Ravens (2-1) (3-0) at Broncos
When: 2:25 p.m., Sunday.
where: Empower Field at Mile High.
Radio/TV: 850 AM, 94.1 FM/KCNC-4.
Season: Mixture of sunshine and clouds, maximum 68 degrees and a 23% chance of rain.
Broncos-Ravens Series: The Broncos are 6-6 in 12 games; In the last meeting in Baltimore on September 23, 2018, the Ravens won 27–14.
ILB Justin Stranad vs TE Mark Andrews
In his second NFL debut in place of the injured Josie Jewell, Justin Stranad has a long task ahead involving All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews.
While the Broncos will certainly sport plenty of zone coverage to help keep double-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson in control, when in man, the athletic and lanky 6-foot-3 strnaud will be tasked with covering Andrews.
Andrews has 13 catches for 186 yards this year for a 14.3-yard average, but no touchdowns yet. In his four-year career, Andrews has 2,291 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns.
“He’s a really good receiver because there are tight ends,” said Broncos coach Vic Fangio. “He can really run for a guy his size (at 6-5, 256) and he has good hands and a good grip radius. I think Jackson has good[chemistry]with them too. He likes to throw That is a big part of their crime and they told you that along with the contract (Vitaran) they gave it to him recently.
Fangio believes Strand will be up to the task, noting that he is “just going to get better and better” despite Denver beating the Week 3 Jets with clear room for improvement.
“Every rep that a young player gets is like a deposit in the bank, and he keeps at it,” Fangio said. “He’s basically a rookie because he didn’t do anything for us last year (due to a wrist injury) … I’m sure he’ll keep improving.”
Andrews will present Stranad with a litmus test to see where the young linebacker is in his game. But Broncos tight end Noah Fant, who attended a “tight and you” positional summit with Andrews this summer, is confident Strand and the rest of the Broncos will be up to the task of defense.
“I’m excited to see what he does against our defense,” Fant said. “I’ve said this many times – I think our defense is one of the best in the league, so it will be good to see what he does and see how our defense reacts to what he defends.”
Who has the edge?
Teddy Bridgewater has been consistent with a completion rate of 76.8% and 77.8 qbr. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, is one of the league’s most dynamic playwrights. He’s dealing with a back flare-up, but it will still be tough to stop. Edge: Even
Melvin Gordon is “not satisfied” with the way he, Jevont Williams and the Broncos run game. Denver could be without its two starting guards. And under the leadership of Jackson and tailback Ty’Son Williams, the Ravens claim the NFL’s top run game. Edge: Ravens
The Broncos have two starting WRs down Jerry Judy (high ankle sprain) and KJ Hammer (torn ACL, out for the year). Cortland Sutton and Tim Patrick will bear the load. The Ravens stars Marquis Brown, Sammy Watkins and tight end Mark Andrews. Edge: Even
With right guard Graham Glasgow (knee) and left guard Dalton Risner (leg), both Netani Muti and Quinn Meinerz may have to step up. Baltimore is anchored by tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who hasn’t missed a single game in his entire seven-year career. Edge: Ravens
Baltimore’s defensive line is anchored by Denver South graduate (and future Pro Football Hall of Famer?) Kallis Campbell. Former Bronco Derek Wolff is yet to play in 2021 due to injury. And the Broncos’ front, run-stuffing nose is Mike Purcell’s specialty, thick. Edge: Even
Justin Stranad’s replacement for Josie Jewel in the ILB has been impressive. And even without the Bradley chub (ankle), Von Miller (four sacks) has been the wonster of old. The Ravens get back veteran Justin Houston after missing on the COVID/reserve list last week. Edge: Even
The Broncos’ secondary has been ineffective so far, and has two picks in each of the last two matches. Rookie Pat Suren II is coming into its own. Meanwhile, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and Baltimore Secondary have been set on fire. Edge: Broncos
Brandon McManus has been the money, but Sam Martin is 25th at 42.2 yards/punt. And the Broncos kickoff coverage has been poor (41.4 yards/return, last rank). Justin Tucker, the league’s best kicker of all time, to win by a record 66-yard distance last week. Edge: Ravens
tale of the tape
|total crime||387.3 (14th)||424.7 (4th)|
|hasty offense||127.3 (T-7th)||185.3 (the first)|
|pass offense||260 (12th)||239.3 (18th)|
|points per game||25.3 (12th)||27.3 (11th)|
|total defense||221.7 (second)||393.7 (24th)|
|run defense||59.3 (Second)||79 (ninth)|
|pass defense||162.3 (3rd)||314.7 (30th)|
|points allowed||8.7 (first)||28.3 (26th)|
*Week 3. Through
+50 — The points difference in Denver’s 3–0 start, the fifth-highest total in team history through the first three games of a season.
23rd — Ranking Von Miller on the NFL’s all-time sack list after starting this year with four sacks. Miller leads all active players with 110 career sacks.
14.5 — Tim Patrick’s average yards per catch so far on a dozen receptions, leads the Broncos and ranks 23rd in the league.
9-for-9 — Brandon McManus has yet to miss a field goal this season, and it pushed him into first place as the Broncos’ most accurate kicker of all time. McManus has a career rate of 83.2%, which is better than Matt Prater (82.9%).
– The number of interceptions Teddy Bridgewater has thrown is a marked improvement over the same period in 2020 when the Denver quarterback had three picks.
This is a coin game in the eyes of the bookies, and it is true. The Ravens have picked up pace thanks to dramatic victories over the Chiefs and Lions, while the Broncos finally have September to feel good for the first time in many years. Sunday’s result will likely come down to the last couple of possessions, and if the Broncos keep football on offense and limit Lamar Jackson on defense, they will need to improve their position to cover tight spreads in front of a raucous home crowd. should be in up to 4-0.
prop condition: Total 44 marks (minus-110)
Bet below. In a packed, noisy stadium featuring two highly-rated defenses – even with the Ravens’ secondary shortcomings – it’s not going to be a shootout. There will be touchdowns scored, and swings of pace, but the end of the game will increase and turnover will likely play a role in keeping the game under 44 points overall.
Fantasy Drama: Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
The Broncos’ first three opponents stacked the box against the Denver running game, so just one 100-yard rushing performance from a combination of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams (through Gordon in Week 1 against The Giants). Expect Baltimore to do the same, especially given the Broncos’ O-line injuries. It would open the passing game again for Bridgewater against a weak Baltimore secondary, and Bridgewater has a wideout and a mismatch in the tight end (Noah Fant, Albert Okwegbunam).
Mark Kiszla, columnist: Broncos 24, Ravens 23
I want to tell you that I have a clue which team will win this game. But the quarter I tossed landed “tails,” so Denver is my choice. Can the Broncos make Lamar Jackson one dimensional? Eliminate his chunk plays? I don’t know Not even the Broncos.
Kyle Newman, Beat Writer: Broncos 24, Ravens 17
Will the real Denver Broncos please stand up? After cruising through their first three cupcakes, the Broncos did just that with a statement win over Baltimore on Sunday. Justin Simmons’ late INT sealed it.
Ryan O’Halloran, Beat Writer: Broncos 20, Ravens 14
With five minutes remaining, Teddy Bridgewater leads a 65-yard drive by his 4-yard touchdown pass to Cortland Sutton, giving the Broncos a 4-0 start for the first time since 2016.
Sean Keeler, columnist: Broncos 23, Ravens 21
Vic Fangio has not faced Lamar Jackson face-to-face, but the man had a 2–0 lifetime as an NFL defensive coordinator against Michael Vick. Thanks to a Mile High Magic and Brandon McManus field goal (or two), the Broncos pass the first real test of 2021.