My, how eight months can change things. The Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens look a lot different than they did when Joe Flacco‘s Hail Mary sent Baltimore to the AFC Title game instead of Denver. Put simply, both teams’ defenses have seen better days while their offense have been revamped for another year of contending for AFC dominance.
On Thursday night, Peyton Manning and company get to pick up right where they left off in January with an opportunity to take down the defending champs at home, which is odd enough in itself, but we won’t get into the ridiculous conflict with MLB.
Manning has added Wes Welker to his arsenal and is looking to join the 5,000-yard passer club while making up for the absence of Von Miller. The Broncos are also counting on their young stable of running backs after cutting ties with Willis McGahee.
On the flip side, Flacco is now without Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, so it will be interesting to see if Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley can fill their shoes, as ironic as that may sound. And after losing virtually half of their defense this offseason, the Ravens have somewhat re-loaded, so we’ll see if they can continue that tradition of defensive dominance without Ray Lewis to hold everything together.