The Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens meet head to head this weekend in an offering that’s probably one of the best NFL tickets of the season and either one of these teams could easily end up representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. But before they get there, they’ll have to deal with each other. That means Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis, the focal points of each team, will be doing battle on the field of play.
The Denver Broncos have experienced a revival that strongly underlines the difference a top flight quarterback can make to an NFL team. The Broncos are 13-3 in the regular season and easily won the AFC West. In 2012 the Peyton Manning of old came out, surprising many including this writer. Manning sits near the top of the NFL in several key stats, touchdowns, completion percentage, and QB rating. He’s also tied for the best record of all, 13 wins under his guidance.
While all this is great it’s my feeling that Peyton Manning is interested in only one goal, wiping out the frustration of past failures with a win in another Super Bowl. For a guy who has done as much in the NFL as almost anyone, there aren’t many things left. At the very least he wants to shut up his little brother at family gatherings.
On the other side of the ball the Baltimore Ravens have rallied around Ray Lewis, trying to finish his career with another Super Bowl ring. Lewis has returned from injury at a crucial time for Baltimore and his presence in Denver could tip the scales. There’s a fly in the ointment though, in my opinion. As good as Ray Lewis is, and he’s one of the truly remarkable defensive NFL players in decades, he can’t keep the ball out of Mannings hands. He could make a play or two to swing things. But if the Broncos make a concerted effort to keep the ball away from Lewis there’s not much the Ravens can do. Unfortunately for Baltimore, keeping the ball out of Manning’s hands is impossible.
I think the Broncos take this one.