It's not every day you see a team in first place change offensive coordinators late in the season, but the Ravens did that this week, firing Cam Cameron and replacing him with Jim Caldwell. Here's something else you don't often see: Virtually every national media pundit is predicting the Ravens will lose at home.
Here is how some of the national media see the game:
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Broncos 28, Ravens 20
"The Ravens don’t match up well against Peyton Manning. They never have. Throw in a flat-tire offense that the Ravens are trying to change while the car is moving, and the late-season slide continues."
Elliott Harrison, NFL.com: Broncos 30, Ravens 20
"Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy probably will give Knowshon Moreno 20-plus carries to take advantage of a Baltimore Ravens run defense that allows 129.3 yards per game. Peyton Manning certainly can riddle a defense riddled by injuries this season. Meanwhile, Joe Flacco has been effective at home, but he will be facing a top-five defense this week. Jim Caldwell definitely drew a tough assignment in his first game as Baltimore's offensive coordinator. Give it to Ray Rice, dude; halt that stout Broncos pass rush or your team is done."
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Ravens 26, Broncos 24
"It seems like Peyton Manning and the Broncos are destined to keep winning all the way to the Super Bowl. But it would be wrong to write off the Ravens after tough losses to the Steelers and Redskins. They are still a very good home team, and with an emotional defensive lift from the return of Ray Lewis and a spark from a new-look offense, expect them to turn in a strong all-around performance. They will need it to cool off the Broncos, and it will be tough, given they must overcome many defensive injuries. With more help from Ray Rice, Joe Flacco will hold up well in his duel with Manning—and a big play by Ed Reed will allow the Ravens to steal this one."
Peter King, SI.com: Broncos 30, Ravens 20
"Having nothing to do with the change in offensive coordinators in Baltimore, but everything to do with the fact that the Broncos haven't lost since two weeks before the World Series started. The Ravens, to beat Peyton Manning, need their best player on the field Sunday to be Terrell Suggs, not Joe Flacco."
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: Broncos 27, Ravens 20
"The Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron this week. What does that mean? Who knows? We know the Denver offense will roll with Peyton Manning. The Ravens aren't that good on defense. Manning has a big day."
Mark Schlereth, ESPN: Broncos (no score given)
"I love what Peyton Manning is doing right now. ... (Baltimore) is really strugging. They've got injuries. ... And the Denver Broncos, about 60 or 70 percent of their offense has been out of two tight (end) formations. They are keeping everybody big, and you're gonna have backup players at the linebacker position that are going to have the task of defending that offense, defending the quarterback, and defending the pass out of those two tight formations, and Peyton Manning has just been ripping people apart in those formations."
Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com: Broncos 34, Ravens 24
"Way back in Week 9, I wrote in ... this very column that the Broncos were going to finish the season by winning their final nine games. We’re three wins away from being right on the money. The Ravens were exposed two weeks ago against Pittsburgh and again last Sunday vs. the Redskins. They don’t have the defense they once did, the offense lacks firepower (with Cam Cameron or not) when it matters, and they still seem to struggle late in big December and January games. Peyton Manning is 8-2 against the Ravens. He won’t lose on Sunday.
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Broncos 24, Ravens 14
"Baltimore’s decision to fire offensive coordinator Cam Cameron strikes me as a desperation move. The Ravens know they’re not as good as the three elite teams in the AFC, and the Broncos are going to demonstrate that on Sunday in Baltimore."