The Baltimore Ravens will host the Denver Broncos and their top ranked passing attack this afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. With Denver's offense throwing for no less than 300 yards in each of their first four games, it will be the toughest test for Baltimore's patched up yet top ranked pass defense. Something will have to give today as the Ravens are allowing just a bit over 119 yards a game through the air as opposed to Denver's offense averaging close to three times that.
However, Denver has yet to face a defense that can shut down an opponent like the Ravens this season. Expected to be their weak link on defense due to their secondry injuries, the Ravens have actually played better in pass defense than they have against the run. That shouldn't be a problem Sunday, as the Broncos are ranked the poorest running team in the entire NFL.
If the Ravens can get the pass pressure on Broncos QB Kyle Orton, expect them to get the turnovers they haven't enjoyed so far this year, as Orton has been pressured and sacked a bunch so for in 2010. He has three picks to go along with his six TD passes, but that is not exactly productive for a guy that has thrown for over 1,400 yards in his first four games. The Broncos are 2-2 so far, tied with the San Diego Chargers and behind the surprisingly undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
(See more of this game preview and my pick of the score after the 'Jump')
The Ravens have had their inconsistencies on what was and still is expected to be a well balanced offense, but the Broncos are probably the weakest defensive unit the Ravens will have faced in their first five games. Without the services of starting running back Knowshon Moreno and sack specialist Elvis Dumervil on defense, the Broncos will be hard pressed to stick with the Ravens on both sides of the ball.
The Ravens plan to establish the run and then pass over and around Denver in their revamped passing attack. Broncos CB Champ Bailey is still one of the best in the league but even if he is able to limit or shut down WR Anquan Boldin, the Ravens have enough other options in Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Todd Heap and of course, Ray Rice out of the backfield.
That appears to just be way too much for the average Denver defense to compete with and as they only seem to be one-dimensional on offense, at some point the pressure will get to Orton and he should fall back to earth with a thud just as the Broncos did when they came here in 2009 undefeated at 6-0 and left with a 30-7 hurting on them, sending them on a losing skid that ended up with them missing out on the post season.
Expect this game to be similar as last year they had WR Brandon Marshall and still got pounded. The Ravens offense is better and their defense is looking just as good, as they are the top ranked unit not only against the pass, but overall as well. The Ravens finally win a game that doesn't have to wait until the final whistle to allow the fans to release their collective breaths, and put a good old fashioned "beat down" on the Broncos.