The Broncos and Ravens have squared off four times here in Baltimore. All four times, the Ravens have rolled over the boys from the Mile High City.
Last year, the Ravens put a 30-7 beatdown on the Broncos, who were 6-0 entering that game. Josh McDaniels and company will be looking for a little payback today, but the Ravens will be looking to earn another win over Denver and move to 4-1.
Here are three keys for the Ravens this afternoon:
Slow down Kyle Orton
Never did I think I'd be saying that a key to winning an NFL football game would be to slow down Kyle Orton. But that's what the Ravens have to do if they're going to pick up a win today. Four games into the 2010 season, Orton is the league's leading passer and is on pace for well over 5,000 passing yards. He has four quality receivers and with Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno out of today's game with a hamstring injury, Orton should be flinging the ball around quite a bit this afternoon. The Ravens' No. 1 ranked pass defense will get tested today.
Contain Royal and Thomas in the return game
Broncos wide receivers Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas are dangerous on the offensive side of the ball, but that's not the only aspect of the game where they can do some damage. Royal is an explosive punt returner, averaging over 10 yards per return this year, and Thomas, the rookie out of Georgia Tech, has put up an average of 36 yards per kickoff return. The Ravens need to keep those two guys in check and make Denver work a long field today.
Get the running game on track
After having the NFL's fifth-best rushing attack last year, the Ravens have yet to get that aspect of their offense going this season, as they've averaged just 84 yards per game on the ground, 24th best in the league. With Ray Rice back near full health after bruising his knee two weeks ago, the Ravens should have a chance to turn those numbers around today. Denver hasn't done a poor job against the run this season, averaging just over 100 rushing yards per game, but they're not exactly stout up front, either. It would be nice to see the Ravens establish the run both so they can keep the Broncos' offense off the field, and also to get Rice in a bit of a groove.