Denver Broncos: Chris Harris to Play a Key Role Against Ravens

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Featured Columnist IVJanuary 8, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Chris Harris #25 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his interception against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 15, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Outside of Denver, how many football fans can name the Denver Broncos starting cornerbacks?

They all know Champ Bailey, but Chris Harris is still relatively unknown from a league-wide standpoint. On Sunday when the Broncos meet the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs, Harris will be thrust into the national spotlight.

With Bailey likely taking the assignment of the Ravens' deep threat in Torrey Smith, Harris will be matched up against the very physical veteran Anquan Boldin. Boldin had a huge game against Indianapolis in the Wild Card Round, catching five passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. His 145 receiving yards were the most in franchise postseason history, surpassing the mark of 108 set by Todd Heap in January 2010.

Nothing can help Baltimore pull off the upset more than a few deep balls, and Boldin is capable in that department. Against the Colts, his receptions of 50 and 46 yards were the biggest plays in the game, and they allowed the Ravens to open up in the second half.

Harris has had a stellar season and continually proves what a great compliment to Bailey he truly is. On the year, the second-year player out of Kansas had 61 tackles and three interceptions. Two of those he returned for a touchdown and one of those was against the Ravens. On that play, Harris stepped in front of a pass intended for Boldin just before halftime and raced 98 yards for a touchdown.

It was the longest interception return for a touchdown in team history.

Aside from that, Harris has become a sure tackler and a gritty defender that will give Boldin all he can handle on Sunday. In the first meeting between the teams, Boldin did not make a single catch.

This will be a key matchup in this game and any success Baltimore has may come through the Ravens trying to throw the deep ball on Denver's secondary.

Denver has a 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback in Bailey, who is one of the best to ever play the position. But after Sunday, many more people will know who Harris is, too.