Most of the country gives the Ravens little chance on Saturday in the Mile High City. Vegas initially pegged the Broncos as a 9-point favorite and so far there has been no movement in the line.
But regardless of what that blockhead on NFL Network Heath Evans might tell you, the Ravens have a shot in this game – a good one.
And if you aren’t buying into this way of thinking, let me remind you of a few things in Ravens playoff history.
Last season in the AFC Championship Game, the Ravens opened as 7-point underdogs and that line eventually moved to 9 ½ points in some Vegas Sportsbooks. Of course you remember how that game went down.
Back during the 2010 Wild Card Playoff Game in New England, the Ravens were 4-point underdogs yet walked away with a very convincing 33-14 win after busting out to a 24-0 first quarter advantage. Flacco on the afternoon was 4 for 10 for 34 yards, 0 TD’s and 1 INT. That works out to a QB Rating of 10.0. So the Ravens don’t necessarily rise and fall on their QB’s performance.
During the Ravens magical 2000 season, after beating the Broncos at home 21-3 in the Wild Card Playoff Game, the team traveled to Tennessee and then to Oakland where they were 6-point and 3 ½ point underdogs, respectively. Of course the Ravens won both contests on their way to the Super Bowl by scores of 24-10 and 16-3.
Naturally many will say, and rightly so, that this trip down memory lane will have no bearing on Saturday’s game. But at the very least it does establish precedent, particularly for a team led by Ray Lewis.
With a leader like Ray, on the wings of his last hurrah, their will be no fear and it won’t matter that the Broncos came into M&T Bank Stadium just 28 days removed from Saturday’s affair and dismantled the Ravens, 34-17.
You may recall that a New York Jets team traveled to New England to take on the Patriots back in 2011 for a Divisional Playoff Game. Forty-one days prior to their January 16, 2011 contest the Patriots dismantled the Jets 45-3. Yet Rex Ryan’s fearless crew would go on to win the playoff game by the score of 28-21.
Again, there’s precedent.
And let’s not forget, the frigid temperatures could work in the Ravens favor, particularly if the winds are swirling.
While Peyton Manning’s season has been nothing short of remarkable, his arm strength isn’t what it once was and he may no longer have the fastball to deliver passes on time in less than ideal conditions. We’ve seen him struggle as a younger player when taking on New England’s winter.
Once again there’s precedent.
Don’t count out the Ravens!
Their chances are certainly far better than Lloyd Christmas’ visit to Colorado.