Here we are sportsfans, smack dab at the start of the NFL regular season. It doesn’t get any better than this does it? To open the season, the football Gods have graced us with a rematch of last year’s divisional round game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens. A lot has happened between these two teams in the last 200 plus days since they last squared off in that historic playoff game.
When the Ravens take the field tonight, they will be a shell of the team they were last year. Many familiar faces are gone and injuries have taken a toll this offseason. TE Dennis Pitta was poised for a monster season but starts the year on the IR. S Ed Reed is now with Houston. Longtime centerpiece Ray Lewis has retired. WR Anquan Boldin is now a member of the 49ers. Joe Flacco rolled the dice last year and landed a monster contract.
Denver had some issues as well this offseason. The team added slot receiver Wes Welker, but lost pass rushing specialist Elvis Dumervil because of a fax machine issue. Seriously? In this day and age? The Broncos other pass rusher, Von Miller starts the season on the suspended list. Miller and Dumervil combined for 29.5 sacks for the Broncos last season. Don’t overlook the issue at center for the Broncos either. Any who plays running back? A trio of backs in order to make up for rookie Montee Ball’s inability to pass block?
Everyone is quick to write off the Ravens this year after the roster purge of the offseason. I say not so fast with John Harbaugh at the helm, this will be a highly competitive team in 2013. A return trip to the Super Bowl? Not so much. But extremely tough, yes.
When the line opened on this game, the Broncos were giving 9 points. That has been bet down to 7 or 7.5 depending on which book you are looking at. The over/under is 49.5. I love the under in this game. Since 2007, Thursday night openers have gone under five of the last six games. Offenses tend to struggle in the first few weeks of the regular season.
The Ravens will face a fresh Payton Manning, not the worn down version they saw in the playoffs last year. While the Broncos will win this game, I like the Ravens getting the 7, and even more love the 7.5 offered by some sites.
Denver Broncos 24 Baltimore Ravens 20