AFC Game Of The Week

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

Broncos: I want to be sold on them, but I just can’t do it and my reason for saying that is because they can’t play consistently and the last two years post-Peyton Manning have shown me just that. They got off to a 3-1 start and lost eight games in a row and finished the 2017 season with one of their worst records in recent memory. When the Broncos lost out on the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, Case Keenum announced he would sign with the Broncos and I immediately said after the signing that he’s good, but I don’t think he’s the guy that can lead the Broncos back to being a contender and he won’t be there for the long-term, but he can help lead the team to some wins. He’s the better of the quarterbacks they’ve had since Peyton retired. Let’s travel back down memory lane and see who the Broncos have had at quarterback since the sheriff retired. Trevor Siemian was the starter and he had his moments when he looked good, but struggled. Paxton Lynch was expected to be the quarterback of the future and he was released and don’t get me started on Brock Osweiler. Their defense has really been the backbone of the team as of late and it should be when you have a guy like Von Miller who creates so much havoc, you’ll always be considered one of the better units. They’re definitely different this year after losing Talib in the off-season, but they still have Chris Harris, one of the more underappreciated corners in the league. The Broncos will play in their first road game on Sunday against a team they know pretty well.

Ravens: I remember after week one, I was asked one simple question: Are the Ravens that good or was that Buffalo playing terrible football? I’m going to lean toward the second answer, but I will say this though: these are the best set of weapons that the Baltimore Ravens have surrounded Joe Flacco with probably since the days of Steve Smith or you can look at the days when they had Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. I know Baltimore has struggled, especially on the offensive side of the football but if you look at it, who has Joe Flacco been able to throw the football too? Now, he has Willie Snead who knows a thing or two about making some big catches and Michael Crabtree who played in a Super Bowl just a few seasons back. I know they can score points and come away with six but this team will always be known as a defensive bunch. What amazes me is that Terrell Suggs is still playing with such a high motor after all these years and this became his defense after Ray retired. When you think of teams who pride themselves on shutting down the run, they’re usually one of the first teams that come to mind because on the young season so far, they allow only 92 yards a game to their opposition on the ground. They also struggled last Thursday against the Bengals and it almost seemed as if Joe forgot to connect with the guys wearing the same uniform as him. They return home for an interesting showdown with the Broncos on Sunday.

Broncos Player To Watch: Case Keenum– He’s led the Broncos to wins in their first two games, but he hasn’t looked good while doing it. He’s been intercepted four times in their first two victories and has a QB rating of 73.6. The Ravens are going to come out and eliminate running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman and get Case to throw the football in this one. He has to be on his a game in this one.

Ravens Player To Watch: Alex Collins– The Ravens need to feed this guy the football early on and when they run the ball, good things happen for them and it opens up their offense. Baltimore is averaging a measly three yards per carry. They want nothing more than to get their offense going by establishing a consistent ground game.

Final Analysis: I called this one “memories” because when I think of these two teams, I often think of the epic playoff game in 2013 when Baltimore stunned the top-seeded Broncos to advance to the AFC Title Game or a few months later to open up the 2013 season when Peyton threw seven touchdown passes on the Ravens. The crowd will be electric in Baltimore on Sunday because they will be celebrating Ray Lewis and his recent induction into the Hall of Fame. The Ravens need to get their confidence back after losing a physical game to the Bengals last week. As I said above, running the football is a major necessity if they want things to open up for Flacco down the field. For Denver, Keenum needs to play better, I’m not saying exactly how he played last year, but taking care of the ball will have to be the priority against a defense that can create turnovers.

Prediction: Ravens 24 Broncos 17