Baltimore at Denver
Aside from a Super Bowl rematch, this is about the best game I can think of to open another great NFL season. Talk about a revenge game! The Broncos have had this game on their minds for 8 months. I can’t think of a better example. It should be a great game. Let’s break it down.
The Ravens have lost 8 starters since the Super Bowl. While it’s true some of those players weren’t who they used to be, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis spring to mind, they certainly had the veteran leadership that a team needs. They might be able to gain strength as the season progresses, but they start out the year not as strong as last season.
The Broncos are just as good as they were last year, maybe somewhat better because Manning has another year under his belt with the team.
I fully expect the Broncos to win the game, but that isn’t the issue is it? It isn’t who wins or loses that matters. It’s who covers the spread. Historically, the Super Bowl winners have a letdown the next season. That certainly comes into play here, but that isn’t a secret. Most of the betting public knows that and it’s accounted for in the line. The line seems too high here. I think the Broncos should be more of a 5.5 favorite. People may say 2 points isn’t a lot of difference, but in this case, because it passes the magic point spread of 7, it’s a big deal. As far as the revenge factor goes, I believe that the Ravens have something to prove as well. They don’t think of themselves as a team that won the Super Bowl because of a fluke play in the Denver game and they’re feeling disrespected about being a 7.5 dog as the world champs.
PROGnosis: Baltimore +7.5, under 48.5