Oh, boy is this ever a big game.
Your Denver Broncos get only one chance to make a first impression on the 2013 NFL season. Entering tonight’s nationally televised “NFL kickoff” contest they are among the most highly regarded Super Bowl favorites. Some passionate fans even think that the Broncos are over rated. We will know a ton more about their prospects after seeing them play the Super Bowl champs.
There are plenty of questions to be answered. Nobody knows yet how (or if) the Broncos will get pressure on the quarterback with Von Miller out of the lineup and Elvis Dumervil lining up for the wrong team. Nobody is comfortable with Denver’s running backs just yet and it remains to be seen whether or not the reconfigured offensive line can keep Peyton Manning upright and healthy.
Over the next many weeks leading up to their week nine bye, the Broncos face the entire NFC East (plus the Raiders, Jags and Colts). Robert Griffin Junior, Tony Romo, Michael Vick and Eli Manning will each get their shot at the orange and blue before they get a weekend off. That’s why it is crucial for Denver to start the season hot tonight against the Ravens. It’s easy to see the Broncos sitting at 6-2 when the bye week rolls around. But it’s just as easy to imagine them being 4-4. A loss to the Ravens could shake their confidence and put them into a bit of a tail spin.
Luckily, the Broncos will win tonight. And cover the spread. On a day which may reach record high temperatures we won’t see a gloved Peyton Manning struggle to hold on to the football the way he did in the playoffs. What we’ll witness is his slinging it all over the park. The first three possessions he has will result in scores, allowing the Broncos to amass 17 points in just the first quarter. By half time the game will have been lopsided, with the Broncos owning 24 points to the Ravens’ 10.
Denver will add 17 more points in the second half. Their final tally: 41. Baltimore will make it fun with Flacco throwing deep in a desperate attempt to keep pace with Peyton Manning but he will fall far short. To their 10 first half points the Ravens will add 17. Final score: Broncos 41, Ravens 27. Broncos cover easily.
Eli will get his way and hand the Broncos their first loss next week. They will drop one more to the NFC East before week nine but smoke the Colts, Raiders and Jaguars. They will be 6-2 at the break.
In the second half of the season the Broncos will drop one to the Patriots because of course they will. They’ll also let one slip away within the AFC West – but only one. They’ll lose the same number of games in stage two as they did in stage one – 2 – making their final regular season record 12-4.
Denver will once again earn a playoff bye. This time they will not falter in the following game, though. The Broncos will beat the Bengals in the AFC title game and advance to the Super Bowl, which they will lose to either Seattle or San Francisco.
They’ll win the big one next year – in 2014 – Peyton Manning’s final season.