The Baltimore Ravens next opponent, the Denver Broncos, come into M&T Bank Stadium with the AFC West title already in hand based on a 10-3 record. The currently hold the #3 playoff seed ahead of the Ravens, who have yet to clinch either the AFC North, much less a playoff spot. However a Baltimore win gives the Ravens both if they can pull off what the odds-makers would be calling an upset (Broncos: -3).
Denver is on a roll, having won eight straight games since their week five loss to the New England Patriots. However, other than a victory over a then 6-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, the Broncos have not beaten a winning team during this streak. Two wins over the San Diego Chargers and other division wins over the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs equal half of the streak, and in addition to the Bucs win, they've beaten the New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers.
Earlier in the season they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, but lost to the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans. That Tampa Bay victory was their only win over a winning team this season, although they are 7-2 against common opponents with the Ravens (including two wins each over the Chargers and Raiders).
Perhaps that should give hope to the 9-4 Ravens , who despite two straight losses, have won15 of 16 home games since 2010, with that lone loss coming two weeks ago against the Steelers on the last play of the game. In fact, Baltimore has lost those last two games on the final play, both field goals, in games they should have won.
Until the Broncos can prove they can beat a team leading their own division, there is every reason to believe the Ravens have a good chance to finally beat a Peyton Manning-led team. The Broncos are coming off of a 26-13 win over the Raider on Thursday Night Football last week, so in essence, they will have had a ten-day break between games.
The Ravens got blasted by the Houston Texans but beat the Patriots, who beat the Broncos. This game could either be for the #2 or #3 playoff seed and would be a great rebound victory for Baltimore and stop their losing skid, in addition to give a renewed sense of hope for the post season.