The easiest thing about picking matchups for this game was Torrey Smith’s burning of Champ Bailey in last year’s AFC Divisional game. That was until Bailey was ruled out with a foot injury he suffered during the preseason. But despite Bailey’s injury, here are my top matchups for the NFL opener.
Ravens LB Elvis Dumervil vs. Broncos LT Ryan Clady Edge: Dumervil
Analysis: The revenge factor will certainly be present with Dumervil making his return to Denver following the fax-machine fiasco. After getting the short end of the stick with Denver last year, and now being on the other side, he wants a ring as bad as anyone. He’ll gladly go through his old team to try and get it.
Ravens CB Lardarius Webb vs. Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas Edge: Thomas
Analysis: For Lardarius Webb, this will be his first game since tearing his ACL last October. Despite getting the full support of the coaching staff, Webb will be a little rusty. Especially when he has to go up against Demaryius Thomas, who last year became one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco vs. Broncos FS Rahim Moore Edge: Flacco
Analysis: We all know how this ended last year. For Flacco to have similar success in Denver in this game, he’ll have to spread the ball around. Part of spreading the ball around will be forcing Moore into favorable positions for the Ravens. Theirs is a tactical matchup more than a physical one.