Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos Have Much To Prove Against Baltimore Ravens

Aaron MeeCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2010

Kyle Orton must stay up-right today.
Kyle Orton must stay up-right today.Larry French/Getty Images

Nearly a year ago, the Denver Broncos traveled to Baltimore to take on the Ravens as an undefeated team that was considered to be one of the year's biggest surprises.

The game was supposed to be a showcase of two of the NFL's elite teams.

As it turns out, the Broncos should have never boarded the plane to Maryland, as they were embarrassed by the Ravens in a 30-7, joke of a contest.

Kyle Orton had his weakest outing of the season, and struggled to find the time to make any plays happen downfield behind an offensive line that seemed overwhelmed by the power and explosiveness of the Ravens' nasty defensive line.

Baltimore was able to avoid sending extra blitzers at Orton for the most part, as they were able to put plenty of pressure on Orton with simple four-man rushes. This, coupled with the Ravens ability to drop seven players into coverage proved to be disasterous for the Broncos, as they were only able to muster 200 yards of total offense.

It was a day to forget for the Broncos that season, but it's a day we know they will remember before they take the field against the Ravens today.

If there was one game on the schedule that you could circle as the defining game for this year's Broncos, it should be this one. This game will go a long way to show how far the Broncos have come from a season ago.

Last year we saw a Denver defense that was blindsided by Michael Oher and the Ravens' offense.

Denver did not have an answer for the Ravens' rushing attack, as they surrendered 125 yards and a score on the ground. Ray Rice's touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the final dagger in the Broncos' hearts.

They didn't have much of an answer for Joe Flacco either, as he completed 80 percent of his passes for 175 yards an a touchdown strike to Derrick Mason. They got plenty of pressure on him, but he did an excellent job of finding a way to make plays in the worst circumstances.

Heck, even Denver's special teams struggled, allowing Lardarius Webb to return a kick 95 yards for a touchdown.

It was a bad day at the office for the Denver defense.

Offensively, the Broncos did not fair any better. Kyle Orton, while turnover free, had possibly his least productive game as a Bronco, throwing for only 150 yards, without a score. He was limited to short passes, and never truly tested the Ravens' secondary.

Denver's rushing attack was only able to come up with 66 yards, but Knowshon Moreno, who will miss his third game this year with an injury, did give Denver their only score of the game.

It was a terrible day for the Broncos and their fans.

A win today would heal an old wound from a year ago, and more importantly, show that Kyle Orton and the Broncos are on the right track, and ready again to contend for a playoff spot.

I think that for Denver to get a win, they have got to find ways to keep Baltimores front seven out of Kyle Orton's face. This means that the Broncos will either have to run the ball well, or, more likely, gash the Ravens's defense for some big plays off of screen passes.

If the Broncos can keep Orton off his back, I like his chances at picking apart a very average Ravens secondary. If Orton doesn't get a little bit of time in the pocket, this could be a replay of a season ago for the Broncos offense.

Defensively, the Broncos have got to shut down Ray Rice, first an foremost. If they can hold him in check like they did Chris Johnson, I like Denver's chances to frustrate Flacco in the passing game, and get a win.

One thing is for certain, and that's that a win in Baltimore would be quite an accomplishment for Denver, and it would be a great way to get them back in the conversation as a possible contender this season.

This ought to be a great game today. I think Denver has a nice chance to upset the Ravens this week, and they squeak out a win in the final two minutes of regulation.

Denver gets the upset, 27-26.