Dec 6, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; NFL network reporter Alex Flanagan (left) interviews Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after the game against the Oakland Raiders at the O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
This week I was able to trade some questions with Broncos Fansided Site, Predominantly Orange, Editor Kim Constantinesco, Here is What she had to say about the matchup, for my thoughts and coverage of the matchup from the broncos side of things, check out Predominantly Orange, it’s a great site.
1. Is Peyton the MVP?
I could throw a whole bunch of impressive stats at you (how about seven 300+ yard games this season and 30 touchdowns?), but the fact of the matter is Manning means just as much in the locker room as he does on the field.
Because of him, the Broncos are 10-3 and gunning for a first round bye. There’s a different mentality around the Broncos’ practice facility. Players no longer listen to music in the locker room since Manning’s arrival. It’s almost all business all the time. Manning is the ultimate player-coach, and he expects his guys to take care of themselves, watch film away from team headquarters, and put in the extra time.
One guy took this team from an 8-8 wild card winners last year to the talk of the league this year. You’d be hard pressed to find another player who means as much to his team as Peyton Manning does to the Broncos. Tom Brady is definitely in the running as well.
2. What, aside from manning, has fueled the broncos from their slow start to fighting for a 2 seed in the playoffs.
Give credit to the defense for not only leading the league in forcing three-and-outs, but they’re also coming up with huge plays. They’re 2nd in sacks, tied for 6th in interceptions, and tied for 6th in forced fumbles. When the offense has stalled, it’s been the defense that’s kept the team in games, even scoring touchdowns off a few interceptions.
I also have to credit special teams. Trindon Holliday is one of the best return men in the league right now, already with a 105-yard kick return and a 76-yard punt return in his 8 games in Denver. The Broncos are deadly from all three phases and that’s what has lifted them from their slow start. They just needed some time to gel.
3. Who are the broncos going to use to cover Torrey smith and can that person cover him one on one or will the broncos be force to rotate a safety to help? Who do you like in that matchup?
I think the Broncos will use Champ Bailey to cover Smith particularly in the red zone. Champ is still a shutdown corner and can take any receiver in the league one-on-one without much problem. Of course, that leaves Anquan Boldin. Chris Harris will match up with him and I see some safety help coming if need be. The Broncos are so fast up front that the team’s corners don’t have to lock down for very long. Flacco won’t have that much time to find his guys.
4. What do you think the broncos biggest advantage and their worst disadvantage taking on the Ravens?
I think the Broncos’ biggest advantage is their ability to make huge plays in all three phases. Not many teams are efficient in stopping all three phases. The biggest disadvantage in regards to Baltimore is the Broncos’ inability to win there. It seems like every time the Broncos travel there, it’s a major let down.
This is going to be a close one with the Broncos winning 27-24 in overtime.