Game Plan and Matchups to Watch

If the Denver Broncos can get their running game going against the Baltimore Ravens, who won't have injured middle linebacker Ray Lewis (in photo), that will take pressure off of quarterback Jake Plummer.

GAME PLAN: The Broncos should be able to beat Baltimore, which is struggling this season. Denver probably won't take many chances, because one way to let the Ravens in the game is turn the ball over.

Jake Plummer hasn't been very careful with the ball in Denver's last two games. He has three interceptions. But if the Broncos can get their running game going against the Ravens, who won't have injured middle linebacker Ray Lewis, that will take pressure off of Plummer.

The Broncos will send plenty of blitzes at Kyle Boller. They don't want to let Boller get in a rhythm because the Ravens do have some talented receivers that can make big plays.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Broncos S Sam Brandon vs. Ravens TE Todd Heap. Brandon plays a lot in Denver's big nickel defensive package because he can cover tight ends and he is solid against the run. Heap is capable of making some big plays for the Ravens, so taking him away from Kyle Boller will be important.

Broncos tailback trio of Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne vs. Ravens front seven. The Ravens aren't invincible against the run anymore. They rank 13th in the NFL in run defense. The Broncos have to figure out how to most effectively use three backs in a rotation. They added Dayne to the mix last week and nobody had a big day against the Chiefs. The Broncos want to control the game with their running offense, so they want to get someone in a rhythm early.

INJURY IMPACT: LB Keith Burns was out last week with a knee injury, but he returned to practice on Wednesday. If he progresses through the week, he has a chance to play against Baltimore.

T Cornell Green returned to practice on Wednesday and could play against Baltimore. Green missed last week's game against Kansas City with a separated shoulder.

DE Courtney Brown's knee injury kept him out of practice Wednesday. Brown should be back at practice on Thursday, and the Broncos will be able to evaluate his status for this week's game after that.



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