After a game last week that may be one of the coolest wins in Ravens history, the team will face another tough test today, with the Denver Ortons coming to town. Kyle Orton, the quarterback who the team is named after, leads the NFL right now with 1,419 passing yards. In comparison, Joe Flacco has 920 yards through the air. Orton’s carried the Broncos to a 2-2 record, despite his team being dead last in rushing offense, and their defense giving up 21 points and 322 yards per game.
Full preview and predictions, after the jump.
First, a look at the statistical leaders for each team:
- Passing: Joe Flacco (83-145, 920 yards, 5 TDs, 70.5 Rating)
- Rushing: Ray Rice (60 attempts, 230 yards)
- Receiving: Anquan Boldin (27 receptions, 355 yards, 3 TDs)
- Tackles: Ray Lewis (20 solo, 10 assists, 1.0 sacks)
- Touchdowns: Anquan Boldin (3 TDs)
- Passing: Kyle Orton (118-175, 1,419 yards, 6 TDs, 96.3 Rating)
- Rushing: Knowshon Moreno (39 carries, 111 yards, 2 TDs)
- Receiving: Brandon Lloyd (25 receptions, 454 yards, 1 TD)
- Tackles: D.J. Williams (23 solo, 7 assists, 1.5 sacks)
- Touchdowns: Eddie Royal, Knowshon Moreno (2 TDs)
While predictability isn’t usually seen in a successful offense, it’s worked for Denver this season. Kyle Orton has been airing the ball out almost 44 times per game, with Brandon Lloyd, who’s second in the NFL with 454 receiving yards, being the target of many of those passes. With a secondary that is fairly inexperienced, and missing two of their best players (Ed Reed and Domonique Foxworth), defending the Broncos’ passing game could be a tall task to achieve, but if the stats don’t lie this season, they should have no problem doing it. The Ravens surprisingly lead the NFL with only 119 passing yards allowed per game. While they haven’t gone up against the greatest of quarterbacks (Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Seneca Wallace, Charlie Batch), those guys have succeeded against every other defense they’ve faced. Sanchez has been one of the NFL’s best passers in the last three weeks, Palmer is 5th in the NFL in passing yards, Wallace has been solid for the Browns, and Batch had a big game against Tampa Bay. If the secondary can keep up their current level of play, the Broncos’ offense could be in for a long day.
To win, the Ravens need to….dominate possession. Even when your defense is vaunted like the Ravens’ is, the best defense can sometimes be a good offense. Orton has shown that when given the chance, he can throw for a huge amount of yards. To prevent him from doing that, the Ravens need to keep him and his offense off the field. If Ray Rice and Willis McGahee can continually move the chains, and Joe Flacco can get into a groove with his receivers, the Ravens could move the ball up and down the field all game long against a fairly weak Broncos defense. They only have four sacks on the season, and without a legitimate pass rush, Flacco can get settled in and really focus on the short passing game. Considering the fact that they moved the ball easily against the Steelers defense last week and didn’t give Rashard Mendenhall the chance to be on the field for a long time, Flacco and Co. should be able to do the same today.
I think the Ravens should take care of this one. Orton hasn’t faced a legitimate pass defense yet, and to be perfectly honest, he’s gone up against the four weakest secondaries on his 2010 schedule. The Ravens’ defense should be able to contain him, and stuff the mediocre Broncos rushing attack. I look for Flacco to continue his string of stellar performances, and for Rice and McGahee to have a good combined effort. Ravens win 24-10, with Joe Flacco as your player of the game.