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“The Reality Check” Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 11 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 29)

I’m sorry I ever doubted the Jags being the worst team in the NFL.

31. Cleveland Browns (28)

So…you know…no pressure, Ravens.

30. Oakland Raiders (32)

Did you know their Tight Ends are something named “David Ausberry & Jeron Mastrud”? They look like they should play for Baltimore.

29. Buffalo Bills (30)

I still want Tuel Time.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22)

You deserve to drop to 28 if you lose to the Jets.

27. New York Jets (31)

I don’t think they should get comfortable.

26. Arizona Cardinals (25)

It’s a road loss with some good. Not a disaster.

25. San Diego Chargers (24)

The Texans are a very good team, but there’s no excuse to lose that at home.

24. Carolina Panthers (23)

The Seahawks are a very good team, but there’s no excuse to lose that at home.

23. Tennessee Titans (27)

They get more credit for their win because it was on the road at a good team what we thought was a good team.

22. Minnesota Vikings (18)

Christian Ponder can’t possibly last the season.

21. Detroit Lions (26)

A good team can’t follow up a division win with a loss to the Cardinals-even if it’s on the road.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (12)

What the hell was that? I mean, besides an awful lot of fun.

19. St. Louis Rams (20)

A game they should have won and did. That’s not a bad thing.

18. Washington Redskins (14)

Also from the list of “things I particularly enjoyed”.

17. Miami Dolphins (19)

Dannell Ellerbe looked really good Sunday. I know it’s one game.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Broncos

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Broncos

Posted on 10 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos Thursday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Chris Harris intercepts Joe Flacco pass intended for Brandon Stokey at Baltimore 24 (2nd quarter)

4. Demaryius Thomas 78 yard TD catch from Peyton Manning (4th quarter)

3. Joe Flacco pass intended for Dallas Clark incomplete on 3rd & 7 at Denver 7 (2nd quarter)

2. David Bruton blocks Sam Koch punt (3rd quarter)

1. Wes Welker 10 yard catch from Peyton Manning on 3rd & 9 (3rd quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Wes_Welker_Drop_John_Harbaugh_Replay_Ravens_Broncos

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RAVENS LOSE BRAGGING RIGHTS EARLY

Posted on 09 September 2013 by Tom Federline

The NFL Kickoff Celebration last Thursday evening simply just started off all wrong. First and foremost the game was not in Baltimore. Ohhhhhh, we will let Keith Urban sing on a barge for you and set up a few tents and call them the NFL Village, but no game. The NFL schedules the reigning Super Bowl Champs “kickoff game”, to be played on a Thursday night in conflict with another professional sports team schedule, against a team you upset in the playoffs on their home turf. Hey Baltimore, hey MLB, here’s the deal, we know your schedule is already set, change it or go to Denver. How wrong was that? Wasn’t the 2012 opening game on a Wednesday night (Giants-Cowboys)? Orioles were away on Wednesday. What’s up NFL? Second, NFL football is played beginning at 1:00pm, on Sunday afternoons. Not on Thursday nights. I do not watch football on Thursday, unless it is Thanksgiving. If the NFL wants to put on a show, then do it Monday Night, one game and start the pre-game at 7:00. Conclude the Kickoff Weekend showcasing the Super Bowl winner and their home city. I do not know the whole story behind the scheduling deal, but the Orioles, White Sox, MLB and the NFL should have worked it out. Baltimore was not given it’s due.

After swallowing the pill that the Ravens are NOT opening up at home, I turn on the tube to hear Bob Costas continually reminding us – the game is NOT being played and how Denver has been preparing for this game since their “surprising” loss to Baltimore in the playoffs. I also am not a fan of what the 30 commentators are predicting for the 2013 season for 2 hours. Screw the pagentry, “Let’s Get it Started” – (Black Eyed Peas). It’s 8:20 and I am ready for some football – BANG, time to screw with the Ravens again, potential storm rolling through, maybe some lightning – 40 minute delay in start of game. Visions of the “power outage FIX” from the Super Bowl dance through my head. I fully understand to be prepared for the worst and safety first. I also fully understand that it is mandated that all professional stadiums be provided with lightning protection in an attempt to gaurd against a storm tragedy. You have to err on the side of caution, but the delay at that time, just piled on another negative in the prelude to a disastrous night.

The Ravens were walking into the Broncos corral and there was no room for any Raven birds. The Ravens held their own in the first half. The 20 million dollar man came out respectable. But then we got to witness the “Rocknut Play of the first half”, Brynden Trawick – blowing up Jacoby Jones. How you run into your own man on a punt return is a total rocknut move. He did not just take out the Ravens kick returner, not just the 3rd place contestant on Dancin’ With the Stars, he took out the Ravens #2 wide receiver, It wasn’t just a glancing blow, it was an all out full speed, lapse of concentration, blow up. Jones may be out for 2 months or the year. Dallas Clark dropping that TD catch at the end of the half didn’t help. Michael Oher getting his ankle rolled on, also didn’t help. All more negatives leading up to………….

The second half. That was down right embarrassing. The embarassment could have been delayed, but the tsunami named Manning was coming. It could have been delayed if…. Horribaugh listened to his cornerback, Corey Graham and thrown the “non-challenge flag”. Welkers dropped “catch”. It probably would have not changed the outcome, but it could have changed the sequence of events that followed in that 3rd quarter.

For Horribaugh to say the next day, “he never saw a replay” or “the replay was to slow”, is a cop-out. Horribaugh and his coaching staff, blew it. From that point on, the floodgates opened, the defenses weakness was exposed, the offensive line was truly o-ffensive and the Ravens imploded. Game over. Reigning Super Bowl Champs bragging rights over.

Wait-a-minute, the Ravens weren’t the only ones embarassed. We have to acknowledge the “Rocknut play of the 2nd half”, which went to the Bronco cat who dropped the ball prior to the goal line on the non-pick-6. A successful crossing of the goal line on that one, would have just made the debacle even worse.

Ravens need a lot of work. If they don’t do anything with the o-ffensive line and that vulnerable defensive backfield, it’s going to be an ugly year. If they remain status quo, the 20 million dollar man which I read works out to $170,000.00/per day, may have trouble earning his pay. A few questions: 1. Who will rise to be the new leader on defense? 2. Can Yanda pull o-ffensive line together? 3. When will Ray be back to coach? Hey Johnny, miss those coat-tails yet? 4. The real reason why Anquan Boldin was let go? It’s gonna be a long year.

D.I.Y.
Fedman

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Two key moments open floodgates in embarrassing loss to Broncos

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Two key moments open floodgates in embarrassing loss to Broncos

Posted on 06 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco uttered all that really could be said about a disastrous 49-27 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos to begin the 2013 season.

“It was one of those nights.”

Head coach John Harbaugh can only hope it’s as simple as that after the Ravens surrendered 35 points in the second half, transforming a 17-14 halftime lead into a 22-point shellacking in which the Baltimore defense allowed a franchise-record 49 points in the first game of the post-Ray Lewis era. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes against a defense that looked exhausted and overmatched — particularly in the secondary — for much of the night.

Offensively, the fears at the wide receiver and tight end positions came to fruition as Flacco struggled to find open targets and when he did, they often couldn’t catch the football. The Ravens lost wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) and right tackle Michael Oher (ankle) to injury, further depleting an offense already with little room for mistakes.

The special teams were just as bad as backup safety Brynden Trawick inexplicably ran into Jones on a punt return — leading to the Pro Bowl returner specialist’s knee injury — and allowed a Sam Koch punt to be blocked to set up another Denver touchdown. And that’s only scratching the surface for Jerry Rosburg’s units.

Just one of those nights?

As ugly as the final stats and the second half were in the first season-opening loss of the Harbaugh era, it’s easy to forget the Ravens held the momentum late in the first half before two crucial moments became the catalysts for one of the worst defeats of the Harbaugh era. It’s often said that the difference between winning and losing can come down to just a play or two, but in this case, it was two plays that transformed a tight game into an unmerciful beating.

A perfectly-thrown Flacco pass to tight end Dallas Clark bounced right off his hands on what would have been a sure touchdown with just seconds remaining until intermission. Instead of a seven-point lead, the Ravens settled for a 25-yard field goal by Justin Tucker to go into the locker room ahead three points.

The second key moment came on Denver’s opening drive of the second half when Manning delivered a low throw to Wes Welker that clearly hit the ground as the slot receiver secured it. The play was ruled a catch, but Harbaugh elected not to throw his challenge flag, blaming the lack of a timely replay for his coaches upstairs to get a good look at the play after the game.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Harbaugh said after the game. “That’s something you have to see. It would be nice if NBC would show it, but we didn’t have a chance to look at it.”

Whether it was the lack of a replay, a moment of indecisiveness, or Harbaugh simply trying to protect his staff upstairs, the floodgates opened two plays later on Manning’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell and the Ravens were never competitive again. Had the play been challenged and the call overturned, the Baltimore defense would have forced a three-and-out, placing the ball back in the hands of Flacco and the offense with a three-point lead and further easing the pain of Clark’s drop on the final series of the first half.

Make no mistake, putting too much blame on Clark’s drop and Harbaugh’s decision to keep his red challenge flag in his pocket bails out what was an atrocious defensive effort and an inept offensive showing in the second half, but those mistakes highlight how small the margin for error might be for the Ravens this season — at least early on. With 19 new players on the 53-man roster and the departures of a number of key veterans including Lewis and longtime safety Ed Reed, the Ravens are certainly vulnerable to some growing pains in terms of both leadership and play on the field.

The loss of Jones in the first half eliminated the fear of a deep-ball threat on both sides of formations for the Ravens offense, allowing Denver safeties to focus carefully on Torrey Smith, who finished the night with four catches for 92 yards. Ed Dickson and Clark only magnified concerns about the tight end position with a number of drops. If you’re looking for a positive, rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown’s 13-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was one of the few bright spots for the offense as he finished with four catches for 65 yards.

The Ravens defense had no excuses for how it played in the second half as the secondary was absolutely torched by Manning, who ate up the Baltimore safeties — particularly free safety Michael Huff — on two touchdowns to young tight end Julius Thomas and abused cornerback Corey Graham throughout the night. With expectations high for a defense that experienced a dramatic makeover, the secondary was the biggest question mark entering the season as only cornerback Lardarius Webb received a passing grade in the group.

Hyped by some to be one of the most formidable groups in franchise history, the front seven collected three sacks against Manning but didn’t provide consistent pressure to aid a defensive backfield overwhelmed by too many weapons.

So, does this all mean the Ravens are doomed? Hardly.

It was only last December when the Ravens were in a similar position against the Broncos when a critical Flacco interception returned for a touchdown before halftime turned a tight game into one of the worst losses of the Harbaugh era. The rest was history after that embarrassing loss as the Ravens didn’t lose another meaningful game — starters were rested against Cincinnati in Week 17 — on their path to a Super Bowl title.

Even the record-setting 2000 Ravens defense gave up 36 points at home against Mark Brunell and the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Week 2 shootout before ultimately setting a record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season and winning the Super Bowl a few months later.

You’re never as bad as you look at your lowest point, but the concerns are real, ranging from who Flacco can trust in the passing game to whether this Ravens defense is as good as it was thought to be on paper with such a poor showing from the secondary.

The opening game will always be magnified because there’s no body of work on which to base observations and this marks the first time the Ravens have ever started 0-1 under Harbaugh. It’s also the first time since October 2008 in which the Ravens find themselves below the .500 mark, which is a testament to Harbaugh and his coaching staff and an easy reminder not to press the panic button just yet.

Still, Thursday night did not provide a good feeling after an offseason filled with more personnel changes and unknowns than any other defending Super Bowl champion had experienced in recent memory.

You can only hope it truly was just one of those nights with much better days ahead.

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Our Ravens/Broncos “Slaps to the Head”

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Our Ravens/Broncos “Slaps to the Head”

Posted on 06 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

After Baltimore Ravens victories, Ryan Chell and I award players who made positive contributions with “Pats on the Ass” during the “Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net.

The Ravens fell to the Denver Broncos 49-27 Thursday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, meaning there were no Pats to be awarded.

So instead of offering “Pats on the Ass”, Ryan and I offered “Slaps to the Head” postgame. A slap on the side of the head from a coach tends to come along with them saying something along the lines of “you’ve gotta do better than that.”

Same rules as there were with Pats. Two offensive players, two defensive players, and a Wild Card (Special Teams player, coach, or another Offensive or Defensive player). One player gets “two slaps” (or a slap on both sides of the head), it’s the opposite of a “Player of the Game” honor.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches after each game.

Here are our five Ravens that have “gotta do better than that.”

Glenn Clark’s Slaps…

5. Rick Wagner

4. Brynden Trawick 

3. Ed Dickson

2. John Harbaugh

1. Jimmy Smith (two slaps)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Rice says Broncos earned victory in Denver

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Rice says Broncos earned victory in Denver

Posted on 06 September 2013 by WNSTV

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Flacco: Overreacting to a loss isn’t a bad thing

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Flacco: Overreacting to a loss isn’t a bad thing

Posted on 06 September 2013 by WNSTV

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Lots of questions, few answers in Denver

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Lots of questions, few answers in Denver

Posted on 06 September 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

For the past seven months we’re talked a lot about the 2013 version of the Baltimore Ravens and nothing really mattered until the rain and lightning cleared and the team hit the field in Denver last night.

Everyone had questions. Who would replace Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin in the offense? How would the secondary hold up with new (and some) former backup players? Who would provide the pass rush? Could Joe Flacco get protection and deliver the ball as a marked man?

Some of the answers came in a dismal third quarter that quickly unraveled and slowly droned on until midnight, when the Ravens managed to turn a 17-14 halftime lead into a 35-17 hole that they couldn’t recover from vs. the Broncos.

John Harbaugh and his staff will be looking for answers for the next 10 days in preparation for a visit from the Cleveland Browns.

Some evaluations and more questions are now glaring:

Who will catch the ball effectively for Joe Flacco in 2013? Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley caught a few passes but it’s hard to envision any massive productivity from them on the offense. Torrey Smith and Ray Rice will be utilized plenty but the some of the elder statemen are role players now playing a larger role than Ozzie Newsome would’ve liked, especially this early in the season.

The tight end position appears ready to haunt the Ravens without Pitta. Ed Dickson dropped four passes. Who can Flacco trust? Can Marlon Brown really be a surprise difference maker in the offense? He did catch a garbage time touchdown after most of you went to bed.

What happens to the special teams game with Jacoby Jones out? He injured his knee. For a speed guy, that’s death. It will hamper the offense – and it was always a question how effective he’d be in that second wide receiver role anyway – but the loss in the return game is monumental for as long as he’s gone.

Will there be a pass rush? Terrell Suggs, Chris Canty and Elvis Dumervil chased Manning a bit in Denver but how will they fare vs. the field in the coming weeks?

What’s with all of the stupid penalties? Albert McClellan hitting guys out of bounds? Jimmy Smith hitting a guy late? Gino Gradkowski getting a flag away from the play for rough housing?

How will John Harbaugh use his red flag? He used the first one to dispute a five-yard gain successfully and then swallowed it on an obvious drop by Wes Welker that changed the game in the third quarter. After the game, he said he didn’t know there was any dispute on that play and said that NBC should show replays quicker.

Joe Flacco threw a couple of interceptions that are still making me scratch my head. If not for the stupidity of Danny Trevathan, the Broncos would have had another Pick Six on a ball he admitted he shouldn’t have thrown. Can the Ravens offense and Flacco clean this up?

Peyton Manning threw seven touchdowns vs. the Ravens defense. Do you blame the pass rush? Do you blame the secondary? Do you just tip your cap to the one of the greatest of all time? And what happened to the Corey Graham of 2012? He suddenly assumed the Champ Bailey role in Denver last night.

Are you looking for bright spots? Haloti Ngata looked healthy and strong in run defense. Terrell Suggs looks to be back at 100 percent. Chris Canty looked like he’ll be a nice player this year. Flacco, for the most part, wasn’t running for his life behind an offensive line that was mostly good enough to win.

But other than that? Not much to “rave” about in Denver.

And finally…how much do the Ravens miss Ray Lewis and Ed Reed right now?

Plenty, it appears…

 

 

 

 

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Ravens-Broncos: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Broncos: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 05 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Much has changed from when we last saw the Baltimore Ravens play a meaningful game.

Traveling to Denver to take on the Broncos in a divisional round matchup from last January, the Ravens will play their first regular-season game in franchise history without future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis being a member of the organization. Longtime safety Ed Reed is now with the Houston Texans and a number of other key components from the Super Bowl XLVII championship team have moved on.

Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and quarterback Joe Flacco remains at the helm and general manager Ozzie Newsome reloaded an aging and largely-ineffective defense from a year with savvy veterans and talented rookies alike, and the Ravens have 19 newcomers to their 53-man roster from the end of last season. The most notable among them is former Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who figures to provide an impressive bookend pass-rushing threat to Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs on the opposite edge.

There were no major surprises on the inactives list for either team as the Ravens had already ruled out defensive tackle Arthur Jones (undisclosed illness) and wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), and defensive tackle Brandon Williams (toe) were all listed as doubtful on the final injury report of the week. For Denver, the biggest names missing from this one are cornerback Champ Bailey, who is dealing with a foot injury, and suspended linebacker Von Miller.

As expected, Ravens tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) is active and will play after practicing fully all week and being listed as probable on the final injury report. Defensive end Pernell McPhee (knee) is also active after being limited in practice earlier in the week.

Rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette is inactive, meaning the Ravens will have four active receivers available Thursday night. Backup safeties Bryden Trawick and Anthony Levine are active, meaning each figures to play extensive special-teams roles.

Dealing with the sting of last year’s double-overtime loss to the Ravens, Denver figures to be motivated for revenge as these teams meet for the 10th time in the regular season. The Ravens hold a 5-4 edge and also enjoy a 2-0 advantage in postseason meetings.

Baltimore is also 5-0 in season openers under head coach John Harbaugh.

Walt Coleman and his crew will officiate the NFL’s season-opening game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

The Ravens will be wearing white jerseys with black pants while Denver will sport their orange home jerseys with white pants.

Here are Thursday night’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
DT Arthur Jones
DT Brandon Williams
WR Deonte Thompson
OL Ryan Jensen
WR Aaron Mellette
T Jah Reid
LB John Simon

DENVER
CB Champ Bailey
RB C.J. Anderson
TE Joel Dreessen
G Chris Kuper
CB Quentin Jammer
G John Moffitt
QB Zac Dysert

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the evening for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio brings live coverage from Denver.

 

 

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Ravens-Broncos: Five predictions for Thursday night

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Ravens-Broncos: Five predictions for Thursday night

Posted on 04 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

It was less than eight months ago when the Ravens met the Denver Broncos in one of the great contests in NFL playoff history as Baltimore prevailed in a 38-35 double-overtime thriller to advance to the AFC Championship game.

Now, fast-forward to the present as the Ravens return to the scene with a different look than includes 19 new players on the 53-man roster and the Broncos will see former Pro Bowl defensive end Elvis Dumervil wearing purple, creating plenty of intrigue for the NFL’s season-opening game.

It’s time to go on record as the Ravens meet Denver for the 10th time ever in the regular season and own a 5-4 advantage despite a 1-3 regular-season record in Denver. Of course, the Ravens are also 2-0 against the Broncos in postseason play as Denver stewed over its disappointing loss as the No. 1 seed in the AFC throughout the offseason.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens open their season in prime time for the third time in the last four seasons …

1. Much like last January, the Ravens will go vertical early on as Joe Flacco connects with Torrey Smith for a long touchdown in the first half. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell may need to rely more on the running game this season because of the uncertainty at wide receiver and tight end, but a conservative approach isn’t the way to beat Peyton Manning and an explosive Denver passing game. The Broncos will not have Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller due to his six-game suspension, meaning the offensive line should give Flacco plenty of time to throw deep. Some deep shots will also back up the Denver safeties, opening up some intermediate space for tight ends Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark and slot receiver Brandon Stokley to work. If Flacco can find success with those throws, it will only create more room in the box to get Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce going in the running game.

2. Daryl Smith will lead the Ravens in tackles in the first game of the post-Ray Lewis era. Dumervil’s signing received the most attention this offseason, but the presence of the 31-year-old Smith has been a welcome addition to an otherwise inexperienced group of inside linebackers that includes Josh Bynes and second-round pick Arthur Brown. For what it’s worth, Smith looked like the Ravens’ best defensive player of the preseason and while you wouldn’t expect that to hold true during the season, he had the reputation for being stout against the run and serving capably in pass coverage in his nine years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The additions of Smith and Brown will hopefully help the pass defense in the middle intermediate portion of the field, which has been a major weakness for several years now. Smith’s quiet demeanor and maturity might be the perfect fit for a guy assuming the position formerly held by the future Hall of Famer Lewis.

3. Manning will keep an improved Ravens defense on the field, causing the unit to wilt in the second half. Baltimore did an admirable job handling the altitude in a single-digit temperature last January, but Thursday’s forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-80s, presenting a different challenge in terms of conditioning. Even with the improvements to their front seven, the Ravens are still fielding a secondary with question marks ranging from the effectiveness of Lardarius Webb coming back from his second ACL surgery in four seasons to the ability of Michael Huff and James Ihedigbo to cover the middle of the field. Pressuring Manning will clearly be critical as it was last January, but the Broncos just have too much firepower to hold them down entirely. It will intriguing to see what kind of a rapport Manning has built with free-agent acquisition Wes Welker at this early stage, but the size of wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside will be a very difficult matchup.

4. Struggling to find open targets in the middle of the field, Flacco tosses a second-half interception to Broncos safety Rahim Moore. The most dynamic change that Caldwell brought to the offense when he assumed Cam Cameron’s coordinator duties last season was the willingness to use the middle of the field in the passing game, but continuing that without Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta in the mix will be the biggest challenge facing Flacco this season. The reality is no one really knows if the combination of Dickson, Stokley, and Clark will be enough to fill the void of two outstanding targets the sixth-year quarterback used in the middle of the field to the point that he could be bold in throwing passes up for grabs. In contrast, Moore has heard the criticism and jokes throughout the offseason about his gaffe of allowing Jones to get behind him on the game-tying score at the end of regulation last January. Trailing late in the game, Flacco will try to force a pass down the seam to Dickson that’s picked off by Moore, which gives the maligned safety a tiny sliver of revenge.

5. The Ravens will compete ferociously, but an incomplete offense will be the deciding factor in handing John Harbaugh the first Week 1 loss of his tenure in a 24-21 final. Baltimore is a good football team, but trying to figure out how good is anyone’s guess with so many question marks offensively and new pieces defensively. It’s a lot to ask that all to come together against such a formidable opponent in the opening game of the season. The Ravens undoubtedly feel motivated to perform well on a national stage as the defending Super Bowl champions who were also forced to open the season on the road, but the Broncos and their fans have thought about this opportunity for the entire offseason and will treat the game like it’s the Super Bowl. Not enough offense and a few too many leaks defensively against an elite opponent will lead to the Ravens coming up a little short. To beat a team like Denver, you’re often faced with a shootout and the Ravens aren’t built for that just yet.

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