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Tonight’s NFL opener: Ravens at Broncos

Thu., Sept. 5, 2013

Records: Baltimore (0-0), Denver (0-0)

Time: 5:30 p.m. TV: NBC Line: Broncos by 7 1/2

Synopsis: This game marks the 12th consecutive season the NFL kicks off its season with a midweek contest, and for the 10th consecutive time features the previous Super Bowl winner. But for the first time in that stretch, the reigning champion is on the road. (The Ravens and baseball’s Orioles play at nearby stadiums and share a parking lot, so they try to avoid playing simultaneously because of congestion problems. The Orioles already had a game scheduled there for Thursday night. So it’s on to Denver for the Ravens, and history says they face a tall order. The home team is 9-2 in the 11 weeknight openers.

Bottom line: Baltimore’s roster has had a massive turnover, with key players on defense and offense gone. Denver has suspension and injury problems on its defense, the latest setback coming Wednesday when key CB Champ Bailey (foot injury) was ruled out. Broncos will be looking for revenge after losing at home to Ravens last year in the playoffs, on a game that went into overtime because Denver’s defense broke down and allowed Jacoby Jones to catch a 70-yard TD bomb with 31 seconds left to tie the score. Look for a shootout and well more than the 48 1/2 points listed on the Vegas over-under line.

Pick: Broncos 34, Ravens 23.

Dan Caesar, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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