While most of us have expected this news ever since the NFL and MLB were unable to reach a compromise to open the NFL season in Baltimore – where it belongs – it’s finally official.
The defending Super Bowl champions will indeed open the season in Denver against Peyton Manning and the Broncos, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
While this is very unfortunate for Ravens fans – who will have a sour taste in our mouths for years over it – the fact is that the team likely views this as preferable to starting at home the following Sunday against a lesser opponent.
The Ravens get their westernmost road trip out of the way early, and get an extra three days to prepare for their second opponent – basically an extra half of a bye week early in the season. Also in the Ravens’ favor is that the team has never lost an opener under John Harbaugh, going 5-0 and winning their last two by a combined 59 points (35-7 over Pittsburgh in 2011, and 44-13 over Cincinnati in 2012) over eventual playoff teams.
On the other hand, they get Peyton Manning in warmer weather – we all saw how pedestrian he became once those Rocky Mountain temperatures plummeted in January. He’ll also be eager to show off his new toy, recently acquired wide receiver Wes Welker, though the two will obviously still be working on their on-field chemistry at that time.
Denver will be thirsty for revenge, just as the Ravens were when the New England Patriots came to town in 2012. Like the Ravens before them, the Broncos feel that the Ravens stole “their” Super Bowl last season.
As Tony Lombardi put it a few weeks ago, I hope you’re ready for a Peyton Party, Ravens fans.
..let’s be real here, we all know where this is headed.
The Ravens will open on the road in Denver. The AFC’s third runner-up will be the showcased team. We’ll hear about how the Ravens have lost so much star-power. No Ray Lewis or Ed Reed or Anquan Boldin. And then it will get worse.
It will a Peyton Manning love fest. He’ll be rested and we’ll hear repeatedly about how great Peyton is and how he and his brand new little toy named Wes Welker are developing a rapport until we’ll all just want to hurl.
In the end it will be a Denver celebration.
Not yours Baltimore!