The Denver Broncos defeated the Baltimore Ravens 34-17 in Week 15 in the last meeting. Baltimore won the only postseason contest between the clubs, a 21-3 Wild Card victory on New Years Eve in 2000 during the Ravens’ Super Bowl season. Of course things are different this time around.
Brandon Stokley was a Raven, Ray Lewis was in his 5th year and Jack Del Rio was coaching the Linebackers for Baltimore. Champ Bailey was in his 2nd year and 1st as an All-Pro for the Redskins, Keith Brooking was in his 4th year and 1st as an All-Pro for the Falcons and Peyton Manning was in his 3rd season and 2nd as an All-Pro with the Indianapolis Colts. Every other player on both rosters were children and at best, dreaming of being one of the aforementioned players while in their Pop Warner uniforms.
BROADCAST: CBS will air the game Nationally at 2:30 PM MT. Greg Gumbel will be doing the play by play and Dan Dierdorf will be lisping his way through the color commentary. The Over/Under on his use of the word "Debacle" is 2. Solomon Wilcots will be reporting from the field.
WEATHER: The forecast is calling for a slight chance of Snow on Saturday with a temperature range from 4 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Ah yes, football weather.
ODDS: The Wise Guys have the line set at 9.5 favoring the Broncos and the Over/Under is 46 after opening at 9 and 45.
RAVENS: Baltimore is 7-5 (.583) all-time on the road in the postseason. They have won one postseason game for the 5th consecutive season. The Ravens captured the AFC North title for the 2nd straight year. Since 2000, Baltimore has a 6-3 record vs. Denver (including postseason).
QB Joe Flacco is the 1st Quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win a postseason game in each of his first 5 seasons. He posted a 125.6 passer rating last week, the highest postseason passer rating by a Ravens QB in a single-game. In the past 3 postseason games, Flacco is 2-1 and has 6 TDs vs. 1 INT with a 104 passer rating. He has a 6-4 postseason record, including 2 AFC Championship appearances. Joe had a career-best 3,817 passing yards in 2012, 2nd-most in a season by a Raven. Including the postseason, Baltimore is 30-3 (.909) when Flacco has a 100+ passer rating.
RB Ray Rice has averaged 102.7 scrimmage yards in 3 career regular-season games vs. Denver. He had 117 scrimmage yards last week (70 rush, 47 receiving) in the Wildcard game against Indy. Rice (1,621) reached 1,600 scrimmage yards for the 4th consecutive season and led all AFC Running Backs with 61 catches in 2012.
Rookie RB Bernard Pierce rushed for 103 yards on 13 attempts (7.9 avg.) last week in his 1st career postseason game.
WR Torrey Smith has a 20.3 yards per catch average in 3 career postseason games (6 receptions, 122 yards). Smith had career bests in receiving yards (855) and Touchdowns (8) this year.
WR Anquan Boldin (145) posted most the receiving yards in a postseason game in Ravens history last week. Anquan’s 145 receiving yards in the 2nd-half were the most in 2nd-half yards in a playoff game since Hall Of Famer JERRY RICE (157 on 1/22/89). Boldin has 35 receptions for 571 yards (16.3 avg.) with 4 TDs for his career in the postseason..
TE Dennis Pitta has a Touchdown catch in each of his past 2 playoff games. Pitta (7) tied Todd Heap (7 in ’05) for most TD receptions by a Tight End in franchise history this season.
LB Ray Lewis has played in 18 career postseason games (11-7, .611). Lewis had an Interception in his only postseason meeting vs. Denver.
S Ed Reed has 8 career postseason Interceptions, tied for the 4th-most in NFL history.
S Bernard Pollard had a team-high 98 Tackles in 2012.
LB Terrell Suggs has 10 career postseason Sacks, tied for 7th-most all-time.
LB Paul Kruger had a playoff-best 2.5 Sacks last week.
DT Haloti Ngata has registered at least 5 Sacks for the 3rd season in row.
CB Cary Williams got his 1st career postseason Interception last week.
KR-WR Jacoby Jones is ranked 1st in the NFL with a 30.7 Kick Return average this year. He tied the league mark with 3 Return Touchdowns (2 KO, 1 PR) this season.
The Ravens had 6 players selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl (KR Jones, FB Vonta Leach, DT Ngata, S Reed, RB Rice and G Marshal Yanda).
BRONCOS: Have 13-3 (.813) postseason record at home. They won the AFC West for the 12th time and 1st time in back-to-back years since 1986-1987. Denver has an 11 games winning streak, the longest in the NFL in 2012. The Broncos became the 6th team since 1970 to finish a season with 11+ consecutive victories. Denver is 8-4 (.667) all-time in Divisional Playoff Games.
QB Peyton Manning (5,389) has the 3rd-most career postseason passing yards in NFL history. For his career, Manning is 9-2 vs. Ravens, including a 2-0 record in postseason play. Peyton reached the 4,000 passing yards (4,659) mark this season, extending his NFL record to 12 career 4,000-yard seasons. He has passed for at least 3,000 yards in 14 seasons, surpassing Hall Of Famer DAN MARINO (13) for the 2nd-most such seasons in NFL history (BRETT FAVRE, 18).
Manning set single-season franchise bests in passing yards (4,659), TD passes (37) and passer rating (105.8) this season. Peyton’s 37 Touchdown passes and 105.8 passer rating led the AFC in 2012.
RB Knowshon Moreno is averaging 110.8 scrimmage yards per game in his past 6 starts. Moreno rushed for 115 yards on 21 carries (5.5 average) with 1 Touchdown in the last meeting against Baltimore.
WR Demaryius Thomas set a franchise postseason record with 204 receiving yards and became the 7th player in NFL history to reach 200 receiving yards in a playoff game during last years playoff game vs. Pittsburgh. In 2012, Thomas (1,434) joined Rod Smith (1,602 in 2000) and Brandon Lloyd (1,448 in 2010) as the only Broncos to reach 1,400 rec. yards in a season.
WR Eric Decker had 8 catches for 133 yards, including a 51-yard Touchdown reception in the last game vs. Baltimore. Decker led the AFC and ranked 2nd in the NFL with 13 TD receptions and posted 1,064 receiving yards. Thomas & Decker are 1st Broncos duo to register 1,000+ receiving yards and 10+ TD catches in season.
DE Elvis Dumervil (11) reached 10+ Sacks for 3rd time in career.
LB Von Miller (18.5) registered the most Sacks by a Bronco in a single season since 1982.
CB Champ Bailey has 2 career postseason Interceptions, including a 100-yard Interception-Touchdown return in 2006 vs. New England. That tied for the 2nd-longest return in postseason history.
CB Chris Harris jr. had 98-yard INT-return Touchdown in the last meeting with the Ravens.
CB Tracy Porter has 2 career postseason INTs, including a 74-yard INT-return TD.
The Broncos had 5 players selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl (CB Bailey, T Ryan Clady, DE Dumervil, QB Manning and LB Miller).
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