Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At Denver Broncos

Baltimore Ravens
Denver Broncos
Winner Joe Flacco becomes the hunted this year. A remarkable Super Bowl run last year started with a come-from-behind miracle in Denver. The Ravens became Flacco’s team in the process and that will become even more the case in 2013. Flacco’s arm strength is his top physical asset, but it is his command of the offense and ability to find the open receiver that has made him an elite leader.
Peyton Manning proved quite a bit last year, as he returned to top form after missing the 2011 season as a result of a significant neck injury. Manning made the move from Indianapolis and was every bit the leader he had been with the Colts, even if his arm has lost a bit of zip. Manning will still have his moments, but he is no longer the elite passer he once was.
The Ravens found success with their multifaceted attack last year. Many high-powered offenses tend to eschew the run in favor of the pass, but the presence of Ray Rice allows the Ravens to use the running game to gash opposing defenses. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones give the Ravens two solid wideouts who can make big plays.
Winner The Broncos have a crew of talented receivers who have a chance to give the Broncos one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Eric Decker is faster than you think and he will catch nearly everything he touches. Demaryius Thomas has the speed to get downfield and make big plays. Former Patriot Wes Welker will complement both of them. Look for rookie Montee Ball to give the running game a lift.
The old Ravens defense that featured Ray Lewis and Ed Reed is gone and will live on in the memories of Raiders fans. Haloti Ngata is still the anchor in the middle of the defensive line and he can shut down the interior run. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil give the Ravens a pair of pass rushers who can dictate the pace of the game. The Ravens expect cornerback Lardarius Webb to have a big year.
Winner The Broncos became one of the hardest hitting and most consistent defenses in the AFC a year ago, and they may eventually repeat their performance this year. However, they could have a problem early in the season without Von Miller (suspended). Veteran Champ Bailey has been one of the best cover men in the league for years, but how much does he have left. Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson is an underrated stud against the run.
Special Teams
Winner One of the big reasons the Ravens were able to sustain excellence last year was the improvement in their special teams. Justin Tucker gave head coach John Harbaugh consistency by making 30-of-33 FG attempts while Jones is a game-breaking return specialist.
Winner Trindon Holliday returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown last year. Placekicker Matt Prater has a big leg and he made 26-of-32 FG attempts last year. Britton Colquitt averaged 46.3 yards on his punts and gets excellent height.

The Winner Is

Winner Denver Broncos
3 out of 4

The Broncos feel like they could have been the team hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of last season and they will want to pay back the Ravens. That motivation and having home-field advantage should give them an edge in this Opening Night confrontation.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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