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Offensive Keys:

1.) Pounding the rock: The best way to get the Denver linebackers to play out of their element is to force them to take on blocks and defend the run. The Ravens will need to line up in a lot of power I sets on Sunday in order to create more one-on-one blocking match-ups in the running game.

2.) Keeping an eye on Lynch: Johnny Lynch is the point man in Denver’s defense. The safety is routinely positioned all over the field either to blitz, support the run or to drop into zone coverage. Kyle Boller will need to be aware of Lynch’s location in order to get a read on what type of attack the Broncos have called on a certain down.

3.) Out of the pocket: The Broncos employ an attacking, blitz heavy scheme in order to force the opposing quarterback to make quick and accurate decisions after the snap of the football. Kyle Boller has struggled to handle the blitz in certain situations, especially in obvious passing situations. One way to give Boller some more opportunities to make plays is to roll him out of the pocket using bootleg and waggle pass plays, allowing him to have the option to run, throw to one of two reads on either the left or right side of the field or to throw the ball out of bounds. In addition, the Ravens should try to use misdirection plays to catch Denver off guard when the ends or linebackers over-pursue.

Defensive Keys:

1.) Playing with discipline: One of the biggest defensive keys is for defensive ends Tony Weaver and Terrell Suggs to play with caution and intelligence. Much of Denver’s offensive success is predicated on Plummer’s ability to make plays outside of the pocket, whether he runs with the ball or passes. If the ends crash down too hard, Plummer will have openings to work with outside the pocket. The key for Weaver and Suggs is to use proper angles to get to Plummer when they are in a rush mode.

2.) Watching the alignments: Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak like to use a lot of different formations during the course of a game in order to keep defenses from keying in on their offensive strategy. The coordinators may use a five-wide set and a U-formation in the same game. The Ravens have to make sure they aren’t caught off-guard too many times. They must have the right packages on the field to match-up with the personnel that Denver has lined up on offense.

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Dev Panchwagh

About Dev Panchwagh

Dev Panchwagh is a versatile analyst who breaks down the Xs and Os of the game and has been a columnist/analyst for Ravens24x7.com since the summer of 2004. In his regular season column Battle Plans, Dev highlights the Ravens’ keys to success against each upcoming opponent.

Dev started modestly as a sports journalist, but his contributions to sports talk radio were noticed, leading to duties as a regular columnist for the Scouts.com network before joining RSR.  It would be very difficult to find his rare combination of youthfulness, knowledge and insight in all facets of football anywhere else.  Fortunately, Dev brings it here each and every week. 

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