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Despite Flacco as a quarterback, Ravens to put up a fight Saturday

Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens prior to a game
Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens prior to a game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wildcard weekend is always a pull for football fans, regardless of whether their team is the Dolphins or the Patriots.

For Broncos fans,it was the most exciting in years because it decided who would get flown out to Mile High city.

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The games largely went as expected, with the higher seed moving on. Still, I was holding out for the Colts in Sunday’s matchup in Baltimore.

Not only was Chuck Pagano’s story a heart-tugger, but Andrew Luck’s transformation of a 1-15 team was inspiring. I wanted to see that mix of improbable rookies and old guys move on.

Plus, I think that they would have been the easier opponent, and who didn’t want to see Peyton Manning stick it to the team that spurned him?

Anyway, it was not to be and so we must take on retiring Ray Lewis and the Ravens for a rematch.

When a rematch occurs, it is rare that the results are at all similar. I almost wish that the Broncos had come away with the short end of the stick the first time.

Unfortunately, the Ravens have that chip on their shoulder, and are fresh off of a very emotional win at home.

Even I have to admit to a tear or two leaking out of my eye when Ray Lewis ceremoniously joined the offense on the field for the last snap. Lewis’ return from injury and his imminent retirement are sure to give the Ravens extra ammunition for Saturday’s game.

Last time, our defense absolutely dominated the game, holding notorious running back Ray Rice to 12 carries and 38 yards. When Chris Harris intercepted Joe Flacco for a 98 yd touchdown return in the second, it sealed the deal.

This week, with Suggs and Lewis back on the active roster, and playoff hopes hanging by a string, the Ravens are going to be a whole new animal.

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Luckily, Fox’s team of coaches and their players are not going to overlook that fact.

“They are going to be ready,” safety Mike Adams said to the press. “We beat them. They’ll be ready and I’m up for that challenge.”

Besides Rice’s less-than-legendary numbers on the offensive side of the field, veteran safety Ed Reed was also humiliated when running back Knowshon Moreno hurdled him for a gain.

I think we are guaranteed to have a solid matchup on Saturday, both teams hungry for a berth to the conference championship. And though the Broncos have little playoff experience other than Manning and Bailey, their hot, young team has passion enough to make up for it.

“We know if we come out and play our game, we should be fine,” Harris said. “Whatever they have new, whatever they do, we’ll be ready for it.”

I predict a Broncos victory, albeit narrow, and a Brady-Manning rematch for the AFC title game (Sorry Kubiak).

If you’re not excited for anything else, at least tune in for a pre-game Ray Lewis tribal dance. It should be his last.

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