This Ravens versus Broncos matchup is a polarizing one indeed. It's a tough pick, and one that could ruin a lot of pick'em brackets this week. While most of the mainstream media is forecasting the Broncos to take the win in Week 1, six of the eight Beatdown staff members beg to differ with that. Here are our predictions for tomorrow's game, and we also have an opportunity for you to let your prediction be heard too.
Me, Editor: I've got the Broncos winning this one, unfortunately. Sorry, but I'm a realist. While it will be a long, drawn-out battle, I think that Peyton can pull this one off, and that the Ravens offense may fall a little flat against what is actually a really good Broncos defense. However, I think that the Ravens will go on a little bit of a rampage in the following weeks.
For more context on why I am picking the Broncos, read my game preview.
Final Score: Broncos 31 - Ravens 21
Brian Malan, Moderator: Trestman starts out the gate with a short passing attack to our TE's and a spread running game on the outside. Baltimore gets up early, but Denver ties it at half. Peyton and the offensive line get harassed all night, forcing Peyton into a Will Hill pick 6 in the 3rd quarter. Baltimore gains momentum off that and has two more scoring drives eating up 13+ minutes of the 2nd half. Defense locks it down late. Flacco finishes with 2 TDs, 0 ints and 245 yards. Crockett and Aiken hall in the TDs. Buck Allen adds a goal line TD. Defense has 4 sacks and 2 turnovers. Tucker boots a 50-yarder late in the 4th.
Final Score: Ravens 27 - Broncos 17
Yitzi Weiss, Editor: The Ravens defense shuts down the run early, and Peyton has limited success with the Ravens getting pressure much of the time. However, the Ravens cannot get consistent drives going, with Forsett finding some room and scoring the only touchdown. 10-3 Ravens at the half. In the second half, Flacco gets going a little, Peyton tries to force it too much and the Ravens record a takeaway.
Defense 3 sacks, 1 takeaway, 1 touchdown
Joe 230 yards, 1 touchdown, Forsett over 100 yds and 1 touchdown, Crockett scores the only receiving TD.
Final Score: Ravens 30 - Broncos 17
Kyle Barber, Editor: Denver is too good week 1. Baltimore attempts to establish the run but Von Miller & Co have other plans. Ravens fizzle the first few series. Good news the weak tackles from both sides of Denver's line are getting beat up. Denver hits back to back field goals from interior running as the guard combo of Vasquez & Mathis force feed the Ravens a few first downs. Mosley stops them on two third downs to force the kicks. Ravens then go for passing utilizing Gillmore & Williams. More success follows and Ravens score. A back and forth defensive effort by both teams, but Manning vs. Ravens in regular season is not pretty.
Final Score: Broncos 20 - Ravens 17
Chuck Mills, Author: Emmanuel Sanders provides most of the Broncos receiving yards as Jimmy will be shutting down Demaryius Thomas and the Ravens ILBs handle Owen Daniels. Sanders and C.J. Anderson have a TD reception. The defensive line pressures Peyton all day and holds the Broncos to below 100 yards. The Ravens only have 75 yards rushing, but Flacco throws TDs to Crockett Gillmore and Kamar Aiken. Justin Tucker wins the game with a field goal.
Final Score: Ravens 20 - Broncos 14
Zac Oakes, Author:
Justin Forsett has a rushing touchdown, while Steve Smith and Maxx Williams catch touchdown passes. Joe Flacco goes for 225 through the air. Suggs and Dumervil make life miserable for Denver's offensive tackles, consistently applying pressure and forcing Peyton into at least one interception. Justin Tucker kicks two field goals, including one with less than 3 minutes to go to seal the victory for the Ravens.
Final Score: Ravens 27 - Broncos 24
Ben Rosen, Author: I believe this is the year where Peyton Manning starts to act like a 39 year old quarterback and not like a first ballot Hall of Famer. Yes, our offensive guru Gary Kubiak is now coaching that team (which - I know - sounds scary) but keep in mind that he's the head coach, he's not in charge of the offense like he was in Baltimore. I don't expect great results when one of Kubiak's protegés has to effectively install a new offense that forces Peyton freaking Manning to change what he's used to at this stage of his career. Gary is a great offensive mind, but I think this is more "Texans" Gary Kubiak and less "Baltimore" Gary Kubiak. As for the Ravens, we have one of the best defensive lines in football, a pissed off WR in his last NFL season, a skilled TE that has flown under the radar, and one of the best offensive lines in the game. I expect us to shock the world on Sunday.
Final Score: Ravens 31 - Broncos 24
Matthew Stevens, Managing Editor: I think the ravens dominate from the opening kickoff through to the final whistle. By getting after Peyton Manning, they force him into throwing errant passes that the ravens can pick off. On offense, the ravens use passes to the running backs and tight ends to soften up a broncos defense that won't be able to get to flacco. Using play action, the ravens will beat them deep on a couple of plays, further extending their lead.
Final Score: Ravens 31 - Broncos 10
To recap, that's six out of eight of us picking the Ravens to emerge victorious. The average predicted score for the Ravens is 25.5, and we have the Broncos at 19.6 points. The Vegas spread is currently around four or five points, making our predictions closely in-line with the bookies in 'Sin City'.
Help us predict the game, thanks to our partners at The Crowd's Line. This cool tool shows us how the predictions of you and members of our sister blog, Mile High Report stack up.