1. How will the Ravens fare against Peyton Manning?
With superstar quarterback Peyton Manning at the controls, the Denver Broncos have become a formidable playoff contender.
The Broncos have won eight consecutive games since an early October loss to the New England Patriots, and they've already clinched the AFC West. It's the longest win streak for the Broncos since the 1998 squad quarterbacked by John Elway won its first 13 games before making it to the Super Bowl.
And obviously Manning has been instrumental in the run.
He leads the AFC with 30 touchdown passes, and his 104.0 quarterback rating ranks fourth in the NFL.
Although the Broncos have lost all of their previous five games in Baltimore, Manning has won all of his last eight starts against them. That includes two playoff victories over the Ravens, the last coming in the divisional round in January of 2010.
What makes Manning so dangerous is how he has maintained his arm strength, accuracy and feel for the game after missing last year with a neck injury. And he'll provide an extremely difficult task for an injury-riddled Ravens defense to contend with.
Containing Manning will require the Ravens to generate a fearsome pass rush. That's expected to primarily come from outside linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive end Arthur Jones, who have combined for 12 1/2 sacks this season.
In the secondary, free safety Ed Reed needs to have an active game against Manning and read the quarterback's eyes to break on the football.
With strong safety Bernard Pollard potentially sidelined Sunday after aggravating a rib injury, it's imperative that Reed play a superb centerfield to support James Ihedigbo, who would replace Pollard, and cornerbacks Cary Williams and Corey Graham.
During a 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins last Sunday, Reed was well below his usual ball-hawking standard. And that translated into a vulnerable secondary.
The Ravens can't afford to make mistakes Sunday against Manning. He's far too good to afford any significant errors, and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is big, strong and fast at 6-feet-3, 230 pounds. (Daniel Wallace, MCT /December 2, 2012)
Ravens Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is active for today's game against the Denver Broncos after being sidelined last week with a torn right biceps.
Suggs' return was expected since he participated on a full-time basis at practice this week. He was listed as questionable.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith is active after missing the previous five games after undergoing sports hernia surgery.
Strong safety Bernard Pollard is out with a rib injury he aggravated during the Ravens' 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins last week. He'll be replaced by James Ihedigbo, a former New England Patriots starter.
Pro Bowl offensive guard Marshal Yanda is sidelined with a serious sprained right ankle and will be replaced by veteran Bobbie Williams.
Starting middle linebacker Jameel McClain had already been ruled out with a neck stinger and back injury and visited a back specialist in Los Angeles with the team awaiting second opinion test results.
Starting tight end Ed Dickson was ruled out because of a hyperextended knee, missing his third consecutive game.
Starting inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe was ruled out after attempting to convince the coaches and trainers he was ready to play during warmups. He was questionable with a sprained right ankle and a left foot injury and was limited in practice for the past two days. Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan are slated to start inside.
"I'm going to work it before the game," Ellerbe said Friday. "If I feel good, I'm going to go. If I can't go, I'm not going to goout there and hurt the team."
The Ravens also deactivated offensive lineman Ramon Harewood and wide receiver Deonte Thompson
Ihedigbo started a dozen games for the New England Patriots last season, recording 72 tackles and one pass deflection. For Baltimore this year, Ihedigbo has nine tackles and a sack.
"Definitely, I'm ready," Ihedigbo said. "It's been going well. Whatever's needed by me, I'm ready to do so. You've got to do whatever's asked of you as a player."
Defensive end Pernell McPhee is dealing with a groin injury, but is active.
The Broncos scratched Caleb Hanie, Tracy Porter, Julius Thomas, Andre Caldwell, Chris Kuper, Lance Ball and Sealver Siliga.
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more
about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms
. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here