It’s schedule release day, which means it’s also time to brace for the inevitable (and multiple?) leaks that we’ll be blessed with prior to 8 p.m. ET during the official schedule unveiling bonanza on NFL Network.
As I write this it’s not even noon in the east yet, and we already have our first leak. It’s regarding a pretty important game too. In fact, the very first game.
A few weeks ago the great battle of Baltimore reached its conclusion, and we learned that due to a conflict with the Orioles, the Ravens will be forced to shun tradition. The defending Super Bowl champs will still play in the customary Thursday night season opener, but they won’t be able to do it at home.
That sucked huge time. But when the mourning period for the Ravens’ home opener ended, the next logical question was then debated at large by the masses: where will the Ravens be opening their season? Since making money and drawing eyeballs to television sets are both things the NFL likes to do, the two most common guesses were on the road against the Steelers (a long-time division rival), or the Broncos (a newly-minted playoff rival).
Now we reportedly have our answer: the season opener will feature the Broncos and Ravens.
That was the rumor floated by the Denver Post earlier this morning, and it’s now seemingly been confirmed by Jason La Canfora. Now that the exact hostile atmosphere the Ravens will travel to has been all but confirmed, we can focus on the gluttony of storylines filled with awesome. In no order whatsoever, here are the leading talking points you’ll be bombarded with:
- Well, the Ravens traveling is a good place to start. It can’t be repeated enough how significant that is, especially since these two teams last met in the playoffs, and they both made significant offseason moves. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has put key pieces in place to rebuild his defense after an early gutting, and that effort will continue next week. But against Peyton Manning and his new buddy Wes Welker (oh, and Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas), we’ll quickly get to see whether or not those moves worked. A step back defensively is still anticipated, but how far?
- One of Newsome’s signings was Elvis Dumervil, and he’d still be a Bronco if his agent could properly send a simple fax communication.
- It was more than just your standard playoff donnybrook when these two teams last met. It was in the AFC divisional round, and the Ravens were able to move on because Rahim Moore couldn’t execute a fundamental defensive play with 30 seconds left. The result was Jacoby Jones’ 70-yard touchdown catch that sent the game into overtime. Watch for that deep ball, Rahim.