By C.J. Gardner
After beating Peyton Manning’s old team last round, the Baltimore Ravens gained the right to play the number one seeded Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Peyton Manning and the Ravens are no strangers when it comes to the playoffs, having met in the 2009 Divisional round.
The Broncos are the hottest team in the NFL right now, having won their last ten games, including a week 15 win over the Ravens 34-17. Peyton Manning had an MVP caliber regular season leading the Broncos to the best record in the NFL. Manning also seems to have the key to unlock the Ravens defense. He has gone 8-0 against them since 2002 putting up over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. Manning is not the only reason the Broncos have done so well this season, the defense has been a big part of that as well. The Broncos were second in total defense giving up an average of only 290 yards per game. They have one of the best corners in Champ Bailey and former Aggie Von Miller had 15.5 sacks this year.
The Ravens defense against the Colts looked totally different than they had in the regular season – and that can be attributed to one person, Ray Lewis. Lewis is the heart of the Ravens defense and he showed what he could do by leading the Ravens with 13 tackles and being their leader on the field. The Ravens kept the Colts out of the end zone, but it will be a tougher task this week against a more talented Broncos offense. Joe Flacco led the offense and had a good game with 282 yards, including 145 to Anquan Boldin, which was a playoff franchise record. Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice lead a strong running attack for the Ravens.
Peyton Manning vs. Ray Lewis. It will good to see one last match up between two of the all time bests at their positions, with the winner going to the AFC Championship. Prediction: It will be a lot like their week 15 game: Broncos 35 Ravens 14
Watch It: Sat. Jan. 12 3:30 p.m. CBS