Rahim Moore, Peyton Manning and the rest of the Denver Broncos will look for revenge as they host the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night to kick off the 2013 NFL season in style.
It was just last year in the divisional round that the Ravens went to Denver and pulled out a miraculous win after Broncos safety Moore forgot he was the last line of defense and inexplicably allowed a deep, late pass.
Many expect the Broncos to surpass that shocking exit from last year. Along with the San Francisco 49ers, Bovada has the Broncos listed as the favorites to win this year's Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, after an offseason that saw their roster suffer from the annual purging that goes along with winning the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens have the eighth-lowest odds to win the Super Bowl.
When: Thursday, Sept. 5 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.
TV Coverage: NBC
Spread: Broncos -7.5 (according to Bovada on Sept. 4)
Injuries (via NFL.com)
Key Storyline: Elvis Lives...In Baltimore
This is such an enticing early-season matchup that it is hard to pick out any one storyline. We have the Broncos looking to avenge the playoff failure, Rahim Moore trying to redeem himself from his personal failure, Peyton Manning looking for new target Wes Welker, Joe Flacco looking to justify his new contract and the Ravens looking to prove doubters wrong.
Still, what jumps out at above all of these is the curious case of Elvis Dumervil.
The veteran pass-rusher will suit up for his first NFL game not in a Broncos uniform while preparing to take on his old team. That is a juicy storyline in itself, but Dumervil didn't get to this situation under normal circumstances.
The Ravens added Dumervil via free agency, but that did not occur until after the Broncos and Dumervil had agreed to a new contract for lesser value. However, that contract never became official because, as Garrett Downing of the Ravens official website points out, the fax from Dumervil's camp was seven minutes past the deadline at which point Dumervil's former contract was guaranteed. So, the Broncos released him prior to that deadline.
Dumervil has to be itching to prove the Broncos were foolish to let him get away.
The Broncos are fairly healthy favorites in this contest, but I'm not buying it. While many people are down on the Ravens after their offseason losses, this is still going to be a very good football team.
The defense lost a lot of veteran leadership (Ray Lewis and Ed Reed), but it will be just as explosive as last year.
Meanwhile, the offense will suffer from the loss of receiver Anquan Boldin and the injury to Dennis Pitta, but I've got a feeling that Joe Flacco is ready to start performing in the regular season like he does in the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Broncos have suffered some injuries along the offensive line. This will make it hard for Manning and company to get into a nice rhythm—especially in the first game of the season.
The Ravens will start off the season with an upset.
Baltimore 24, Denver 20
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