THEY WILL BE SHOWING THE GAME AT PQ FOR ALL BRONCOS FANS NOT GOING TO THE GAME! Just wanted to get that out of the way so don't worry!
Make no mistake about it, this game is bigger than the Broncos vs the Ravens. This game is sending a message to the AFC, to the NFL and to the New England Patriots. The Patriots BEAT DOWN Houston on national TV on Monday night this weekend putting the entire NFL on ntoice that they are best team in the league despite a 10-3 record. This is a must win for the Broncos for several reasons:
1. First and foremost is seeding. A head to head win over Baltimore ensures the 3rd seed in the playoffs and if the Patriots or Houston (mind you Houston still has to play the Colts twice) falters down the stretch, we can wind up with the 2nd seed winning out. A first round bye is always monumental in terms of allowing players to rest.
2. Understand that the Broncos are considered the 2nd best team in the league behind the Patriots by many in the league. Despite the Broncos being beaten by the "Elite" teams of the league including Houston, Atlanta and the Patriots, the Broncos played those teams in games 2-3-5 of the season. They have come afar from that time with offense, defense and special teams...basically as a unit. The offense is #4 in the league and the Defense is #4 in the league...this late in the season, balance is they key. It was well stated by Don Banks of SI.com "only four teams escaped Week 14 looking built for the long haul that awaits in January and the first weekend of February: New England and Denver in the AFC, Green Bay and San Francisco in the NFC." It is this time in December where you lay groundwork and get back to fundamental football for the playoffs. We are not the Patriots, we are a much different team...the Broncos grind out wins on the ground which creates the airial show we have come expect from our Passing game. The Broncos under Fox are not going to be a flashy team, the Broncos are going to try to beat you into submission.
3. Defense - It's quite interesting that people are on board with the defense, but still do not get enough credit or realize how ridiculous this defense is. I want to say something to you that will shock you...as much credit and ghal that the Raven's defense gets time after time, talking about future Hall of Famer's Ray Lewish, Ed Reed and possbily Terrell Suggs...they rank #24 this season. Their defense is awful. Look for DJ Williams to enter more playing time, not for Woodyard but for Brookings. DJ has played quitely well since coming off his suspension with increased playing time. Mind you, he is excellent in pass coverage and is a great tackler and run stuffer, run stuffing is key to this particular game. Miller will be able to exploit a key part of the Raven's offensive line with Marshal Yanda most likely out with an ankle sprain. Shuffling linemen will result in one Micahel Oher who's allowed 2 sacks leading to fumbles in the past 2 games or rookie Kelechie Osemelee who has allowed 8 sacks. Woodyard is back at practice after sitting out the last game for this all important match. He is a nightmare for the slow receivers of Baltimore how have an extremely difficult time getting off bump coverage. Without Baltimore having a true slot receiver, it will be very tough for them to gain ample yards.
4. Offense - Much has been said about the amount of points scored in the last 2 weeks, especially in Oakland. Again, getting away with a division win on the road in primetime is a win. Suffice it to say, knowshon Moreno is now the key to this offense down the stretch, which is quite hard to believe. In this particular game, the Ravens know their secondary is crap and should drop more linebackers in coverage rather than blitz. The Broncos have one the best O-line's in the business this year with the second lowest sack total of all NFL teams. The Raven's pass rush is NOT without Ed Reed and Suggs. Moreno on the field keeps the Defense honest in requiring a pass rush and/or the safeties to play closer to the line of scrimmage which means one on one coverage for the fly routs (DT) or Slot routes (stokely, Decker, Tamme, Dressen). Finally, it sets up the play action pass which is mannning's favorite to send Thomas on the out routes with one on one coverage with his size and speed. Moreno had a monster game in Oakland with over a 100 yards grinding it out and acting like the 1st round draft pick we chose 4 years ago.
Side notes for the game. Manning is 8-2 lifetime against baltimroe and 8-0 in his last trips to Baltimore. The Broncos are 0-4 going to Baltimore...something's gotta give! Little known fact that Trindon Holliday has been a punt return man starter for 13 games in his 2 year career, 5 with the Texans and 8 with the Broncos...he is 13-0 in those games.
This is the biggest game of the season with Playoff implications reaching far and wide and setting us up for success in the post season. Many of us will not be at PQ this Sunday, but please come and keep the party going there. For those of you going to the game, we are in LOT J and will be tailgating. Hope to see you there
Now and Forever:
I am a Broncos fan and I believe. I believe in Mile High Magic and Bleed orange and Blue. I celebrate the drive and the Mile High Salute. I create the THUNDER, share in the common dream and will forever be a proud citizen of BRONCOS COUNTRY!
GB2 - Ron