The Baltimore Ravens Starting Defense.
NT: Ma'ake Kemoeatu
FS: Ed Reed
SS: Bernard Pollard
*Note: LB's Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs are both question marks heading into Sundays game. I expect Suggs to play though. ILB Jameel McClain has already been ruled out. McPhee hasn't practiced all week, and neither has Pollard. The Ravens defense is banged up.
Ravens Defensive Rankings:
Total Defense: 24th
Pass Defense: 23rd
Rush Defense: 24th
Scoring Defense: 10th
Broncos Defensive Rankings:
Total Defense: 4th
Pass Defense: 7th
Rush Defense: 6th
Scoring Defense: 4th
Anchoring Baltimores 3-4 DL is the massive Haloti Ngata. On the year Ngata has 46 tackles and 4 sacks. Ngata is a massive man and will require double teams more than likely. Pernell McPhee has 19 tackles and .5 sacks. In the middle is the massive Ma'ake Kemoeatu. Kemoeatu has 22 tackles on the year, and the equally massive Terrance Cody has 21 tackles. One thing Baltimore has going for them is size. Between Cody/Kemoeatu and Ngata that's a combined weight of nearly 700lbs. This group hasn't played too great though. Baltimore ranks 24th in run defense, so Denver may try to establish the run game early against these guys. Ngata concerns me, i don't want that man anywhere near Peyton.
Leading the way for the Broncos defensive line is Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil on the year has 46 tackles, 8 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Dumervil hasn't recorded a sack in a few weeks, but has been making his presence known. Rookie Derek Wolfe continues to have a solid rookie campaign. Wolfe on the year has 32 tackles and 3 sacks. In the middle, Justin Bannan leads the way with 38 tackles, while Big Vick, Kevin Vickerson has 35 tackles and 2 sacks. I expect to see alot of Robert Ayers this week. Ayers on the year has 13 tackles and 1 sack. This unit will need to win the battle in trenches if they want to contain the dangerous Ray Rice.
The Ravens are beat up at Linebacker. They may have Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs on the field this week, but neither is a guarantee to suit up Sunday. Jameel McClain who replaced Lewis in the lineup has already been ruled out, and their other starting ILB Dannell Ellerbe is banged up too. Leading this unit in tackles is Ellerbe with 81 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Ray Lewis is limited action racked up 57 tackles and 1 sack and Brendon Ayanbadejo has 25 tackles. On the edges Courtney Upshaw has 52 tackles and 1.5 sacks and Albert McClellan has 43 tackles. A guy to keep an eye on is Paul Kruger. Kruger has 8 sacks and 39 tackles. So look for them to bring Kruger after Manning often. I'm interested to see how this unit does with all the injuries.
Leading the way for the Broncos at Linebacker is Wesley Woodyard. Woodyard who missed last week will be a welcomed return to the Broncos defense. Woodyard on the year has 100 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 Ints, and 1 forced fumble. Stud pass rusher Von Miller has 57 tackles, 16 sacks, 1 Int and 6 forced fumbles. Keith Brooking continues to do a good job manning the the middle of the defense. On the year Brooking has 44 tackles and 1 forced fumble. DJ Williams has 11 tackles and rookie Danny Trevathan has 29 tackles and 1 sack. I really like this unit, lots of depth and talent. They need to have a big game sunday if they want to contain Ray Rice though.
Leading the unit in tackles is Bernard Pollard, Pollard has 98 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 Ints. The always dangerous Ed Reed has 49 tackles and 4 Ints. At corner the Ravens have Cary Williams who has 62 tackles, 1 sack and 4 Ints. Next to Williams is Corey Graham who has 62 tackles and 2 Ints. Manning can pick on this secondary. Ed Reed isn;t the same player he used to be, but still good. DT and Decker should have good games.
The Broncos secondary has been pretty good this year. Champ Bailey hauled in his 2nd Int of the year last week, and has 54 tackles on the year. One of my favorite players, Chris Harris continues to impress. Harris on the year has 50 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 2 Ints. Tony Carter has been solid as well. Carter has 25 tackles and 2 Ints. At safety Rahim Moore has been playing well for the most part. On the year Moore has 59 tackles and 1 Int, the veteran Mike Adams has 68 tackles and 1 sacks, and Jim Leonhard has 15 tackles and 2 Ints. Look for Flacco to attack deep, so the safeties have to make sure no one gets past them deep.