Broncos vs. Ravens: Five most critical players for Denver

5 of 5

Dec 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson (97) reacts after making a sack in the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

5. Malik Jackson

With the suspension of Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson becomes the Broncos’ most valuable — and best — defensive lineman. He’s not been a full-time ‘starter’ in his career with the Broncos, but he’s being shoved into a much bigger role this year and should flourish in Wade Phillips’ scheme.

With Wolfe out, the run defense becomes suspect on his side of the field, but the Broncos have players who can replace him in the interim. Jackson has proven efficient with the snaps he’s been given, but can he handle as big of a workload as the coaches will ask from him?

That will be something to monitor in this game as one of the Broncos’ most disruptive players gets out on the field far more than we’ve seen thus far in his career.

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