GAME PLAN: The Broncos attack the weakness of the opposing defense, and the Ravens are obviously much weaker against the pass. Baltimore still has a very good run defense but has had plenty of problems at cornerback this season and has given up a lot more passing yards than usual. Expect the Broncos to test Baltimore by dropping back often.
Defensively, Denver has to contain Ray Rice in the running game and when the Ravens pass the ball. Rice has become Baltimore's best all-around weapon. If the Broncos can control Rice and let other players beat them, they should have a chance to win.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos LT Ryan Clady vs. Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs. Clady, who started his career by going 20 straight games without allowing a full sack, has given up one in each of his last two games. The Broncos need him to bounce back against Suggs, who has only two sacks this season but is a constant threat to get to the quarterback. If Clady can neutralize Suggs, it would show he is back on track.
Broncos CB Champ Bailey vs. Ravens WR Derrick Mason. Bailey and Mason are both great players who have stayed effective into their 30s because of intelligence and preparation. The chess match between the two longtime veterans should be interesting to keep track of. Mason leads the Ravens with 381 receiving yards.
INJURY IMPACT: DT Ronald Fields didn't practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury. The extent of the injury is unclear, but the Broncos can't afford to be without a player who has been a key to their improvement against the run. LB Spencer Larsen has returned to a full practice after missing six games with a shoulder injury, and should be able to play this week. S Brian Dawkins was limited in practice with a hamstring injury Wednesday, but is in no danger of missing this week's game as long as he doesn't have a setback.
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