The Baltimore Ravens pretty much dominated their Wild Card victory over the Colts. That may be because Peyton Manning doesn't play for them anymore. He does however play for the Ravens next opponent, the Denver Broncos. Peyton has beaten the Ravens 9 straight times including the playoffs. You think that's not on Ray Lewis and Ed Reed's minds?! The Ravens are a team that feeds off of motivation and inspiration. But I'm not so sure any emotional wave will be enough to defeat their arch nemesis Mr. Peyton Manning.
Manning was able to claim victories over Baltimore when they had the best defense in the league. This year they were ranked 17th. Now that number may be skewed a bit due to their core 4 (Lewis, Reed, Ngata and Suggs) not playing in the same line up together all season. They will be together on the field this weekend along with Paul Krueger who wreaked havoc on young Andrew Luck all Sunday afternoon. Then again, the Colts offensive line isn't anything special whereas the Broncos have one of the better units in football. Denver's line can pass and run protect almost equally as good.
The Broncos also happen to be one of the most complete teams in football being ranked in the top 5 on offense and defense. If Knowshown Moreno can keep up his best Willis McGahee imitation then the Horsemen can go all the way to the Super Bowl. I've said the Ravens are a scary team though as they can change a game around in an instant. Whether it's Ed Reed returning a 99 yard touchdown or Ray Rice busting a long one, the Ravens can and will get ya!
The Broncos can also turn a game around in a matter of minutes. The duel threat of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil are as good as any other outside pass rushers in the NFL. They can create turnovers by pressuring the quarterback with sacks or forcing bad passes. Combine that with the skills in the secondary led by veteran Champ Baily and we're talking some serious business.
This is a very tough match up for the Ravens on both sides of the ball as was proven just a month ago. A big concern however for the Broncos is the lack of quality competition down the stretch, their one week layoff and the fact that Peyton Manning has struggled in the playoffs throughout his career. With that being said I believe Denver will still be able to control the game and make big plays more often than the Ravens will. The Broncos may not find their game until the 2nd half but once they do it will be lights out.
Broncos 27 - Ravens 17