We are just one day away from the 2013 NFL Regular Season getting underway with the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Denver Broncos Thursday Night in the NFL Opening Night kickoff game. In what promises to be one heck of a matchup between two AFC powerhouses, and oh not to mention a rematch of last season's AFC Divisional round playoff game, the NFL has picked a doozie to open the season with.
Today we are going to preview the game, before giving you our five key matchups to watch for in the game tomorrow, which has become a staple for us here at Ravens101.
If there was ever an early season game that was going to have a playoff like atmosphere, it is the opening night game to start the NFL regular season. Both Baltimore and Denver will be looking to get 2013 started on the right track, and both teams feel they have something to prove.
Denver comes into the game as one of the favorites in the AFC and will be looking to hoist their first Lombardi Trophy without John Elway as the quarterback. The Broncos will have one of the most potent offenses in football with the addition of WR Wes Welker, to an already stacked wide receiver core, as well as the rookie running back Monte Ball.
The big question mark for the Broncos will be their defense, especially early in the season. They have already lost LB Von Miller for the first six games due to being suspended by the NFL for violating their substance abuse policy. In addition to being without Miller, Denver is anxiously awaiting the status of CB Champ Bailey who has been dealing with a sprained foot and it is unclear whether or not he will be able to go tomorrow night. Even if Bailey plays, everyone, especially Denver and Baltimore remember how Torrey Smith torched Bailey in the playoffs last season, so Bailey performance, if he plays, will certainly be under a microscope.
Baltimore comes into the 2013 season with a revamped defense and a lot of question marks on offense. One of the major weaknesses of the 2012 Ravens defense was being able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks on a consistent basis. In 2013, this should be one of the strong points of Baltimore's defense with the multitude of acquisitions the Ravens made this offseason. Opposing offenses, and quarterbacks especially, will be starting at a front seven with Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil on the outside, with a healthy Chris Canty and Haloti Ngata on the inside. Even more important is the extreme amount of depth the Ravens have in their front seven which will allow a solid rotation of players in and out that will enable guys like Ngata some extra rest and keep everyone more healthy and fresh.
Onto the question marks, which of course is the offensive side of the ball for the Ravens, which is odd to say when a team has the reigning Super Bowl MVP and one of the best running backs in the NFL, but Baltimore, with the exception of Smith, has no proven commodities in the receiving game. Smith and Jacoby Jones provide quarterback Joe Flacco with fantastic deep threats, but it will need to be proven that guys such as Brandon Stokley, Marlon Brown and Dallas Clark can be that go to receiver over the middle of the field and move the chains. Both Stokley and Clark have been that in their pasts, but they are older, more seasoned veterans now, so that will be one thing to watch in this game.
Now going into their first full season with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who took over for the fired Cam Cameron late in the season last year, the Ravens offense will look much different than it did in the first game of the 2012 season. We saw that Caldwell was much more willing to throw the ball in the middle of the field, but again that is a question mark this season without the likes of Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, who seemed to be Flacco's go to guys in those situations. Caldwell has hinted this week that there are a few new wrinkles to the Ravens offense, and we expect one of those to be the use of fourth round draft pick Kyle Juszczyk. Out of Harvard, Juszczyk is football's version of the hybrid as we have seen him lineup in the backfield, as a tight end and split out wide. His ability to provide Flacco with another option in the passing game will be a huge influence on this offense's production.
It is going to be an exciting day tomorrow, c'mon, it's Opening Night of football!! Plus we finally get to see the Ravens on the first night of the season and oh by the way, they are the defending Super Bowl Champions!
Be sure to "like" our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BaltimoreRavens101
Add us on Google+ Ravens101
Follow us on Twitter for live in game updates and all Ravens breaking news @BaltRavens101
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Joe Flacco Banners and Posters in Denver? NFL Promoting Opening Night
- Preseason Week 3 Preview: Baltimore Ravens VS Carolina Panthers
- Baltimore Ravens 2013 Season Preview: Part Two – Defense
- Baltimore Ravens Preseason Opener Against Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview
- Baltimore Ravens 2013 Season Preview: Part One – Offense
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/107k