The NFL schedule does not come out until the middle of April but the league likes to announce marquee games in advance of that. Those games include the Thursday night opener, the opening Monday night doubleheader and the Thanksgiving Day games.
Historically the defending Super Bowl Champions open the season at home on that first Thursday night, but the Baltimore Ravens have a problem. The Baltimore Orioles also have a home game on the night of September 5th, and are unwilling to move the game time. The problem is that the football and baseball teams share a parking lot, and it is not feasible to have an event at both venues at the same time.
Unless something changes or the Orioles have a sudden change of heart, the Ravens will be the first defending champion to open on the road in ten seasons. The most attractive road game for the Ravens is easily the Denver Broncos, and that is likely to be the opening game of the 2013 season. Ravens at Broncos.
The game fits perfectly with what the NFL wants, it’s a rematch of a wild playoff game from the year before and features the defending champion and the team who many believe is the favorite to be the next champion.
For the Broncos, it is a great way to open the season. Number one, they get to open at home and then get 10 days to prepare for their second game of the season. Secondly, they can exercise some demons by beating the team that ruined their season in 2012. Winning on opening night won’t erase a playoff loss, but it will help. Last but not least, it gives the Broncos a great chance to get off to a 1-0 start.
The Broncos hosting the Ravens is a big game on paper but the defending champions are nowhere near as good as they were when we last saw them. They have been gutted by free agency and retirements and will be in somewhat of a rebuilding mode.
The Broncos, on the other hand, have only gotten better with their free agent additions and they have one goal this season; win the Super Bowl. The Broncos and their fans will be extremely motivated for this one; the Ravens could be walking into a hornet’s nest on opening night.
Nothing is official yet, but Ravens at Broncos makes too much sense for it not to be the opening game of the season. It features the defending champion playing the favorite for 2013. Throw in the storylines from the playoff game last January, and it is just too good for the NFL to pass up. Plus if Elvis Dumervil does sign with the Ravens, then there’s another juicy storyline.
If you are a Broncos fan, make sure September 5th is open because I have a feeling the Broncos are going to be playing football on that night.
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