagging problem moving forward into the season.

The rest of the Broncos' injury report remained the same with quarterback Brock Osweiler (left, non-throwing shoulder), defensive end Robert Ayers (Achilles/ankle), wide receiver Wes Welker (ankle) and left tackle Ryan Clady (shoulder) all listed on the report. All took part fully in practice on Monday and Tuesday, and will be in uniform, ready to go, Thursday night.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/04/2013 04:25 PM

When the Ravens and Broncos kick off the regular season Thursday night, count on seeing defenders gasping for thin mountain air as the two quarterbacks race their offenses to the line of scrimmage to run play after play.

Peyton Manning has long been a maestro of the no-huddle offense, orchestrating high-scoring offenses for 14 years in Indianapolis and another in Denver.

The Ravens just made the no-huddle a staple of their offense last season, but with quarterback Joe Flacco having played in a high-paced attack in college, they are already one of the NFL's fastest.

The Ravens don't use their no-huddle offense exclusively, but when they did pick up the pace last season, the results were often favorable. While not at Manning's level yet, Flacco and the offense have been working since last season to become faster and more efficient. The up-tempo offense meshes with the attacking mentality of John Harbaugh.

"The no-huddle offense is a great tool, a great strategy," the Ravens' coach said. "You obviously have to be in great shape as a football team and your opponent has to be in great shape to keep up with you. But you have to execute quicker, you have to think quicker. You have to be able to operate in that kind of environment, but you force your opponent to do the same. It fits our philosophy."

At an average of 27.54 seconds of game clock per offensive play, the Ravens had the third-fastest offensive pace in the NFL last season, according to Football Outsiders. The Broncos were second at 27.45 seconds. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who ran more offensive plays than any other team, led the NFL at 24.53 seconds.

"[The no-huddle] helps keep teams in a rhythm," Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "Rhythm is extremely important in a ball game. You try not to break your rhythm if you can, so sometimes pushing the pace of play lets you dictate a little bit more [of what goes] on in the 40 seconds between those snaps and maybe give you an advantage here or there."

When the Ravens forgo a huddle, defenses are unable to substitute. They can get an advantage if they catch the defense with a run-stuffing personnel group on the field against a speedy three-receiver group or if the Ravens have their jumbo package repeatedly lining up against an undersized, overmatched nickel defense.

"It makes it a little more difficult for [defenses] to give you a variety of different looks if you're pushing the pace fast enough," Caldwell added. "They have to be somewhat bland."

Plus, the Ravens have drafted versatile players such as dual-threat running back Ray Rice, tight end Ed Dickson, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who all can line up as wide receivers or in the slot. Their positional flexibility allows the Ravens to use a variety of formations in their no-huddle attack as they quickly but methodically drive downfield.

"Conditioning is a factor, particularly when you get some of those drives that end up being 13-play or 14-play drives," Caldwell said. "It can certainly take a toll on you."

When Caldwell was in Indianapolis as Manning's quarterback coach and then head coach, the Colts became a heavy user of the no-huddle offense. After plays, Manning would race to the line and bark out commands, some legitimate and some for show. If the defense tried to substitute, he would have his center snap the ball and take the free shot downfield or draw a penalty. It was just another aspect that made that Colts' offense one of the most prolific in NFL history.

Of course, it takes execution for the aggressive up-tempo approach to work. As Dickson put it, the Ravens need that initial first down to "get the train rolling." Three quick plays followed by a punt won't put points on the scoreboard, but it will put additional stress on your defense.

"Tempo is a common word," Manning said on a conference call. "But just because you're running plays fast, if you're not blocking anybody or not running good routes or not accurate with the football, I don't think it really matters. It's still an execution game."

That precision comes through repetition after repetition in practice. The Ravens used their no-huddle at times during training camp, loud rap music bumping over the sound system as Flacco and his offensive teammates hustled to the line after every play.

Now that they are practicing behind closed doors, they are picking up the tempo even more, particularly with Manning and the Broncos looming at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Operating at a faster pace this week will benefit them on both sides of the ball Thursday night.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/05/2013 03:15 PM

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos Pick

The Broncos announced that Champ Bailey will not play in this game, but if you remember how Flacco torched him in the playoffs last year, it is not really a big blow for this team.

The Ravens are a completely different team from a year ago that won the Super Bowl as they have had a complete overhaul on both sides of the ball. While Flacco and Rice are back the receivers are not the same as Boldin was traded to the 49ers and Dennis Pitta is out for the season.

The Broncos are ready for revenge and Peyton manning is about to embark on an MVP Caliber season with a wide array of weapons. Last year Manning and the Broncos averaged 30.1 points per game, which is good enough for second in the NFL. This year they have the tools to be even better.

Denver is a cash machine at home for sports bettors as they went 10-2 ATS as chalk and covered 6 out of the eight games they played at home. The Ravens defense was very beatable last year and gave up an average of over 360 yards per game. The Broncos win big and cover this number.

Broncos -7.5