Matchup: Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos
Thursday, Sept. 5, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
Pointspread: Denver -9.5
Total Line: 48
The Baltimore Ravens begin defense of last season’s Super Bowl title as heavy underdogs on the road. The main reason for such a wide spread is the number of question marks that surround this team coming into this season especially on defense. Joe Flacco got rewarded with a lucrative contract extension this offseason, but one of his primary targets in the passing game, Anquan Boldin, is now playing for San Francisco. The running game should remain a strength behind Ray Rice, but you get the feeling that Baltimore is going to have to put some points on the board to have any shot at winning this game.
There is a serious void in veteran leadership on the other side of the ball with the departure of Ed Reed and the retirement of Ray Lewis. How this all plays out on the field on Thursday night remains to be seen, the loss of both these players is bound to be felt somewhere along the line.
Denver is pretty much the consensus favorite to not just win the AFC this season, but to lay claim to this year’s Super Bowl title. The Broncos had the best record in the conference last season at 13-3 straight-up and would have probably been in last year’s title game if they ended-up on the right side of a 38-35 score in double overtime the last time these two teams met in last year’s Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Peyton Manning is another year removed from recovering from a neck surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2011 season. Linebacker Von Miller is serving out a league suspension, but Denver’s defense as a whole remains one of the best units in the league. There is a tremendous amount of talent throughout the lineup that is chomping at the bit to get this season underway.
Free NFL Pick
Giving that many points to a team like Baltimore is always a risky proposition, but in reality the gap between these two teams is possibly even wider than the current spread for this game might suggest. Do not get suckered into jumping on these points as the free NFL pick for this contest is to lay the 9.5 points and go with the home favorite.
Denver 31 Baltimore 17
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.