Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens Preview and Pick – Point Spread – Week 8

Note: If you’re looking for
the 2013 Week 1 game on 9/5/13 between these teams, please go here: Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos Pick.

Denver Broncos (6-0 SU, 6-0 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS), NFL Week 8, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, November 1, 2009, M&T Stadium, Baltimore, Md. TV: CBS
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Broncos +4/Ravens -4
Over/Under: N/A

The Denver Broncos are like the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. They get no respect. The 6-0 Broncos, coming off a bye week, will be an underdog to the 3-3 Baltimore Ravens, who are also coming off a bye. The Broncos are not only 6-0 SU, but also 6-0 ATS.

Denver will be an underdog for the fourth straight week. This will be only the fifth time ever that an undefeated team is an underdog this late in the season. The last three times it happened, it was the Colts and they covered all three times in 2006 and 2007. The one time the team didn’t cover was in 2000 when the Vikings lost to the Buccaneers. This will also be just the 17th time ever that a team is an underdog for the fourth straight game after winning the last three games straight up as an underdog. The last four times it has happened, the underdog has won the game straight up. The underdog has covered the last five times it has happened. The last time it happened was when the Giants upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

The Broncos are playing well above expectations this season. Young 33-year old head coach Josh McDaniels has already proven himself as a very good coach. He has made quarterback Kyle Orton look like a Pro Bowler. The Broncos defense has been incredible, allowing just 11 points per game. They are third in the league against the run and second in the league in sacks. And the scary part is that the Broncos offense is still getting better. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal just recently got in sync with Orton and the offense. Rookie running back Knowshon Moreno is still learning, but is getting better each week. And fellow running back Correll Buckhalter came back from injury in the last game against the Chargers.

The Ravens started the season 3-0 with wins over the Chiefs, Chargers and Browns. Since then, they’ve lost three in a row to the Patriots, Bengals and Vikings. The three losses were by a combined 11 points. But the home wins over the Chiefs and Browns aren’t anything to brag about, so the Ravens are basically 1-3 against good competition with all four games being decided by six or less points.

While the Ravens won 31-26 at San Diego in Week 2, the Broncos won 34-23 in San Diego in their last game. Both teams blew out the Browns. But the Ravens lost to the Bengals and the Patriots, while the Broncos defeated both of those teams. The Broncos also have wins over the Raiders and the Cowboys.

The Ravens have been throwing the ball a lot more than they’ve been running the ball. Quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown for 1,674 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Running back Ray Rice has 441 rushing yards, 325 receiving yards and a combined four touchdowns, while Willis McGahee has 202 rushing yards, 58 receiving yards and a combined seven touchdowns. Rice is averaging 6.0 yards per carry, and Rice is averaging 4.5 per carry.

The Ravens have been running the ball very well, but they have about a 3:2 pass-to-run ratio. In their three losses, the Ravens have run the ball 18 times or less in each game. In the three wins, they have run the ball at least 28 times in each game. The key for the Ravens is to establish a running attack and focus on their ground game more, but they might be difficult against the stingy Broncos run defense. Instead, Flacco may have to air it out, and that could result in a loss for the Ravens.

The Broncos are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games. The total has gone under in five of Denver’s six games this season. The Ravens are 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games and 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games overall. The total has gone over in five of Baltimore’s last seven games.

Ryno’s Pick: Giving an undefeated team that has proven itself week after a week more than a touchdown is dangerous. The Broncos have been underdogs the last three games and they’ve covered and won all of them. There is no difference this week. Sure, the Ravens need a win to avoid a fourth straight loss and falling below. 500, but it was a similar case with the Chargers and the Patriots. The Broncos have been incredible this season. After their bye week, they could be even better. They will contain the Ravens running attack and force them to throw the ball. As noted above, the Ravens have only been successful when they pound the ball, not when they stick to the passing game. Take the Broncos +4.