Divisional Round: Baltimore Ravens At Denver Broncos

Joe Flacco had an ordinary year, but he led the Ravens to a fairly convincing win over the Colts in the Wild-Card game. Flacco’s numbers were not overwhelming – he was 12-of-23 for 282 yards with two TDs and no interceptions – but he ran the offense with confidence. He’ll have to be at his best against a smart and aggressive Denver defense.
Winner The Broncos got far more than they ever could have hoped to get from Peyton Manning this season. He’s in a neck-and-neck battle with Adrian Peterson for the MVP award this season. Manning completed 68.6 percent of his passes, threw for 4,659 yards and had a 37-11 TD-to-interception ratio. While it won’t come easy against the Ravens defense, Manning should have an advantage in this game.
The Ravens can’t put it all on Flacco and that’s the last thing head coach John Harbaugh wants to do. While he was not at his best against the Colts, the Ravens will give the ball to Ray Rice. He is a gritty and tough competitor who can explode once he gets into the open field. Anquan Boldin can make the tough catches on third downs and tight end Dennis Pitta (7 TDs) is a solid red zone target.
Winner The Broncos got a lift from running back Knowshon Moreno once Willis McGahee went down with a knee injury. Moreno can get through the small cracks provided by the offensive line and is tough to bring down. Demaryius Thomas is a fast downfield target who has improved dramatically while playing with Manning. Decker will catch everything that comes his way.
The Ravens did not have the kind of consistency on defense that fans are used to seeing from them, but they were at their best in the Wild-Card win over the Colts, keeping Andrew Luck & Co. out of the endzone. The Ravens were 17th in total defense and they got a lift from the return of middle linebacker Ray Lewis. Strong safety Bernard Pollard is the best tackler on the team.
Winner The Broncos are a nasty, hard-hitting and aggressive defensive team. The Broncos were second overall on defense and it’s hard to find a more effective defensive player than pass rushing linebacker Von Miller. He had 18.5 sacks during the regular season. Champ Bailey is still one of the best cover men in the league. He had 66 tackles and 11 passes defensed.
Special Teams
Winner The Ravens have perhaps the best special teams play in the league. Jacoby Jones is an outstanding return specialist who can return punts and kickoffs the distance. Placekicker Justin Tucker has had a remarkable year, making 30-of-33 FG attempts, including 4-of-4 from 50 yards and beyond.
The Broncos had an advantage on opponents on punt and kickoff returns. Matt Prater was solid but not spectacular as a placekicker, making 26-of-32 FG attempts. Britton Colquitt averaged 46.3 yards per punt and he dropped 27 of 67 punts inside the opponents’ 20.

The Winner Is

Winner Broncos
3 out of 4

The Broncos went into Baltimore in Week 15 and registered a shockingly easy 34-17 victory. While a better effort can be expected from the Ravens, the Broncos have been powerful and consistent this year. It would be difficult to see Manning losing this game when a chance to go to the AFC championship game would be his reward for winning.


  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 23:  Kevin Hogan #8 of the Cleveland Browns scrambles with the ball during the second quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns

    The Jets got their 2nd win of the year last week, while the Browns are still searching for that elusive first win.

  2. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson #3 makes a pass in the first half of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium during the first quarter of the game on October 23, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints

    The Seahawks and Saints meet in a battle of top defense versus top offense.

  3. DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks for a receiver against the Los Angeles Rams during first half action at Ford Field on October 16, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans passes in the second half of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Detroit Lions at Houston Texans

    The Lions are red hot winning their last three games and now face a reeling Houston Texans team coming off a Monday night blowout loss.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Miami

Weather Forecast 24/7
Tracking Hurricane Matthew: Interactive Maps
Check Your Pro Football Challenge Results

Listen Live