The Denver Broncos head to play the Baltimore Ravens in a game that will be viewed as a measuring stick at how far they have really come. Earlier in the year, the Broncos played some of the toughest teams in the NFL, and did not fare too well beginning 2-3 and looking as if there was a lot of work left to be done.
One thing we have learned since week five, is that the Broncos have put in that work while reeling off eight straight wins to get their record to 10-3, looking ahead at a possible first round bye in the playoffs. There is another obstacle in the way, however, and that is the stout competition that is Baltimore.
The Ravens themselves may be the most disjointed 9-4 team in the league, but the Broncos come in having not won there in five tries. Although this may not be the same Ravens defense because of several injuries they have incurred, most notably LB Ray Lewis not activated, the Broncos can never look past this opponent.
Demaryius Thomas, who is one of the few Broncos to have played against the Ravens, said this:
“It’s a test for us to see where we’re at because they’re known as a good team, it’s tough to beat them there. We haven’t beaten them the last five times we’ve played, I think…We look forward to it just to see where we’re at and to see how good we are.”
Peyton Manning had another twist when viewing the Ravens game as a measuring stick:
“It’s the next game. I think we’ve done a good job placing importance on every team we have played. We have focused kind of on the moment. Certainly Baltimore is a very easy team to grab your attention, especially when you’re playing there. That’s who we’re focused on. We’ve done a good job of that all season and hopefully that will continue this week. I thought today was a good start and hopefully we can keep that going throughout the week.”
The one thing that Manning brings to his team is a levelheadedness that spreads. Manning knows just as well as Thomas, Eric Decker, Von Miller and anyone else on this team what this game means. Beat the Ravens and the hopes of a first round bye are still alive. Lose, and the probability of falling to a three or four seed will be the best case scenario.
This will certainly be more of a test for everyone outside of John Fox’s locker room to see the Broncos and understand that they really are that good. All the Broncos want to do is win the next game. For today, that game means also erasing history and starting fresh against a viable opponent. If you are looking for chalkboard incentives, understand that the Broncos will not indulge.
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