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Old 01-06-2013, 10:48 PM    (permalink
Eazy Picks
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Default Is there any way the Texans and Ravens can beat the Patriots and Broncos

Im struggling with this one. The general consensus is that neither team has a chance here, and that the Brady-Manning matchup is inevitable. Both teams are listed as overwhelming favorites at -10, which I feel like is way too high. The Packers were 9.5 favorites at home against the vikings, and we saw how one-sided that game was. I dont feel the gap b/w HOU-NE and DEN-BAL is nearly the same as GB-MIN.

Then again, these matchups have both happenned this year, and the Broncos blew out the Ravens in Baltimore, and the Patriots put a serious beating on the Texans. I think this has a lot to do with why the spreads are so high and people arent giving either team a chance. While I recognize the possibility that the Broncos and Patriots could win in blowout fashion, I would be surprised if thats how it went.

First, the Ravens-Broncos
I feel the Broncos defense is somewhat overrated. Yes, they have some great pieces. Von Miller is an elite player and one of the best pass-rushers, but I do think Michael Oher can hold his own against him. Dumervil is great, derek wolfe is a good rookie, Champ Bailey is still great. While they were a good run-defending team throughout the year if you look at the stats, I still feel like this is a defense susceptible to to a power running game. If you look at the Broncos, they are a very small team. Outside of Bailey, all their DBs are undersized, and they have smallish LBs as well. With Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, and Anquan Boldin, the Ravens have big targets in their passing game to move the chains with. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones both have good size and downfield speed, and could make some big plays downfield against a Bronco secondary that I believe is susceptible. Guys like Tony Carter and Chris Harris have made some big plays this year, but they are not really battle-tested in my mind. I dont think there is anyone on that roster that can match up with torrey smith (who was concussed in the BAL-DEN game this year).

And it could be tough to stop the Broncos offense, but I like the Ravens chances. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are better equipped than anyone in this game to play the chessmatch with Peyton Manning, and they will make sure the D keeps up with all the changes and formations and audibles. The Ravens D has been susceptible to the run, but with Willis McGahee out, the Broncos run attack isn't so strong, so they should be able to focus on stopping Peyton, who actually didnt have a great game against an undermanned Baltimore D earlier this year. It is a concern that the Ravens haven't been doing a great job rushing the passer and if they give Peyton too much time, he will burn them, but their pass-rush showed some signs of life this week. Kruger had a great game against Indy and could give RT orlando Franklin some problems. Suggs v Clady should be a great matchup.


OK, now the Texans-Pats

I saw the beatdown the Pats laid on em, but I think the Texans just didn't show up for that game. I think theyre very capable of winning this game, and they have a team that can win in the cold weather on the road. Schaub hasn't been playing great lately and wasn't very impressive in the Bengals game, but I think he could have a big game here. The Patriots pass-rush is decent, but I think the Texans' OL wins that matchup. The Patriots have been getting gashed in the passing game all year, and I think Schaub, Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels could be in for big games. New England did a good job against the rush this year, but stopping Arian Foster is no easy task. The Pats have the 9th ranked run D, the Bengals 12th, and the Bengals got ripped by Arian.

As far as defending the Pats, I think the Texans can shut down the Pats run game. The Pats were running the ball great earlier in the season, but became one dimensional down the stretch. Bolden is out for the year and Ridleys production has been declining. The Texans have a great run D, and should control the trenches. With Watt, Smith, Reed, and Barwin all healthy, the Texans may be able to generate enough pressure on Brady to throw off their passing game. Im wondering if they will put Joseph on Welker or Lloyd, Im guessing Lloyd, and let Kareem Jackson mark welker. The Patriots depth at WR is not great, which means they probably wont spread the Texans out a lot. I think whether or not they can match up with the TEs, and whether or not those TEs are 100% is what may dictate these games. This is where the Cushing injury becomes huge. He would have been great for matching up with Gronk and Hernandez. Danieal Manning and Glover Quinn need to bring their A game.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:03 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Eazy Picks View Post
First, the Ravens-Broncos
I feel the Broncos defense is somewhat overrated. Yes, they have some great pieces. Von Miller is an elite player and one of the best pass-rushers, but I do think Michael Oher can hold his own against him. Dumervil is great, derek wolfe is a good rookie, Champ Bailey is still great. While they were a good run-defending team throughout the year if you look at the stats, I still feel like this is a defense susceptible to to a power running game. If you look at the Broncos, they are a very small team. Outside of Bailey, all their DBs are undersized, and they have smallish LBs as well. With Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, and Anquan Boldin, the Ravens have big targets in their passing game to move the chains with. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones both have good size and downfield speed, and could make some big plays downfield against a Bronco secondary that I believe is susceptible. Guys like Tony Carter and Chris Harris have made some big plays this year, but they are not really battle-tested in my mind. I dont think there is anyone on that roster that can match up with torrey smith (who was concussed in the BAL-DEN game this year).

And it could be tough to stop the Broncos offense, but I like the Ravens chances. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are better equipped than anyone in this game to play the chessmatch with Peyton Manning, and they will make sure the D keeps up with all the changes and formations and audibles. The Ravens D has been susceptible to the run, but with Willis McGahee out, the Broncos run attack isn't so strong, so they should be able to focus on stopping Peyton, who actually didnt have a great game against an undermanned Baltimore D earlier this year. It is a concern that the Ravens haven't been doing a great job rushing the passer and if they give Peyton too much time, he will burn them, but their pass-rush showed some signs of life this week. Kruger had a great game against Indy and could give RT orlando Franklin some problems. Suggs v Clady should be a great matchup.
Yes, the Ravens have a chance, but you're kidding yourself if you think the Broncos defense is overrated. Half of their starters you just listed are good/great. Then you factor in a good LB Woodyard, who hardly ever gets mentioned, solid safeties, plus good CB depth, and then factor in the depth they have on the DL, and then DJ Williams is getting more acclimated to game time. I just have a hard time believing that all of a sudden the Ravens offense will click against the Broncos after it got wiped out hard, IN Baltimore by the way. That game was 31-3 at one point. The Ravens didn't get a first down until mid way through the second quarter.
You state without McGahee the Broncos running game isn't as strong, its still strong with Moreno and Hillman.
Will this be an easy game for the Broncos? No, but it will take an absolutely perfect game from the Ravens and the Broncos to slip up a couple plays for the Ravens to win IMO.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:13 AM    (permalink
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And saying the Broncos are going to have problems against a power running game.... please tell me where you get his from? because the last time the Ravens's "Power Running" game sure gave them fits...the only issue the broncos have had is covering TE's....
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:16 AM    (permalink
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The Texans and Ravens may not be favored, but it won't take a miracle for them to win in the divisional round.

Ravens have a better chance to beat the Broncos than the Texans have to beat the Pats IMO.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:23 AM    (permalink
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Bolden isn't out for the year, he was serving a 4-game suspension for PED's. He was back last week.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:39 AM    (permalink
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I saw the beatdown the Pats laid on em, but I think the Texans just didn't show up for that game. I think theyre very capable of winning this game, and they have a team that can win in the cold weather on the road. Schaub hasn't been playing great lately and wasn't very impressive in the Bengals game, but I think he could have a big game here. The Patriots pass-rush is decent, but I think the Texans' OL wins that matchup. The Patriots have been getting gashed in the passing game all year, and I think Schaub, Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels could be in for big games. New England did a good job against the rush this year, but stopping Arian Foster is no easy task. The Pats have the 9th ranked run D, the Bengals 12th, and the Bengals got ripped by Arian.

As far as defending the Pats, I think the Texans can shut down the Pats run game. The Pats were running the ball great earlier in the season, but became one dimensional down the stretch. Bolden is out for the year and Ridleys production has been declining. The Texans have a great run D, and should control the trenches. With Watt, Smith, Reed, and Barwin all healthy, the Texans may be able to generate enough pressure on Brady to throw off their passing game. Im wondering if they will put Joseph on Welker or Lloyd, Im guessing Lloyd, and let Kareem Jackson mark welker. The Patriots depth at WR is not great, which means they probably wont spread the Texans out a lot. I think whether or not they can match up with the TEs, and whether or not those TEs are 100% is what may dictate these games. This is where the Cushing injury becomes huge. He would have been great for matching up with Gronk and Hernandez. Danieal Manning and Glover Quinn need to bring their A game.
A few things here;

The Pats haven't been getting gashed all year. The Pats have given up yardage, but bear in mind that teams are generally chasing the Pats and have to abandon the run, of course yards will come. When teams are forced to become one dimensional the Pats generally do a good job of keeping things in front of them and creating turnovers.

Secondly, the Pats run game is still very good. In the last 5 weeks they are averaging 120 yards per game and 2 of those games were against the Texans and 49ers (both in the top 7 in run defense this year) and as JVig stated Bolden is back from suspension.

As for matching up the Texans can't stay with the Pats TEs. Had Jermaine Gresham a decent pair of hands he would have had a nice game on Saturday and he isn't a patch on Gronk or Hernandez. Now the health concern is certainly a valid one, however Hernandez seems healthy and Gronk has had an extra week of rest.

I'm not saying the Texans can't win, in fact they have a very good chance. But IMO it all comes down to the Pats ability to slow down Watt (they actually didn't do a good job in the first game but no other Texan defender did anything) and the ability to force Houston into 3rd and long. Aqib Talib did a tremendous job in single coverage on Johnson in the last game and I would expect him to pick up that role again. However, if Schaub can utilise play action and Foster gets on a role then it will be tough to stop.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:41 AM    (permalink
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Just curious as to why you feel Denver's defense is overrated? Is it simply because, outside of Von, doom and champ they're players without name recognition? Because by pretty much every metric they were a damn good defense this year (2nd in yards, 4th in points, 3rd in rushing yards allowed, 2nd in rushing yards per attempt, 3rd in passing yards allowed, 5th in passing yards per attempt, 7th in completion percentage, tied for 1st in sacks, 1st in 3rd down percentage.) And I know stats don't in any way tell the whole story, but that's a pretty solid body of work.

I'm not saying Baltimore can't win. Of course they can, it's the NFL any team can win any game, and Baltimore's a good football team. But a lot of your reasoning just doesn't make sense. You say that you think they're susceptible to a power running game, but they completely shut down the Ravens running game a few weeks back. You say they don't have anyone who can match up with Torrey Smith, yes he played till about the middle of the 3rd quarter last game and only had 1 catch (for 14 yards) on 3 targets. You say Denver's secondary is undersized for guys like Boldin, but he was held without a catch (on 6 targets) in their last game.

If Baltimore is going to win this game, I think it's going to have to be on the back of their defense, because I don't see that offense doing too much against the Broncos. The Ravens did a really good job last time making Thomas a non-factor, they'll need to do that again. I think their best bet will be to dare the Broncos to run the football, and to blitz Manning whenever they can. They're going to need a game-changing turnover or two to win this game, and the best chance to get one of those is through constant pressure.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:47 AM    (permalink
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The Denver game is interesting because across the board Denver are the better team. However Manning has historically struggled against the Ravens defense. However this isn't the same Ravens defense. For me they will need to get constant pressure on Manning and get him moving off his spot because I don't think the Ravens can cover all the Broncos WRs if Manning can scan the field.

The problem is that the Broncos o line is solid. They may have to blitz which may hurt them as well. It's heresy of me to say this but Ray Lewis is exploitable. If Manning gets some of those crossing routes or levels to put Lewis in a bind then he can have major success. If the Ravens can't get to Manning early then it could be a long day.

Now I think the Ravens can run on Denver if they stick with it enough. However Flacco can't sit back all day and throw bombs. Dwight Freeney was one of the best pass rushers of his era but he is simply a jag right now. Von Miller will eat up Bryant McKinnie if left one on one on deep drops
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:53 AM    (permalink
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The Denver game is interesting because across the board Denver are the better team. However Manning has historically struggled against the Ravens defense. However this isn't the same Ravens defense. For me they will need to get constant pressure on Manning and get him moving off his spot because I don't think the Ravens can cover all the Broncos WRs if Manning can scan the field.

The problem is that the Broncos o line is solid. They may have to blitz which may hurt them as well. It's heresy of me to say this but Ray Lewis is exploitable. If Manning gets some of those crossing routes or levels to put Lewis in a bind then he can have major success. If the Ravens can't get to Manning early then it could be a long day.

Now I think the Ravens can run on Denver if they stick with it enough. However Flacco can't sit back all day and throw bombs. Dwight Freeney was one of the best pass rushers of his era but he is simply a jag right now. Von Miller will eat up Bryant McKinnie if left one on one on deep drops
It will be Doom against McKinley, for the most part it will be Oher vs Miller which is just as bad IMO. The problem facing the Broncos is that they have a very good veteran QB and a very good pass rush. You need to get a very good start and you can't die out which is just extremely difficult. We've seen even in games when they have been blown out that they can score quickly and come back. At the same time once they have the lead you are going to have an incredibly difficult time against pass rushers like Doom and Miller with their ears pinned back. Ray Rice is going to be the key for the Ravens, they need to control the clock and the tempo. I'm a little nervous because of push Lewis brings but the Broncos haven't overlooked anyone lately and have been playing well so they should take this.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:21 AM    (permalink
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I don't really like either team's chances, and I really can't decide whose chances I like better. Houston is so much better than Baltimore, but I just can't envision Matt Schaub going in Foxborough and winning a playoff game. Flacco and that group of playoff tested vets......I can see that happening, I guess.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:50 AM    (permalink
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The Denver game is interesting because across the board Denver are the better team. However Manning has historically struggled against the Ravens defense.
I agree with most of what you said, except for this. Manning is 8-2 in his career vs the Ravens, throwing 18 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, a completion percentage of 62.7, and 2647 yards.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:24 PM    (permalink
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I think both games will be a lot closer than people think. Both of these teams got trashed by their upcoming opponents just a few weeks ago. All week there is going to be talk of how they'll get killed. I don't think both wild card teams in the AFC win, but I'm guessing one of them makes it past New England or Denver. If I had to pick one I'd probably go Houston. Looks like the east coast media is already pointing the gun. Do check out Arian Foster's twitter avatar on his twitter account by the way.

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"Those Jets had players and a coach who did not wet their pants at the sight of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Those Jets had attitude. The 2012-13 Texans? Pure frauds. The worst 11-1 team in the history of the NFL. These Texans have absolutely zero chance of beating New England here next week. And everybody knows that this is true."
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap100...ans-and-frauds
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:44 PM    (permalink
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I give both teams a huge chance. Short sighted people see the blowout of the Texans and just assume it will happen again. History shows that the transitive property doesn't hold and sweeping one team in a season is very very hard. Interestingly both home favs previously blew out their opponents.

On the Denver thing, took a quick look at the numbers and broke it down versus playoff teams and versus non playoff teams. Just food for thought, and I think this probably applies to all four teams.

Denver PF/PA against non playoff teams
31.7 14.55 (11 games)

Here is PF/PA for Denver and the other three:
Denver 26.4 25.8 (5 games)
Pats 36.5 25.8 (6 games)
Houston 27.7 27.15 (7 games)
Ravens 25 29 (6 games

Is the Denver D the best of three now? Probably, but I don't think they are that far and above the rest.

I think any team can get a quick score, turnover, then score again and blow out any team (basically what New England did against Houston earlier.) If a team can limit or mitigate the impact of turnovers then I can see every game being close.

I think the Ravens need to get consistent pressure from Suggs and Kruger and hit those long bombs, and they can definitely hang.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:21 PM    (permalink
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I think both games will be a lot closer than people think. Both of these teams got trashed by their upcoming opponents just a few weeks ago. All week there is going to be talk of how they'll get killed. I don't think both wild card teams in the AFC win, but I'm guessing one of them makes it past New England or Denver. If I had to pick one I'd probably go Houston. Looks like the east coast media is already pointing the gun. Do check out Arian Foster's twitter avatar on his twitter account by the way.



http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap100...ans-and-frauds
What a piece of **** article.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:36 PM    (permalink
Denver Bronco56
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Since the bye week, this defense has surrendered 15 TD's in 10 games. That alone is pretty impressive - allowing 1.5 TD's over an extended run is pretty good. However, out of those 15 TD's, 8 were garbage time.

That's right - over our last 10 games, the Bronco D has allowed only 7 non-garbage time TD's. wow.

Here is a complete list of TD's allowed since the bye week, followed by quarter and the score when the TD occurred. I'm defining garbage time as a deficit of 14 or more in the 4th quarter.

Darren Sproles 29 yard pass 2nd 7-0
Jimmy Graham 18 yard pass 4th 34-7
AJ Green 10 yard pass 3rd 17-3
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 2 yard rush 4th 17-13
Greg Olsen 4 yard pass from Newton 1st 0-0
Greg Olsen 5 yard pass 4th 29-7
Danario Alexander 8 yard pass 3rd 24-9
Danario Alexander 21 yard pass 4th 30-16
Dallas Clark 11 yard pass 1st 7-3
Mike Williams 5 yard pass 4th 31-16
Darren McFadden 6 yard pass 2nd 13-0
DHB 56 yard pass 4th 26-7
Dennis pitta 31 yard pass 4th 31-3
Dennis Pitta 61 yard pass 4th 34-10

Greg Little 6 yard pass 4th 31-6


A couple other things to note:
  • the D has allowed only two non-garbage time TD's over the past six games.
  • only two 1st quarter TD's have been allowed over this span.
  • only 4 first half TD's were allowed over this span.
  • The D allowed a total of 151 points over these 10 games - 15.1 ppg. Excluding garbage time TD's, that works out to 9.5 points per game.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:11 PM    (permalink
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The odds are against the underdogs but both teams still clearly have a chance. Baltimore and Houston have talent and can put up a big fight if they come to play.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:15 AM    (permalink
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And saying the Broncos are going to have problems against a power running game.... please tell me where you get his from? because the last time the Ravens's "Power Running" game sure gave them fits...the only issue the broncos have had is covering TE's....
Im not going off the one game they played against eachother where the Ravens didnt show up.

In 2011, the Broncos ranked 22nd in rush defense, with most of the same guys on D. This year, they ranked much higher, but they didnt exactly face a high level of competition, and were able to build leads and stop teams from using a ball-control offense. I think the addition of Wolfe has helped the run D, as has the strong play of vickerson. Woodyard is playing great, but I can see him getting blown up by Vonta Leach.

The thing about the Denver defense is that it is speedy but undersized. If you can keep the unit on the field, you can wear them down. We havent really seen it this year, but I do believe it can be done. Get Rice and Pierce going and work the ball to those big TEs and receivers, and I believe this Denver D can be exploited. Im just not totally sold on the Denver defense yet. Yes, Miller and Dumervil are as good of a pass-rush tandem as there is, but I have my doubts about the rest of the unit.

And on the other side of the ball, it will be a joy to watch Peyton match wits with Ray and Ed one last time in the playoffs. Ive always loved watching this matchup because the strategy and football intelligence that gets displayed as they react and counter eachother is just crazy. I especially loved it when Rex Ryan was the DC and Reed and Lewis were a little younger.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:25 AM    (permalink
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The thing about the Denver defense is that it is speedy but undersized. If you can keep the unit on the field, you can wear them down. We havent really seen it this year, but I do believe it can be done. Get Rice and Pierce going and work the ball to those big TEs and receivers, and I believe this Denver D can be exploited. Im just not totally sold on the Denver defense yet. Yes, Miller and Dumervil are as good of a pass-rush tandem as there is, but I have my doubts about the rest of the unit.
I agree with this, however we seen it when it was exploited this way by New England, only they didn't use the RBs consistently to pound the ball to wear them down. Pretty much any defense will tire itself out if you don't let them substitute and run an effective no huddle. However I don't think Baltimore, and Joe Flacco to be more precise, can run that type of offense.

I thik running the ball and taking shots plays deep (a staple of the Ravens offense) plays right into Denver's hands. They can be beaten in the middle of the field, however while Pitta and Dickson are a nice pair I don't think they can cause enough damage.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:58 AM    (permalink
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Im not going off the one game they played against eachother where the Ravens didnt show up.

In 2011, the Broncos ranked 22nd in rush defense, with most of the same guys on D. This year, they ranked much higher, but they didnt exactly face a high level of competition, and were able to build leads and stop teams from using a ball-control offense. I think the addition of Wolfe has helped the run D, as has the strong play of vickerson. Woodyard is playing great, but I can see him getting blown up by Vonta Leach.

The thing about the Denver defense is that it is speedy but undersized. If you can keep the unit on the field, you can wear them down. We havent really seen it this year, but I do believe it can be done. Get Rice and Pierce going and work the ball to those big TEs and receivers, and I believe this Denver D can be exploited. Im just not totally sold on the Denver defense yet. Yes, Miller and Dumervil are as good of a pass-rush tandem as there is, but I have my doubts about the rest of the unit.

And on the other side of the ball, it will be a joy to watch Peyton match wits with Ray and Ed one last time in the playoffs. Ive always loved watching this matchup because the strategy and football intelligence that gets displayed as they react and counter eachother is just crazy. I especially loved it when Rex Ryan was the DC and Reed and Lewis were a little younger.
The 2011 team had rookies that have grown into solid players, and Von Miller just becoming a beast.
Plus, don't underestimate the addition of Jack Del Rio to coach the defense. Teaching the defense to just do their assignments, and its helped a lot.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:29 AM    (permalink
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The Ravens do have a chance and it's going to be a totally different game from the one played just a few weeks ago for the Broncos. The Ravens offensive line changed dramatically: Oher from left to right, Osemele from right to left, Jah Reid now starting and Marshall Yanda is back from his injury.

They also have Pollard, Ellerbe and Lewis back in the lineup on the defensive side of the ball, not to count the motivational factor that means having Ray playing his last downs and teammates wanting to win the big one for him.

Another thing to take into account is that it's not Jim Caldwell's first game calling plays as it was the case back on week 15. A lot of things have changed.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:43 AM    (permalink
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If the Broncos shut down the Raven's running attack again, I just don't see Flaaco being able to out dual Manning, especially with the Broncos pass rush.


And it being played in Denver, i just dont see it being close.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:06 AM    (permalink
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If the Broncos keep playing the consistent football they've been displaying over the past 10 weeks of course they will win, nobody is debating that, actually everybody has the Patriots and Broncos as heavy favorites.

But that's not what the thread is about, OP is asking if there's a way for the Texans and Ravens to pull out the win and of course there is, things change quickly in the NFL, the Ravens are much healthier and have their leader back on the field and the Texans are fully motivated after being disrespected by both media and fans.

Let's stop being homers for our favorite team.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:27 AM    (permalink
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why has derek wolfe's name come up in this thread? he's been a completely average rotational DE with nearly no impact on the run game.

the donkeys could very easily lose the game. it's not like the ravens are terrible.
He gets a lot of hype on ESPN?
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:29 AM    (permalink
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Not being a homer, but i dont think Ray Lewis is going to have another huge emotional game.. this isnt in Baltimore.

But the only way i see the Ravens being able to make it competititve let alone win is being able to score fast and try and limit Manning.

I just dont see them all of a sudden being able to score when they barely got first downs against us last time.


I dont mean to come off as a homer, but just like the Texans Patriots.. these teams got dominated in all phases of the game, it wasnt competitive and it is hard to just assume it will be any different
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:48 AM    (permalink
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does he? i haven't watched in such a long time... i hope not. not that he's bad, but he's only been slightly better than ayers.
But Robert Ayers had so much hype leading up to the draft. Is he not an all pro yet???
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