Good Morning, Broncos fans. As TJ noted last night, several factors are making today's showdown in Baltimore appear to be a lopsided one in Denver's favor.
The more valuable Terrell Suggs (who just married the woman whom he allegedly dragged alongside his car at a high speed recently) will play today, but Ray Lewis - the importance of whose leadership has not deteriorated along with his physical skills - will not play.
Fellow starting inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is questionable, and if he does not play, the Ravens will have Josh Bynes wear the defensive headset in what would be his first NFL start.
Not everything is leaning Denver's way, however.
Wesley Woodyard says he'll play, but Chris Kuper is apparently a game-time decision. And, nothing cures an ailing pass rush like having Manny Ramirez starting at right guard in Kuper's place, and that's compounded by the return of Suggs, the reigning NFL Defensive POY.
There's also the matter of the weather, as it could turn out to be a rainy day in Baltimore.
If so, Peyton Manning may end up wearing an unfamiliar glove on his throwing hand, and if rainy weather and a potentially sloppy field would appear to benefit one team over the other, we'll say that's the Ravens.
That said, Accuweather currently predicts that rain won't arrive in the area until 5pm, after the game will have already concluded.
For us, this all still adds up to a relatively comfortable win for Denver in Baltimore - their first since John Elway made his second NFL start, against the team and town he'd spurned.
Andrew Mason expects the Ravens to utilize the no-huddle so they can catch Keith Brooking off the field and run Ray Rice at Denver's nickel linebackers, points out that Manning and John Fox have a poor track record following first-round byes, and predicts a four-point win for the Broncos.
Throughout their season spent on the inactive list, wide receivers Andre Caldwell and (practice-squad player) Greg Orton hold up the Denver stories of Rod Smith and Brandon Lloyd as inspiration for what they can someday achieve.
Trindon Holliday, who has never lost a game in his NFL career (must be his intangibles, amirite?), says that although his track-and-field exploits had center stage in his younger days, he always wanted to be a football player.
Joe Collier is impressed by the job done by Jack Del Rio and hopes the DC will stick around beyond this season, while Karl Mecklenburg and Randy Gradishar see plenty to love about Von Miller.
The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec agrees with Legwold and says Denver's squad holds most of the edges, and he predicts a seven-point win for the visitors.
Matt Vensel sees only one real advantage for the Ravens today - the interplay of Baltimore's stout red-zone defense and Denver's recent struggles.
Washington will start Kirk Cousins over the injured RG3 today in Cleveland; the Chiefs placed WR Dwayne Bowe on IR with broken ribs, potentially ending his KC career; New Orleans shelved S Malcolm Jenkins and lineman Charles Brown.
Jermichael Finley, who has been at times during his career a devastating weapon for the Packers, has so drastically worn out his welcome in Green Bay that the team plans to trade or cut him after the season. Just ten months ago, they signed Finley to a two-year deal worth $14M, although getting rid of him will apparently have hardly any cap implications. (via NFL.com)
As Los Angeles inches closer to attracting an existing NFL team to move into town, Matt Calkins says none of the speculation about a potential Chargers relocation has come from within the organization. It's more history and speculation than new news, but Calkins seems to think the Rams and Raiders are likelier to make an LA return than are the Bolts.
While Dez Bryant receives praise for his toughness in playing through a serious finger injury, Matt Bowen reminds us that every NFL player is in rough shape at this juncture.
Ron Rivera tells Dan Pompei that Cam Newton's vast in-season improvement has been about better reads, decision-making, mechanics, and a realization he can't do it all on his own.
Fifty years ago next week, the AFL's eventual merger with the NFL became an inevitability as millions tuned in to watch the Texans knock off the Oilers in the league's title game.
Today's trivia from Chase Stuart covers league MVPs who later went on to win Comeback POY awards, a feat Peyton Manning may pull off this season.