With the divisional round set, let’s take a quick look at the main storylines setting up for this weekend’s playoffs. We’ll have much more comprehensive coverage through the week, but here’s a quick primer, starting with the two Saturday games. Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos Saturday, Jan. 12, 4:30 p.m. ET Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo. The Broncos thrashed the Ravens, 34-17, at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium on December 16, and that game was more about the failures of Baltimore’s offense than anything else. The Ravens’ first eight drives: Fumble, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, end of half. The Joe Facco interception was returned 98 yards for a touchdown by Denver cornerback Chris Harris, and once the Broncos got their offense warmed up, it was off to the races. It was the same week that Ravens head coach fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, and ever since then, the Ravens have been trying to get their offense on track. No such issues for the red-hot Broncos, who haven’t lost a game since October 7. Peyton Manning and an improved defense have been the headlines, but don’t overlook the impact of running back Knowshon Moreno, the former draft bust who’s come on big in the second half of the season. Moreno racked up 115 rushing yards in that win over the Ravens, and unless Baltimore’s defense looks as stout as it did against the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round, this could get out of hand fast. Then again, as Broncos head coach John Fox noted on Monday, this is a different Ravens team. “They had some guys missing, no question, when we played them there,” Fox said. “They’ve got their inspirational leader in Ray Lewis, made his comeback yesterday and obviously will be part of their action when they come here. [Safety Bernard] Pollard didn’t play, [linebacker Dannell] Ellerbe didn’t play, so they’ve got three pretty formidable guys back on defense that they did not have in our last contest. Then offensively, more the same. [Offensive lineman Marshal] Yanda didn’t play. They totally reshuffled their offensive line. [Ed] Dickson, the tight end, didn’t play in our earlier game so this will be a completely different game, a completely different test. A lot of new faces.” Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers Saturday, Jan. 12, 8:00 p.m. ET Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif.
Most recent posts
- First Down: RG-Glee, QB’s freak recovery echoes Peterson’s (Roto Arcade)
- Broncos’ Hillman bulks up for second season in league
- Here’s Why the Denver Broncos Don’t Want to Be a Super Bowl Favorite (Yahoo! Contributor Network)
- Former AFL star Costa dies (The SportsXchange)