The Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos are set to square off in NFL playoff betting action this week at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. But before you make your NFL picks for the big game on Saturday, check out some of the great NFL betting trends that we have for the duel!
Baltimore Ravens Notes: LB Ray Lewis isn’t going to get a chance to play at home again in his career, but he did finish off his final home game in style by taking down the Indianapolis Colts 24-9. The game was definitely worrisome for Baltimore fans though, as the defense allowed over 400 yards and really only ended up getting the job done thanks to a pair of forced turnovers and a pair of fourth down stops. That being said, it was a great victory for the Ravens after the team was beaten in four straight games both SU and ATS by playoff teams prior to this point. Baltimore had started the year by beating both the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots, but it didn’t beat another playoff team this year, including going 0-3 SU and ATS on the road against postseason foes. That will all have to come to a close this week if the Ravens are to continue on to a second straight AFC Championship Game.
It’ll be interesting to see how RB Ray Rice rebounds from one of the most interesting games of his career. His yardage totals were okay, but he also fumbled twice, losing both. For a man that only had six fumbles lost for his whole career, it is intriguing for sure to see how well he hangs onto the football. If not though, RB Bernard Pierce did rush for over 100 yards against the Colts last week, and he is really coming on strong at the end of the campaign as a reserve for Rice. QB Joe Flacco threw for 282 yards on just 12 completions last week. He now has nine TD passes against just two picks over the course of his last three years in the playoffs, a far cry from the one touchdown and six picks that he had in his first two years in the second season. WR Anquan Boldin set a franchise record last week for the most receiving yards in a game in the playoffs with 145.
Baltimore came out of its first playoff game this year relatively healthy. Lewis looked like his old self with 13 tackles on the day, and he showed no signs of troubles in his first game back after his torn triceps muscle healed. T Jah Reid sat out of the Wild Card round with a toe injury, while LB Dannell Ellerbe left the game against Indy with an ankle injury and is questionable for this week’s game.
Denver Broncos Notes: There is no man in the league that deserves more credit for what he was able to do this year than QB Peyton Manning. Forget about the 400 completions, the 4,659 passing yards, the 37 TDs, and the fact that he could win both the Comeback Player of the Year award and the MVP award in the same season. He came back from a neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season, and he did so with a brand new team. The Broncos started off the year at just 2-3 SU and ATS, and they were down 24-0 on the road to the San Diego Chargers in Week 6. They scored the next 35 points in that game to win 35-24, and they ultimately have gone on to win 11 straight games, going 8-3 ATS in the process. Denver has outscored its foes 346-151 since the second half of that game against the Chargers, but it still has some real question marks to answer. Manning has only gone 3-6 SU and ATS in games played outside in the playoffs in his career, and that just isn’t going to cut it if that is going to continue now that his home games are played in frigid Mile High instead of in the comfort of Lucas Oil Stadium (or the RCA Dome). There is also a question as to how well this Denver team is going to play against the top flight of teams in the AFC. There were only five games played all year against playoff teams, and the team went 2-3 SU and ATS in those games, including getting beaten by both the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans, one of which would be waiting on tap next week if this one is won.
Oh by the way, Manning did all of this in 2012 with a team that did nothing but run the ball for most of last season with QB Tim Tebow calling the shots, and he lost his starting tailback for a good chunk of the season. With RB Willis McGahee out of the fold, RB Knowshon Moreno has stepped up and rushed for 528 yards and four scores in eight games. Both WR Demaryius Thomas and WR Eric Decker were 1,000+ yard receivers this year, as Thomas finished the campaign with 1,434 yards and 10 scores, and Decker had 1,064 yards and 13 trips to the end zone. Both TE Joel Dreessen and WR Brandon Stokley each had five TDs as well, while Stokley and TE Jacob Tamme each had over 500 receiving yards on the season. It’s not a shock to think that the Broncos finished the year ranked fourth in total offense at 397.9 yards per game and second in scoring at 30.1 points per game. What’s more surprising is that the club ended up allowing just 290.8 yards and 18.1 points per game, ranking second and fourth in the NFL respectively.
McGahee is back at practice, but he is still figured to miss this game with a knee injury that was originally slated to keep him out until at least the AFC Championship Game should the team make it that far. DB Tracy Porter has a concussion and isn’t expected to play, while FB Chris Gronkowski and WR/KR Trindon Holliday are questionable with a hamstring and an ankle injury respectively.
Head To Head: Back in Week 14, the Ravens took their best shot at the Broncos and still came up short, losing 34-17 in a game that was really never close in the second half. Denver led the game 31-3 before Baltimore scored a couple of late touchdowns to make the game look a tad more respectable. The Broncos though, have had a terrible history against the Ravens. Baltimore has gone 6-4 SU and 7-3 ATS in the 10 meetings that these teams have had since it moved from Cleveland, and since the team has become relevant in 2000, it is holding down the Broncos to just 14.2 points per game (since 2000).
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.