The Baltimore Ravens will kick off the 2015 campaign with a showdown against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Lets hope that this showing is better than their last time out in Denver.
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The Ravens will start a season in Denver for the second time in three seasons and will immediately get to go against former coordinator Gary Kubiak. Kubiak told many people that he was going to stay in Baltimore when the rumors were swirling about his name being in the mix for the Broncos’ job, but ultimately left to coach the time he played for.
It has been a long offseason for the Ravens. They were knocked out of the playoffs by the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Baltimore’s name has been linked to Deflategate from the very beginning, and while Ravens fans need to get over it, the league is STILL making the whole ordeal a bigger deal than necessary.
Baltimore saw several fan favorites exit (Torrey Smith and Haloti Ngata), but added playmakers Kendrick Lewis and Breshad Perriman. They also have a young nucleus of players to build around, now and in the future. The Ravens will enter the season with the 15th youngest roster, according to Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice, with an average of 26.04 years of age. It is also the youngest roster in the AFC North as the Browns are 16th, Bengals 20th and the Steelers ranked 26th, respectively. That youth will be tested right out of the gate.
The Ravens are 5-5 against Denver during the regular season in the 20 years that the franchise has been in existence. The last time the Ravens started a season in Denver, it was an embarrassing performance by the Baltimore defense. Manning threw for 462 yards and seven touchdowns just months after the Ravens won the Super Bowl in the 49-27 drubbing. It was the start of a rough year as the 2013 season is the only time since John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco came to Baltimore have the Ravens missed the playoffs.
It is easy to say that Manning always puts up points, but in the last three matchups between the two teams, the Broncos have put up at least 34 points. Denver has had success moving the ball against the Ravens defense in the three games with Manning under center. Peyton should be 3-0 against Baltimore, but a Mile High Miracle got the Ravens the championship that Manning and the Broncos are craving for.
The Broncos will be without safety T.J. Ward, who was suspended for the first game of the season. Emmanuel Sanders missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury, but will play in the season opener. The Ravens have injury issues of their own as Lorenzo Taliaferro will miss the first few weeks with a MCL injury, and it is still unknown if Perriman will play. As the week progresses, we will continue to update both team’s injury situations.
Vegas does not like the Ravens chances in the opener as they have the Broncos listed as 4-point favorites. Road games are always difficult, but the first game of the season in the high altitude is a recipe for disaster once again. It also remains to be seen what team shows up in Denver. The starters played well against the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints, but were awful against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles and Broncos both have high-tempo offense with plenty of weapons.
Harbaugh will remind his team exactly what happened the last time these two teams played. While the roster has changed over quite a bit, there is still enough players who were around for Manning’s seven touchdown game to leave a bad taste in your mouth. They do not want to be humiliated again.
Flacco and the first-team will take the field for an entire game for the first time since losing to the Patriots. They don’t get to play half a game and assess how they did. The games matter now. It remains to be seen what team shows up in Denver.
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