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Broncos, Ravens brace for frigid playoff in Denver

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Broncos, Ravens brace for frigid playoff in Denver

DENVER (AP) That glove Peyton Manning has been wearing on his throwing hand will come in quite handy Saturday for what could be the coldest home postseason game in Denver Broncos' history.

Those not playing may want to sit on the heated benches - or next to the electric heaters - because the game-time temperature when the Broncos host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC divisional playoffs is expected to be 17 degrees, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kalina.

In other words, ``bundle up,'' Kalina said.

The coldest postseason contest at Mile High was 18 degrees for the 1977 AFC championship game, when Denver beat Oakland 20-17.

The chilliest home game ever in Denver? That would be 9 degrees against San Diego on Dec 10, 1972.

Being such a meticulous planner, Manning left nothing to chance in the weeks leading up this game. To prepare for the possibility of wintry weather, the four-time NFL MVP wore an orange-and-gray glove on his throwing hand the last two games. Manning has been quite effective, too, with the glove - his completion percentage has been almost 6 points better and his passer rating almost 20 points higher than without it.

The stickiness of the glove also helps Manning better grip the football, especially these days after the multiple neck surgeries he underwent during his season out of football.

``I certainly don't think I would have had to wear the glove had I not been injured last year,'' Manning said. ``It's part of my injury, some things that I've had to adjust. I'm in a different body. Some things are different for me, so that's the reason for that as much as anything.''

The cool weather certainly hasn't been friendly to Manning, who's 0-3 in playoff games in which the temperature at kickoff is less than 40 degrees.

And this game will certainly be well south of that number.

``It's going to be very cold,'' Kalina said. ``There may even be a few flakes, but it shouldn't affect the game. Just really cold.''

This isn't even close to the coldest game in NFL history, though. That distinction belongs to ``The Ice Bowl'' on Dec. 31, 1967, when the temperature at Lambeau Field reached minus-13 (with a minus-48 wind chill) in a contest between Green Bay and Dallas.

All week, Broncos players boasted about wearing short-sleeves despite the cool conditions. It was simply a matter of convincing the mind it really wasn't all the frigid.

``Once you get out there, you're on the field, you're just fine,'' Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas said earlier this week. ``But if you're just sitting around, that's when it gets to you. As long as you're out there on the field and warm, you're good.''

The field should be in solid shape, though, with more than 20 miles of water-heated tubing under the field to keep it from freezing.

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

The Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER