The Broncos have played three of their possible five matchups in the AFC playoffs so far in the regular season. They play their fourth this Sunday in the Ravens.
The Ravens stand at 9-4 and are at a crossroads seeing as that they are on a two-game losing streak. Both losses have come against teams led by backup quarterbacks in Charlie Batch and Kirk Cousins.
The good news? Ray Lewis might return this week.
The Ravens have struggled mightily since Lewis and top cornerback Lardarius Webb were lost due to injuries. In Baltimore's first game after Lewis was injured versus the Cowboys in Week 6, they were thumped by the Texans 43-13. The Ravens did defeat New England 31-30 in Week 3, but ironically, the Patriots thumped the Texans in return 42-14 in Week 14.
Funny how things work in the NFL.
The Broncos will get a glimpse of what to expect when they visit Baltimore this Sunday. The reason why this matchup is a bit dangerous for the Broncos in the playoffs is because of how dangerous a team Baltimore can be.
Is it true they haven't looked like the AFC contender that they looked pre-Lewis injury? Sure.
But if they get Ray back and look anywhere close to the team we saw come one play short of the Super Bowl last season, this team could very well advance to the Super Bowl.
The defense is veteran-laden and the team is battle-tested. In coach John Harbaugh's four seasons with the team, Baltimore has advanced to the postseason every year. Two times they have advanced to the AFC Championship game.
The team is balanced, as it ranks ninth in offense and 10th in defense. However, the defense does rank 24th in yards allowed, and it has allowed four 300-yard passers in 13 games. That is unheard of for a Ravens defense.
The 3-4 defense normally causes problems with quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, who rely on footwork rather than speed to escape the pressure of defense. However, 3-4 defenses usually thrive on pressure from all angles, including on the interior.
Despite Manning and Brady's excellent prowess and footwork, if there is pressure up the interior of the line, it makes it nearly impossible for a quarterback to step into his throws and complete them.
The Broncos have the edge over the Ravens in this matchup, especially if it's played in Denver.
If the Ravens do play in Baltimore, it's a completely different game. Joe Flacco is excellent at home and bad on the road. Entering Baltimore's game vs. Pittsburgh in Week 13, Flacco had completed 66.5 percent of his passes with 1612 yards, 10 touchdowns, three interceptions and 108.3 quarterback rating at home.
On the road, Flacco completes just 55.3 percent of his passes for 1,238 yards, four touchdowns, four interceptions for a 70.2 quarterback rating. Flacco is historically a "hot-and-cold" quarterback.
So it makes all of the difference in the world whether this game is played in either Denver or Baltimore.