• Broncos rarin’ foranother shot atnemesis Ravens
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     | September 05,2013
     
    AP FILE PHOTO

    The Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning will host the Baltimore Ravens when the 2013 NFL season gets under way tonight.

    Ever since the NFL announced that the champion Ravens would open the season at Denver, the Broncos have been salivating over a chance to get back at Baltimore.

    That opportunity comes Thursday night in the Mile High City, where the Ravens staged that sensational late comeback in the divisional playoff game last January before beating the Broncos in double overtime.

    Anyone who says there is no carryover from previous seasons shouldn’t bother watching this one, because it will disprove that theory — big time.

    “I think as a team, this is our year,” said cornerback Rahim Moore, whose misplay on a deep pass to Jacoby Jones in the final minute of regulation helped Baltimore tie the postseason matchup. “I think we’re going to do some big things. It’s not going to be easy. Not at all. We have to remain the hunters. But we do have a chip on our shoulders, too.”

    Oddsmakers believe that’s more of a boulder on their shoulder, and have installed Denver (tied No. 2, AP Pro32) as a 9-point favorite over Baltimore (No. 8, AP Pro32). The Ravens have had all kinds of offseason upheaval, particularly to the defense, which no longer has Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger and Bernard Pollard.

    It’s never wise to underestimate a defending champion, though. Peyton Manning might have his way with the retooled Baltimore defense, or the proud Ravens just might pull off a surprise as Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco takes advantage of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller’s absence due to suspension.

    That spread is too high.

    BRONCOS, 24-21

    No. 16 Minnesota (plus 4 1-2)

    at No. 19 Detroit

    Until further notice, pick Adrian Peterson against a bad defense.

    UPSET SPECIAL: VIKINGS, 29-27

    No. 5 New England (minus 10)

    at No. 29 Buffalo

    The mismatch of the weekend. Bills never beat Patriots even when healthy, which they aren’t.

    BEST BET: PATRIOTS, 37-10

    No. 32 Oakland (plus 9 1-2)

    at No. 11 Indianapolis

    Another good choice for Best Bet.

    COLTS, 27-13

    No. 26 Philadelphia (plus 3 1-2)

    at No. 10 Washington

    This one gets lots of eyeballs as RG3 returns and Chip Kelly’s Quack Attack debuts for Philly.

    REDSKINS, 22-20

    No. 7 Green Bay (plus 4 1-2)

    at No. 1 San Francisco

    Are Niners a little full of themselves? Seems so, but maybe cockiness is warranted.

    49ERS, 30-28

    No. 25 Tennessee (plus 7)

    at No. 17 Pittsburgh

    Two of 2012’s biggest flops. Steelers at home get the edge in close one.

    STEELERS, 19-17

    No. 4 Atlanta (plus 3)

    at No. 12 New Orleans

    Emotional return of coach Sean Payton mimics emotional return of Saints to Big Easy after Hurricane Katrina.

    SAINTS, 37-35

    No. 2 (tie) Seattle (minus 3)

    at No. 23 Carolina

    Seahawks don’t always travel well to East Coast. Shouldn’t matter for an opener, though.

    SEAHAWKS, 23-14

    No. 24 Arizona (plus 4 1-2)

    at No. 18 St. Louis

    Rams continue 2012 mastery within division.

    RAMS, 20-13

    No. 20 Tampa Bay (minus 3)

    at No. 30 New York Jets

    Revis returns to his old island, uh, house, and cleans up.

    BUCCANEERS 24-10

    No. 13 New York Giants

    (plus 3) at No. 15 Dallas

    Giants always win in Jerry’s house.

    GIANTS, 31-27

    No. 9 Cincinnati (plus 3)

    at No. 14 Chicago

    Tough place for AFC contender Bengals to open.

    BEARS, 17-13

    No. 22 Miami (pick-em)

    at No. 28 Cleveland

    Tough preseason for Dolphins, but good start to regular season.

    DOLPHINS, 16-13

    No. 6 Houston (minus 3 1-2)

    at No. 27 San Diego

    Texans believe they are Super Bowl capable. Such teams don’t lose such games.

    TEXANS, 27-16

    No. 21 Kansas City (minus 3 1-2)

    at No. 31 Jacksonville

    A pair of 2-14 teams from last year. Only Chiefs headed in right direction.

    CHIEFS, 20-9

    ———

    2012 RECORD:

    Against spread: 120-127-7. Straight up: 166-96-1

    Best Bet: 9-8-2 against spread, 13-6 straight up.

    Upset special: 11-8 against spread, 9-10 straight up.

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