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Broncos winning blueprint started Week 1 vs. Ravens

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Broncos winning blueprint started Week 1 vs. Ravens

The Broncos’ road to Super Bowl 50 began with a Week 1 victory over the Ravens.

That 19-13 victory in September became a blueprint for the Broncos’ success.  Including the playoffs, the Broncos have won 11 games this season by seven points or less, the most by any team in NFL history.

The Broncos didn’t score an offensive touchdown against the Ravens in Week 1, but still won ugly. They are no longer a team carried by quarterback Peyton Manning. They are a team carried by their No. 1-ranked defense, and that defense gives them a puncher’s chance to win the Super Bowl as underdogs against the Panthers.

Here’s how the Broncos beat the Ravens in Week 1, and how Denver can envision beating the Panthers:

Suffocating red zone defense

The Ravens didn’t score an offensive touchdown against the Broncos either, and this was when Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, and Justin Forsett were all healthy. Baltimore’s lone touchdown came on a pick-six by cornerback Jimmy Smith, but Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib answered with a pick-six against Flacco that gave Denver the lead for good.

Keeping the Panthers out of the end zone will be more difficult, because the running ability of quarterback Cam Newton gives the Panthers a dimension that most teams don’t have. But the Broncos’ defense is legit. If they force the Panthers to settle for field goals when they threaten, particularly early in the game, then the Broncos could win another close one.

Manning late-game magic

As the game progresses, Manning learns more about the opposing defense, and often finds his rhythm during crucial late-game drives. That happened against the Ravens. Manning looked terrible (175 yards passing, no touchdowns) much of the game, but was at his best when it mattered most. He led the Broncos are a 17-play drive in the fourth quarter that chewed up almost 11 minutes, ending with a field goal to put the Broncos ahead by six. Just because Manning looks frustrated most of a game doesn’t mean he won’t hurt you when it counts. The Broncos believe if they can keep the Super Bowl close, Manning will carry them home.

Stingy Broncos run defense

One of the big keys to Super Bowl 50 is whether the Broncos can shut down the Panthers’ running game. Carolina is averaging 148 yards rushing in two playoff games, but the Broncos are only giving up 64.5 yards rushing in the postseason. Something has to give. I picked the Panthers to win, and if they run the ball effectively, they could win big. But the Broncos bottled up the Ravens’ running attack in Week 1, holding Forsett to just 43 yards on 14 carries. The Broncos can win if they contain Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart the way they contained Forsett. 

MORE RAVENS: A Ravens' fans guide to watching Super Bowl 50

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

A post shared by Baltimore Ravens (@ravens) on

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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AP Images

Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward. 

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