By Chris Schisler
Ravens vs. Broncos by the numbers
- Denver leads the league defensively with the fewest points allowed this season.
- The Broncos are a top-three defense in passing yards allowed, and total yards allowed, and rushing yards allowed
- The Ravens average 185.3 yards rushing per contest, which leads the league
- The Ravens average 239 yards passing per game.
- Something has to give. The Ravens’ offense is prolific and averages 27 points per game. The Broncos have been absolutely smothering on defense.
- Jackson has done so much of the heavy lifting for the Ravens. His passing attempts are up and he leads the Ravens in rushing with 251 yards.
- The Ravens pass rush is still an issue. Two of their five sacks have come from secondary players blitzing (Tavon Young, Chuck Clark)
- Sammy Watkins is quietly having a strong season. He has 12 receptions for 208 yards. If Marquise Brown does continue to struggle, the Ravens could lean on Watkins more. He’s the second leading receiver in this offense.
- Teddy Bridgewater has been a very efficient quarterback for the Broncos. He’s had 76.8 percent of his passes completed. That’s a number that will be hard to maintain and a sign of a quarterback who is feeling it to start the season.
- Despite drafting a rookie running back in Javontae Williams, the Broncos’ leading rusher is still Melvin Gordon. Gordon has one 100 yard rushing performance this season and is averaging 4.5 yards per attempt.
The turnover battle will be a big key:
- Lamar Jackson has been responsible for at least one turnover in each game this season. He has to clean up his game against a team that has four interceptions already this season.
- Denver protects the football. They’ve only given it up twice this year and Teddy Bridgewater, who has revived his career with the Broncos, hasn’t thrown an interception.
- The weather won’t be a factor in this game as it should be mild temperatures and a sunny day. I guess it beats the frigid winter games the Ravens are no stranger to in Denver.
- The Ravens have activated Le’Veon Bell from the practice squad.
- Even though Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin have returned to practice they’re not active for this game.
- The Ravens are looking for a bounce-back game from Marquise Brown who had several drops against the Lions.
- The Broncos get their first big test. Beating the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets doesn’t prove anything. The Ravens have a big win on their resume from week 2. If the Broncos can beat the Ravens it would be a statement game for them.
- Von Miller has returned to NFL prominence with four sacks in the early NFL season. Miller could be on his way to a comeback player of the year award- and may be in the defensive player of the year award.
Key battles in this game:
- Marlon Humphrey vs. Courtland Sutton: Sutton had nine receptions for 159 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week two. He had five receptions last week. Sutton is the big-bodied play-maker for Denver. Marlon Humphrey is a physical cornerback who can lock down on a key receiver. With no Jerry Juedy in this game, Humphrey may be the only Ravens equipped to stop Sutton.
- Mark Andrews vs. Kareem Jackson: Mark Andrews got going against the Lions. The Ravens need this to continue in week 4. Kareem Jackson is the strong safety and will likely be the primary player responsible for Andrews down the field. Jackson has had a strong season, already has an interception and a Pro Football Focus grade of 81. This could be a good battle.
- Ravens offensive line vs. Denver’s front seven: The Ravens offensive line as a unit has been frustrating this season. Alejandro Villanueva and a rotation of Ben Powers and Ben Cleveland at left guard make us have some big questions on the offensive line.
These are the key pieces of information you need before kickoff. Enjoy some anxiety-free football in the first window of games and get ready for the Ravens in the late afternoon.