With the Houston Texans win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Saturday’s wild card game, one possible opponent for the Denver Broncos has been sent packing. The Broncos will now face the winner of Sunday’s AFC wild card game between the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts. There are advantages and disadvantages for the Broncos depending on whom they face; let’s take a look.
The Ravens would pose more of a challenge to Peyton Manning and the offense; although the Broncos did put 34 on the Ravens just three weeks ago. However they will have Ray Lewis back and would probably play better this time around. The other advantage that the Ravens may have is the “win one for Ray” approach as Lewis has announced his retirement at the end of this season.
There are some things that would work in the Broncos favor, though. The first one is Manning has all ready seen the Ravens and if he gets to see them again, chances are he will pick them apart. Having Lewis back will obviously help the Ravens but is he worth the 17 points that the Broncos won by the last time, probably not. The Ravens also have a difficult time moving the ball and scoring points on the Broncos defense in Denver would be a tall order.
The biggest thing the Colts would have going for them is they would have nothing to lose. They were supposed to be terrible this season; if they get to the divisional round then they can play loose. Quarterback, Andrew Luck is also capable of putting up big numbers and the Colts offense would be more of a threat than the Ravens. They are also riding an incredible wave of emotion right now and a playoff win over the Ravens would only enhance that.
The problems for the Colts would be stopping Manning; they are not a good defensive team and the Broncos would move the ball at will. The Broncos also would have an intangible going for them in a matchup with the Colts. Manning has said all of the right things after being released by the Colts, but somewhere deep inside of him it hurt. Manning, with his competitive fire, would love to knock the Colts out of the playoffs and he would love to do it by putting up big numbers. The last advantage for the Broncos would be their defense; Luck has had a great year but he has also made a ton of mistakes. The Colts offensive line is not great and the Broncos would be able to pressure Luck, and probably cause the rookie to throw a couple of interceptions.
The Broncos will play either the Ravens or the Colts next Saturday and both teams provide different challenges. However if the Broncos play like they can play then it won’t matter who shows up.
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