Posted Thu Oct 7th by Monty
Streak: Won 2
Series vs. Denver: 4-3
Last time: Ravens, 30-7, 2009
The Line: Ravens by 7
Last year, the Denver Broncos‘ Week 8 battle in Baltimore (if you can call it a “battle”) started Denver’s horrid 2-8 streak to end the season. This year the Broncos look to put up a better fight.
Who’s hot: QB Joe Flacco. Overall in 2010, Flacco hasn’t been overly impressive. He has five touchdowns to six interceptions and is completing less than 60% (57.2%) of his passes. But he’s coming off his most impressive performance of the season, perhaps even of his career, where he completed 4-for-4 in the final drive against the Pittsburgh Steelers that concluded with an 18-yard game-winning touchdown toss. On that drive, when it mattered most, against Dick LeBeaugh‘s complicated, aggressive defense, Flacco posted a 147.9 passer rating. He couldn’t be coming into this Week 5 game vs. Denver any hotter.
Who’s not: Ravens runners. The Ravens’ corps of running backs — Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le’Ron McClain — have all been banged up of late, but all are expected to suit up Sunday against Denver. Rice says he is healthy enough to start after seeing sparing work against Pittsburgh, but he’s averaging a relatively tepid 3.8 yards per carry. Overall Baltimore is average 84.2 rushing yards per game, ranking 24th in the league.
Matchup to watch: Denver’s offensive line vs. Baltimore’s defensive line. On the first offensive snap against Baltimore in 2009, Kyle Orton was decisively taken down for a sack in what would be a sign of things to come. Against Tennessee, the Broncos’ o-line struggled mightily, allowing six sacks and only netting 19 yards rushing (11 that came from Orton scrambles). In other words, the Ravens’ defensive linemen are going to be licking their chops. Handling the physicality of Baltimore’s front three will be the Broncos’ top priority, but they can’t summarily overlook the Ravens’ other playmakers. Linebacker Terrell Suggs is dominating football games and has registered a sack in back-to-back games.