It is down to the final four in the AFC Divisional Playoffs as Saturday brings the first game to decide who moves on to the AFC Championship Game as the No. 4 seed Baltimore Ravens face the top-seeded Denver Broncos at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. This game has all the makings of a blowout with Denver stringing together a long winning streak to end the regular season and Baltimore trying to build up another emotional high for Ray Lewis. This game comes down to just one player, though.
Denver should win this game easily just because of Peyton Manning alone. Manning had a season to remember after missing all of last year with nerve issues in his neck that required four surgeries. Manning will either win the Comeback Player or Most Valuable Player awards this season and deserves to take home both. Manning has taken an offense that was mainly rushing last year and turned it into a passing-first offense with great success. I don’t see how the Ravens defense can slow down Manning enough to stay in this game for long.
This will be the final game for Lewis and while that is a disappointment for a lot of NFL fans, this Denver team is just too good for Baltimore to handle. I’ll take Denver 31-17 to advance to next week’s AFC Championship game at home. The Ravens have a rebuilding project coming on defense with Lewis retiring and whatever happens with Ed Reed. That project will begin after this weekend as Manning and the Broncos move one step closer to the Super Bowl.
Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports or like his Facebook page.