This comes in as one of the lesser intriguing games since both home teams in the AFC come in as heavy favorites and everybody is picking both New England and Denver in non-dramatic fashion.
Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco is about as much of a lopsided contest as you may see in NFL postseason history. The Ravens are a team that has been here a lot, having lost in the AFC title a few times in recent memory.
The Broncos were in the divisional round last year and were destroyed by New England, but Peyton is quite the upgrade over Tim Tebow and it is fair to say this team has improved quite a bit as well.
Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are one of the finest duo’s in the NFL, and they alone will be enough for the Ravens secondary to worry about. Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard are a pair of hard-hitting studs, but the corners have not been great due to a lack of depth and talent.
Brandon Stokley, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dresseen have been respectable as well, which means the Ravens better find a way to put up some points themselves.
Ray Rice had two costly fumbles last week and lost time to a solid back in rookie Bernard Pierce, so look for the Ravens to attempt to eat the clock away if possible. Rice is a major threat out of the backfield as a receiver whereas Pierce can really tote it north to south once he picks up steam.
Protecting Flacco and keeping him clean in the pocket will not be easy though, and the crowd noise could play a factor for a quarterback that has struggled at times in hostile environments.
Willis McGahee is not eligible to come back until next weekend, but the Broncos can counter with a solid rushing attack of their own led by Knowshon Moreno.
While Torrey Smith has not been a major factor in the last month or so, Anquan Boldin has stepped his game and should draw some interest of concern from Champ Bailey.
Indianapolis did not have issues moving the ball, but they failed miserably at getting it into the end zone. While the Colts lacked the true game-breakers, Denver has more than enough ammo to make the Ravens pay.
Home field advantage is also a deciding factor in this one, and the stars are aligned for Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to rock Flacco’s world early and often.
Take Denver, and bank on double-digit victory if Manning is pinpoint like he has been all season long.
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Experts Pick: DEN by 9.5
Danny V’s Pick: Broncos 31, Ravens 20
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