Breaking Down the Baltimore Ravens' Gameplan for a Massive Upset in Denver

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Breaking Down the Baltimore Ravens' Gameplan for a Massive Upset in Denver
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens are nine-point underdogs against the Denver Broncos in Saturday's AFC Divisional round game, and at first glance, that number appears low.

After all, the Ravens were blown out by 17 points against the Broncos in Baltimore, where the Ravens are borderline unstoppable. Further, the Ravens are just 1-2 against repeat opponents this season, with both of their losses in the AFC North coming in the second games of those respective series.

The Broncos have more talent, more athleticism, and they are at home. On paper, there is litle reason to think the Ravens have a chance.

Look a little closer, though, and there are reasons for optimism for Baltimore. 

The No. 1 reason that this will not be a blowout is the Ravens' pedigree of playoff success. Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens' worst loss in the playoffs was a 20-3 thumping by the Indianapolis Colts. That's a big margin, but it was more competitive than the score indicates. Outside of that loss, the Ravens have never lost by double-digits in the playoffs under Harbaugh.

The past two years saw the Ravens lose by seven against the Steelers and by three against the Patriots. Both of these games came down to the wire and were just as close as the scores indicate. 

Further, the Ravens are much healthier than they were in Week 15. Ray Lewis is back and motivating the Ravens, Bernard Pollard is back on the field, and guys like Ed Reed and Dannell Ellerbe are as fresh as they've been all season.

There are reasons for optimism here, but the Ravens will still need a flawless gameplan. Let's take a look at what they need to do to pull of the monumental upset.

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