FanPost

Keys to winning at Baltimore

Denver is going into this Sunday 2-2.  We should be 3-1-Denver should not have lost at Jacksonville.  But, we did.  Now we play the Ravens who have a very good team.  I remember last year at Baltimore the first offensive play for Denver, Orton was sacked (hard) off the right side.  I am not sure by who but it seemed to set the tempo for the rest of the game.  So how does Denver win on Sunday?


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I believe that there are six keys to winning this game.

(1)    PASS PROTECTION-Denver has become a passing team and thus far Orton has been carrying this team with his arm.  Orton has become a top rated passer and if he can stay healthy should make the pro-bowl.  I don’t think that Baltimore has the personnel to take away the pass but, if they can pressure Orton and force mistakes we will lose this game.  Meaning pass protection is a must to give Orton time to find the open receiver.  I remember the first offensive play for Denver last year Orton was sacked I believe by an OLB.  From that point on Denver seemed out of synch.  If the line can protect Orton with minimal personnel and allow us to go 3-4 wide Denver will be looking good. 

(2)    ESTABLISH THE RUNNING GAME- Even though Orton has become a damn good QB I still believe to win in the NFL you have to be able to run.  I don’t think we can run against Baltimore like Cleveland did but we have to have a running game to at least keep Baltimore honest.  Moreno is out again (yikes) which means that Maroney has to step up and show why he was picked in the first round. Furthermore, because Baltimore can bring the wood I think we may see Andre Brown getting some carries, which I would like to see anyway.

(3)    STOP RAY RICE-Rice is the type of running back that can hurt you running or catching the ball.  Though he is off to a slow start I am hoping that he does not have his “breakout” game against Denver.  Against Tennessee Denver stopped Chris Johnson.  Denver now faces another top five RB and must do it again.  If Denver can stop Rice and force Flacco to pass I am hoping that Baltimore will be playing into Denver’s strength-our passing defense.

(4)    GOODMAN AND COX and PLAYING STRONG AGAINST THE #2 and #3 RECEIVER-Flacco’s targets are Boldin, Mason, Heap and starting last week Housh.  Boldin (27/355/3) leads the team in yards, TD’s, reception and targets.  He is their #1 WR and will undoubtedly draw Champ.  At age 36 Mason (13/162/1) can still play but has lost a step.  However, last week he proved he can still play by catching 6 passes for 80 yards.  If Goodman is up to the task-if he is at or near 100% he can prevent Mason from being a factor in the game.  With both Champ and Goodman playing I am thinking that Cox would then draw Housh (5/80/1) when Baltimore goes with 3 WR’s.  Youth against experience-though he hasn’t been a big part of the offense to date Housh can still be dangerous.  I am not sure if this is because he and Flacco are not on the same page YET or because of declining skills.  But Baltimore picked him up for a reason.  Heap (17/188/0) when healthy is an underrated TE, IMO.  He is not that good of a blocking TE but he can get vertical and is second in receptions.  Our LB’s have to cover Heap to prevent another Jacksonville debacle.     

(5)    PASS RUSH-Where has our pass rush gone?  Was Doom that good of a player?  Can no one else step up?  Denver has 4 sacks in four games.  We need to do better.  The lack of a pass rush allows the opposing WR’s time to get open. Our DB’s are good but don’t put them in that position-PRESSURE THE QB!  Some readers here at MHR will argue that QB hits and hurries are better than sacks but I think they are wrong.  A QB hit or hurries still allows for a play to result in a positive gain while a sack doesn’t.  I like seeing the opposing QB get hit and taken down.     

(6)    SPECIAL TEAMS-For Denver to win our Special Teams have to play a perfect game.  Baltimore can and will score but we have to make them play the full length of the field to do so.  We can’t give Flacco a short field because of poor coverage on punts or kick offs.  On the other hand if we can give our offense a short field this will big plus for us.

This is a winnable game for Denver.  Other than the running game and the occasional goof on ST (I am chalking up the Indy loss to the inexperience of Cox) Denver has been playing good football.  Our passing game has been unstoppable while the passing defense for Baltimore though highly ranked is still suspect.  To date they haven’t played against a true passing offense with this many weapons or quality a QB.  Surprisingly, Baltimore’s run defense is ranked middle of the pack but I am assuming that is because they have played against good power running teams.  Yes, I know we shouldn’t have traded Hillis but Cleveland O-line deserves credit too and that argument is for another time.  No doubt about it this will be a hard fought game.  If Denver can beat Baltimore the Broncos will be 3-2 and come home to face another test-the Jets.  The next two games are critical for Denver.  If Denver can start division play (week 7) at 4-2 or 3-3, Denver will be in position to compete for the AFC-WEST.  Denver is making strides and I am happy for the direction this team is headed.  As long as the Broncos get and stay healthy and continue to play smart and tough football 2010 will bring some smiles to Bronco fans.  GO BRONCOS!!!!!!   

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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