Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens Free Pick 9/5/13
2013-09-05 07:30:00 EDT
The Baltimore Ravens title defense begins on Thursday as the Ravens head to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The Denver Broncos finished their 2012 season against the Ravens in the 2012 AFC Playoffs divisional round. The Denver Broncos look poised to make a return run at the playoffs in 2013, and you can bet that this loss will be on their minds. Denver obviously has one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time under center in Peyton Manning, and to help out Manning the Broncos have a solid group of targets for the future Hall of Fame inductee. Wes Welker is a newcomer to this group from New England, but Demaryius Thomas looks to be the favorite target for Manning once again. Thomas is a big target, and a deep threat and should remain a focal point of this offense all season long. The Broncos did have some issues with their running game in 2012, and to help remedy that situation the Broncos brought in Wisconsin Running Back Montee Ball. Ball is talented enough to play in this league, with the only think keeping him from the field could be his pass protection ability. Defensively the Broncos are stacked, however Denver will be without their stud pass rushing linebacker Von Miller. Miller is facing a six game suspension from the Broncos for abusing the league’s substance abuse policy. Defensively the Broncos will still be solid, but losing Miller will definitely hurt.
The Baltimore Ravens are the defending Champs from a season ago, but this is not the same Ravens team we are used to seeing on the field. Most notably Ray Lewis has hung up his spikes and equipped a tie and microphone and now we will see him on Morning pre-game shows, which should be interesting to say the least. The Ravens still have their star QB Flacco of course, and as long as you have Flacco, Ray Rice and the core of their receiving corps, the Ravens offense will be just fine. The Ravens did lose their star TE Pitta to a season ending injury this preseason, so stepping in his place will be Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark most notably. Dickson and Clark are both experienced players, but it will be interesting to see how fast these two gel with Flacco and this Ravens passing attack. There was much talk before the preseason about all the losses the Ravens have faced on the defensive side of the ball in the off-season. This past preseason the Ravens have been playing angry and have the looks of a team out to prove something defensively.
There hasn’t been a lot of line movement on this game as the Broncos opened up at -9 at most books, and while the number did climb as high as -10.5 for the Broncos briefly, things have settled back down for the most part. If you’re thinking Denver here, you may want to hold off until closer to kickoff as the public has been hammering the Ravens, and I expect that trend to continue to the point of driving the number down even further closer to kickoff.
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I have to take the Broncos here. Denver started off last season sluggish as Manning was breaking into this offense, but now the Bronco offense looks loaded and dangerous. Losing Miller does hurt, but the Broncos still have an outstanding secondary with one of the top corner duos in the league. The addition of Ball gives the Broncos running game some punch, especially in the red zone, where Manning loves to run the ball. The Ravens defense has been impressive so far this preseason, but opening night at Mile High with Manning under center is an entirely different animal. The Ravens will make some plays, but it won’t be enough as the Broncos should win by double digits at home on Thursday night.