The reigning Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens visit Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, Thursday September 5th, to open up the 2013-14 NFL regular season and what a way to open it up with a much hyped game. As you can recall, the Ravens eliminated the Broncos from the AFC Divisional round with a 38-35 double-overtime victory, in Denver. The Broncos were looking like Super Bowl favorites, up till that point. Now Peyton Manning looks to exact revenge on these Ravens, which he has done in previous years after losing in the playoffs. Here are the Ravens vs Broncos NFL Point Spreads for the 2013 NFL Season Opener. NFL oddsmakers have the Broncos listed as -9.5 point home favorites over the Ravens with the total set at 48 points.
The Ravens are a team top-heavy at wide receiver and paper-thin in the backfield. Rookie WR’s Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown have made the cut; Baltimore currently houses a whopping seven pass-catchers. The Ravens will go into the season with Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Brandon Stokley as their top three targets, but Mellette and Brown have an opportunity for big contributions right away after outstanding summers.
Baltimore is down to just Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce at the runningback position, which isn’t a bad thing. Rice played all 16 games and finished with 1,143 yards rushing with 9 touchdowns and one fumble, while Pierce ended with 532 yards rushing with one touchdown and no fumbles.
Elvis Dumervil, 29, is one of the key pieces to a new-look Ravens defense. Baltimore no longer has Ray Lewis and Ed Reed running the show. The Ravens watched their leader in sacks (Paul Kruger) and interceptions (Cary Williams) from last season’s championship team sign elsewhere in free agency. They also cut last season’s leader in tackles (Bernard Pollard). Dumervil brings something the Ravens have lacked over the years — a Pro Bowl pass-rusher to line up opposite of Terrell Suggs. Over the past six seasons, Suggs has had one only teammate record more than seven sacks in a season. Dumervil has the most sacks over the past three seasons with 37.5, which is 11 more than anyone else in the league.
The Broncos announced that Julius Thomas was named the Broncos’ official starting tight end and Ronnie Hillman remains first in line at running back. Hillman took most of the first-team reps throughout training camp, with rookie Montee Ball stuck as the backup. Knowshon Moreno is No. 3 on the Broncos’ depth chart, but he could be very active on passing downs. Thomas is the most explosive athlete of the tight end group and could get plenty of targets in the passing game, as the Broncos look to take advantage of single coverage.
Peyton Manning has done well in the past when it comes to avenging brutal playoff losses, and this can be marked back to the Indianapolis Colts slaughter of the New England Patriots on Monday night football in 2005. Manning was 0-7 at Foxboro up to that point and had repeatedly exited the playoffs at the Pats’ hands, yet guided Indy to a 40-21 rout. More recently, Manning exacted revenge over a San Diego Chargers team he’s historically had postseason (and regular season) trouble with, pulling the sweep in 2012. This campaign began with Denver picking apart the Pittsburgh Steelers, who famously upset Manning’s Colts in the playoffs following a near-perfect regular season.
WR Wes Welker takes over the slot position, which sounds like the most perfect pairing on earth for Manning. Welker had 1,354 yards receiving with 6 touchdowns and three fumbles for the New England Patriots. Welker suffered a minor right ankle sprain during a preseason game on August 17th but expects to be ready for Thursday’s game against the Ravens.
Recent Trends to Consider:
Ravens are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 meetings.
Favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Ravens are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Denver.
Broncos are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Thursday games.
Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. AFC.
Ravens are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 1.
Ravens are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
Ravens vs Broncos
When: Thursday Sept 5th@8:30 PM ET
Pick: Broncos -9.5
The Bottom Line: Manning has proven that he can rebound from playoff loses against teams that have eliminated his team from the playoffs. The Broncos have many talented receivers for Manning to throw to and their defense is capable of stopping the Ravens. We recommend you signup with Bovada to receive a 10% signup bonus heading into the 2013-14 NFL regular season.