It’s no secret that many in Broncos Country expected a 3-0 start in Denver. With the Giants, Jaguars and Jets out of the way, the Denver Broncos will turn their attention to a Baltimore Ravens team that is counted among the elite of the AFC.
As one of the final unbeaten teams in the league, it feels good to be in Broncos Country. We haven’t had this feeling in a few seasons. We can certainly take some time to enjoy being able to watch good football. The Broncos provided a great start, but now the real football begins.
The Ravens are a team that goes into every game well prepared because they have one of the best coaching staffs in the NFL. As I mentioned to Ian St. Clair on the MHR Radio Podcast, John Harbaugh has his team prepared each week.
The Ravens are a good team, but they are not unbeatable. They have been in three very close games, and it took a record breaking 66-yard field goal from Justin Tucker as time expired in Detroit for them to beat the Lions.
Still, they beat the Chiefs and took the Raiders into overtime in their trip through the AFC West. They will ask a lot of questions of the Broncos in all three phases of the game.
Can the Broncos stop the Ravens running attack. They run the ball. Then they run the ball. Then they run the ball again. They have a pretty clear strategy on offense, and they will force Vic Fangio to prepare his defense to stop the run.
They also bring the unpredictability of Lamar Jackson. Fangio likened him to Barry Sanders. He took a little heat for that comment, but the comparison is not wrong. No, Jackson shouldn’t be a running back. However, there are few players in the NFL as dynamic as he is with the ball in his hand on the run.
And his arm will test the Broncos secondary. The wideouts for Baltimore may be less than stellar, but Mark Andrews is a huge weapon. The test for the Broncos will be containing Jackson, and stopping the running attack. That will make the secondary’s job that much easier.
On offense, Teddy Bridgewater will need to continue his hot start. The Broncos have been able to move the ball, limited mistakes in the first three weeks, and put points on the board. Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams have been good, but how will they fair against the Ravens defensive line?
Steady Teddy has to keep the Broncos offense on track. Protect the football, and limit mistakes, and the offense should be able to control the clock and the tempo of the game. As long as they don’t have a ton of penalties (I’m looking at you Noah Fant), they should be able to put enough points on the board.
The wild card will be the special teams play. The Ravens have reliable special teams play. The Broncos? Not so much. They haven’t been terrible, but they cannot put the rest of the team behind the proverbial 8-ball.
If nothing else, it will be fun to see how well this Broncos team measures up against one of the AFC’s Super Bowl favorites.