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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

One Winning Drive: Three Thoughts on Ravens-Broncos


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1. Denver’s defense is for real… Not “for real, for real” like the Ravens teams of the past, but they are legitimately good. They stop the run with the best of them, have a great pass rush, and one of the league’s best corners leading a solid secondary. To really mess with this Denver defense the Ravens are going to have to do a number of things well.

The Ravens have to maintain some substantial possessions to really tire the Broncos defense. That means running the ball and lots of it. And running ball is going to mean great line play (thank goodness Jared Gaither is likely to be back). But also, the Ravens are going to have to give Flacco time to throw and give him receivers to throw to (no more holding Heap in to block). Bottom line: Cam Cameron is going to have to be on his game – we need the perfect mix of smart and fun offense.

2. The Ravens can contain Brandon Marshall. No, seriously, they can. I know, I know… it sounds crazy. But the Ravens contained Randy Moss. They contained Braylon Edwards. They’ve been able to muzzle some good receivers. But only when those receivers don’t have much help. Brandon Marshall is the Broncos only great offensive threat, with their next best receiver being Jabar Gaffney. The Ravens need to double, triple, total cover Marshall and then force Kyle Orton to make other decisions. Period.

3. The Ravens need to start fast. I’ve seen some criticism of Joe Flacco and the offense for not always ‘clicking’ right when a game starts. But really, none of this team has put it together early in games. Flacco’s apparent slow starts are probably just as much a symptom of bad game planning and lots of bench time (thank you, defense) as anything else. The whole team needs to come out in this game like it decides the season… because in many ways it does. When’s the last time we saw the defense start a game with a big turnover? Where are all the turnovers this year, anyway? And when’s the last time we’ve seen the special teams be truly special and set up both the offense and defense for greatness? Put it all together, guys.

Official Prediction: The Ravens figure it out. It may not be pretty or spectacular, but it’s a win. And the home crowd has plenty to do with it. Ravens 27, Broncos 20.

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