Now that things have settled down a bit after the draft, let’s get back to looking ahead at the Broncos 2012 schedule. We will continue to take a game-by-game look at the season that the team has in front of them.
The Broncos hit the road for the third time in four weeks to take on a very talented Baltimore Ravens team in week 15. The Ravens will be coming off of a game at Washington.
The Ravens went 12-4 last season and advanced all the way to the AFC Championship. They should have nailed a game-tying field goal against New England to advance to the Super Bowl, but Billy Cundiff shanked a 32-yard try with 11 seconds remaining.
The last time the Broncos and Ravens met was in 2009. The Broncos were 6-0 at that point and then they got hit hard with a 30-7 loss that was the catalyst to their downward season. From there, the team lost eight of the next ten.
It’s easy to see why the Ravens were a kick away from the Super Bowl last season. They ranked 12th in points (23.6 per game), 10th in rushing, and 19th in passing. Their bread and butter, however, was their defense. They were 3rd in points allowed (16.6 per game), 2nd in rush defense, and 4th in pass defense. They were also 1st in forced fumbles and 3rd in sacks.
Free agency wise, the Ravens picked up a great third option receiver in Jacoby Jones. They also signed former Broncos DT Ryan McBean. Starting guard Ben Grubbs and linebacker Jarrett Johnson left the team in free agency.
The draft saw the Ravens select outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw with their first pick in the second round. He should be an immediate contributor in their 3-4.
The big hit on defense came when team-leading sack man Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles last week. He speculates that he will be ready to play in 4-6 months.
Early Prediction: Ravens – 21 Broncos – 17. Peyton Manning is known as the Baltimore killer, but the Ravens get the best of him this time around.
Ravens Leaders in 2011:
Joe Flacco – 312-for-542 (57.8%), 3,610 passing yards, 20 TDs, 12 INTs, 6 fumbles
Ray Rice – 1,364 yards (85.3 yards per game), 12 TDs, 2 fumbles
Anquan Boldin – 57 receptions, 887 yards, 3 TDs
Ray Lewis – 95 tackles
Lardarius Webb – 5 INTs
Terrell Suggs – 14 sacks