Upon landing in Denver yesterday, a few Baltimore Ravens players took to twitter to let us all know about the inclement weather conditions at Mile High. Turns out, there’s a little snow up there, and just in time for football with a 20% chance that it will be snowing come kickoff time between the Denver Broncos and the Ravens. The question is, which team is going to benefit the most from the cold and the snow?
Let’s start with Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense, shall we? I would like to draw your attention a couple of classic snow games in which Manning took part during previous postseasons, most notably the 03-04 and 04-05 seasons when a very good New England Patriots team beat Manning’s Colts both times in snowy conditions. In the end, these games were decided by team play, but the factor that is most pertinent to the Broncos – Ravens game today is the play of Manning in the snow. In those games, Manning tossed a total of five interceptions with only one touchdown to his name and from what I remember, never looked comfortable playing in such inclement conditions after years of playing indoors.
Now I’m not saying that Manning is going to play as badly tonight as he has done in the past, but if he steps out onto the field and the weather is poor, the veteran QB may have to work through some of his demons.
The Ravens, on the other hand, seem to be relishing the prospect, with a number of their key players being very used to playing in the cold. Most notable are Ray Rice and Joe Flacco who played at Rutgers and Delaware respectively and so have become accustomed to what it takes to win when the weather closes in. I would also factor into the equation that the Ravens in the previous few seasons have been on the road and competed in cold conditions such as in Arrowhead Stadium, Heinz Field and the infamous Gillette Stadium, giving the valuable experience that should help them come game time.
If the snow does descend on Saturday afternoon, I believe it will favor the Ravens and their run game against a Broncos defensive line that I don’t see as equipped to deal with a power run game in the snow. I’m interested to see how this one plays out!