Friday, January 11, 2013

Cold forecast for Denver/Baltimore brings back memories of 77 team

I've been to most Bronco home playoff games since the first one - a Christmas Eve victory over the Steelers in 1977. Tomorrow will be the coldest Bronco playoff home game since that magical AFC championship win on January 1, 1978 over the Raiders 20-17. It was 18 degrees that day and I was there. The coid didn't seem to bother a limping Craig Morton or Haven Moses (the M&M connection had 2 tds and Haven had 168 receiving yards).  I remember dressing warmly for the game and not being bothered by the cold much at all - the excitement of seeing the Broncos earn their first Super Bowl berth more than made up for the frigid temperatures.

On to tomorrow's game.  I think the 18 degree weather forecast plays to the Ravens advantage - they have a better power running game and the cold negates the Broncos passing advantage somewhat. That said Denver will be fine if they can get the lead and force the Ravens to play catchup. Like in the first game the immobile Joe Flacco and the Ravens o-line is no match for a strong Broncos pass rush. But if the Ravens can get ahead they can neutralize the Broncos pass rush and control the clock with a strong running game. The Broncos had problems with tight end Dennis Pitta in the 1st game and now the Ravens have Ed Dickson back, too, as another tight end threat. The Ravens have played well in road playoff games before ( last year's AFC title game in Foxboro was much closer than most expected). I still like the Broncos chances. I'll be there, sitting in the southwest corner of the North Stands.  Here's hoping Denver gets a quick early score like that legendary Broncos 77 team did vs the Raiders in 18 degree weather: