NFL Week One Predictions: Thursday Night Football
Last time we saw these two teams play, that picture above was how it ended. A stunning come from behind, two overtime victory for the Baltimore Ravens over the Denver Broncos. A miraculous bomb from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones, that had no business making it, was the rock that slayed Goliath. Tonight, with added weapon, Wes Welker, and a lesser defense after the loss of Elvis Dumervil, Goliath looks to enact revenge for their stunning home playoff loss.
BALTIMORE RAVENS At DENVER BRONCOS: The points: -7 1/2, The line: Baltimore +260/ Denver -320.
Cameron: It was a sad state of affairs for the Broncos. After lofty expectations, they were eliminated by a sub-par team on a sub-par play. Luck was the most prominent factor at play that night in Denver. Tonight, yet again, luck will be needed. Peyton is 10-4 all-time in openers and 4-1 in home openers, including a 31-19 drubbing last year of the Steelers. Manning threw for 253 yards and two TDs in the win. What all that means? Manning is consistent in kicking things off in the right way. That's really about it. If he were 14-0, which is what I was figuring before I researched, he would be a god and I'd have a genuine case for him going 15-0 like he's the Undertaker of season openers.
Manning now has an extra weapon in Wes Welker. Like he needed one, with Demaryius Thomas looking like Calvin Johnson 2.0 and Eric Decker catching 13 TDs last year. Adding the mighty midget only adds more firepower to this Branch Davidians of a football teams (Yeah, that was a way dated David Koresh joke). The real question of whether Denver is going to win this going away or not is, Will Von Miller's suspension affect their pass rush to a point where they can't bring Flacco down? And can this open up the passing game for Flacco, allowing them to kill the Broncos deep; like they did in playoffs? Possibly, probably?
Either way, my call?
Final: Broncos 34, Ravens 24. Broncos cover.
Gavin: Peyton death. Ravens win, Torrey Smith 2 TD burner. I'm a Raiders fan, and I think the Ravens are more of a threat than they are being given credit for.
Final: Ravens 24, Broncos 17. Broncos do not cover and you should take the money-line on the Ravens.
Dustin: Are you ready for some football?! More importantly: are you ready for another 17 weeks of "Can Peyton Manning survive a full season or are we headed to inevitable on-field disaster?" Last season, Manning defied all odds and was named the Comeback Player of the Year for his efforts; leading the Broncos to one blunder away from the Super Bowl. I don't believe that Peyton will completely break down but I'm finding it hard to believe he'll come anywhere near duplicating the success of last season simply because the expectations are now Super Bowl or bust.
I still think the Broncos will win but I think it'll all the new personnel on the Ravens still looking to find their chemistry. Losing a ton of high profile players after winning the Super Bowl last year has put the Ravens in an odd spot for a defending champions; the under dogs. Throw in a massive and hotly debated contract to QB Joe Flacco and you have all the makings for a disappointing season.
Final: Broncos 37, Ravens 28. Peyton throws 4 TDs.