In what could be a playoff preview, the Denver Broncos head to Baltimore to take on the Baltimore Ravens. Will the Ravens sudden change at Offensive Coordinator spark Baltimore struggling offense? Or will it do more bad than good?
QB: Joe Flacco
RB: Ray Rice
FB: Vonta Leach
TE: Dennis Pitta
Ravens Offensive Rankings:
Overall Offense: 18th
Pass Offense: 14th
Rush Offense: 17th
Scoring Offense: 10th
Denver Broncos Offensive Rankings:
Overall Offense: 4th
Pass Offense: 6th
Rush Offense: 20th
Scoring Offense: 2nd
Joe Flacco is having another average year. On the year Flacco has 3220 yards passing, 18 TD's and 9 Ints. Flacco is completing 60% of his passes and has a QB rating of 87.1. Flaccos 87.1 QB rating ranks him 15 out 36 QB's in the league. Personally i'm not a huge fan of Flacco, but he does do some good things. Flacco is at his best throwing deep. Look for him test the Broncos secondary often, especially in play action. The Broncos defense has faced similar QB's in the last few weeks. Freeman and Palmer all are good deep ball passers, and the Broncos defense shut them down. The Broncos defense has to get to Flacco too. Flacco has been sacked 31 times on the year which ranks up among tops in the league. I'm not too worried about Flacco, but i hope he doesn't make me eat my words Sunday.
Peyton has continued to be consistently awesome. On the year Manning has passed for 3812 yards, 30 TD's and 10 Ints. Manning is completing a league high 68.3% of his passes and has a lofty 104.0 QB rating. Manning is only .2% points back from Tom Brady and RG3 for league lead in passer rating. I don't understand how all that is calculated but it's nice seeing Manning among the leagues best. That 3-1 TD to Int ratio is pretty sweet too. Baltimores defense isn't the same defense we're all used too. Ray Lewis MIGHT play, but im not sure if he'll be 100%, and the defense was struggling when he was in there, and Terrell Suggs isn't 100% either. Baltimores secondary has been torched this year, so we'll see if Manning can pick them apart. This Baltimore D isn't getting sacks or causing turnovers, so i'm expecting Manning to have a big game
The Running Backs
The Broncos will be seeing one of the leagues best Sunday afternoon in Ray Rice. Rice on the year has 993 yards and 9 TDs on the ground, and is averaging 4.6 YPC. Rice is also a pretty dangerous pass catcher. Rice is second on the team with 52 catches for 424 yards. All together Rice has 1,417 yards from scrimmage. The Broncos defense has to limit Rice if they want to have success Sunday. If Rice gets going on the ground it will set up Flacco to use the play action and hit Torrey Smith deep. The Broncos do have the 6th best run stopping defense, so it will be a fun matchup to watch.
Holy Knowshon Moreno. Moreno looks like a completely new back. Moreno carried the ball 32 times last week and eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the first time since 2010 i believe. In the last 3 games Moreno has totaled 361 yards from scrimmage and is averaging 4.3 yards per touch. Moreno has been solid, and can have another big game this sunday against a struggling Ravens rush defense. Baltimore ranks 25 in the league in rush defense, so look for Denver to try to establish a run game early. Another positive thing about Moreno is that he hasn't turned the ball over since his return(I hope to god i don't jinx him). I'm looking for another 100+ day from scrimmage for Moreno.
The Receivers/Tight Ends:
Baltimore has one of the better deep threats in the league in Torrey Smith. Smith on the year has 43 catches for 752 yards and 7 TD's. He's Flaccos go to guy when he's going deep. I have faith in Champ and Harris to cover him well deep. Leading the team in receptions is the veteran Anquan Boldin. Boldin has 58 catches for 828 yards and 4 TDs. Jacoby Jones gets in on the action once awhile too. Jones has 23 catches for 312 yards and 1 TD. At Tight End is the dangerous Dennis Pitta. Denver has had issues covering Tight Ends, and Pitta is a good one. On the year Pitta has 50 catches for 448 yards and 5 TDs. I have faith in our secondary to cover these guys, but i am worried about Pitta. We need Woodyard, DJ and our safeties to do a good job on him.
Demaryius Thomas continues to be Peyton Mannings go to guy. On the year DT has 74 catches for 1197 yards and 8 TDs. I'm expecting a big day from DT, but lets hope he doesn't get dinged up. Eric Decker is having a solid year too. On the year Decker has 64 catches for 790 yards and 8 TDs. Veteran Brandon Stokley who has been dinged up the last few weeks has 36 catches for 449 yards and 5 TDs. At Tight End Jacob Tamme leads the way. On the year Tamme has 49 catches for 473 yards and 2 TDs. Fellow Tight End Joel Dreessen has 34 catches for 283 yards and 5 TDs. Manning continues to find the open guy among these guys and keep the chains moving. A healthy Stokley could be a welcomed addition to this pass offense, especially on 3rd downs.
Baltimores offensive line ranks 18th in the league. The Ravens OL has allowed 31 sacks and 53 QB hits. Look for Von and company to add onto their sack totals Sunday afternoon. Behind the Ravens OL, baltimore runners have averaged 4.2 YPC. If Marshal Yanda cannot go, it will be a big loss for Baltimore.
The Broncos offensive line ranks 3rd in the NFL. Clady and company have only allowed 19 sacks and a league low 38 QB hits. Ryan Clady is really earning his contract. Behind Denver Bronco blockers, Broncos runners have averaged 3.8 YPC. I'd like to see that number increase to above 4.