January 12, 2013

NFL Playoffs: Saturday's Divisional Round Prediction: Ravens-Broncos

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos 
The Broncos are the favorites in this one, not only because of their record but also because they have a decided advantage at home.  The Broncos are 7-1 at home and the Ravens haven been mediocre on the road as their 4-4 record indicates.  What is worse for the Ravens is that Joe Flacco's quarterback rating drops nearly 25 points when he is away from home and only has two more touchdowns than interceptions (7 to 5) on the road. On the flip side, Peyton Manning is every bit as good as you would think Peyton Manning to be at home. Manning completes 68 percent of his passes, has 19 more touchdown passes than interceptions (22 to 3).
Von Miller and Joe Flacco will be key contributors if their teams are to win.
Ray Lewis' last game will most likely be today and with his retirement, the Ravens reputation as a great defensive unit should be retired as well. The Ravens defense is 17th in total yards allowed and tied for 12th in points allowed per game.  Those numbers are not exactly what people think of when they think of the Ravens defensively.  The key to winning today in Denver will be constant pressure on Manning, while not gambling too much in the secondary.  The Ravens need to force turnovers and Manning might not be willing to give them up.  The Broncos just need to do what they do so well and that is put pressure on the quarterback.  Flacco will see pressure from every angle as the Broncos led the lead with 52 sacks. Broncos 31, Ravens 23