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2013 Game-by-Game: Week 1

Posted Jun 17, 2013

The Broncos open the season as the only show in town, taking on the defending Super Bowl champs in the NFL Kickoff Game.

  • WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 5; 6:30 p.m. MDT.
  • WHERE: Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
  • TV: NBC.
  • SERIES RECORD: Ravens lead, 5-4 (2-0 in the postseason).
  • JOHN FOX'S RECORD: 3-1 (0-2 in the postseason).
  • PEYTON MANNING'S RECORD: 7-2 (2-1 in the postseason).
  • SERIES STREAK: The Broncos have won three of the four regular-season games between the clubs in Denver.
  • LAST TIME: Ravens 38, Broncos 35 (2 OT), Jan. 12, 2013. In the race for the NFL's "Game of the Decade," this one is the leader in the clubhouse, although for the Broncos the only memories of it will be painful ones. Despite frigid 13-degree conditions, the Broncos' offense and special teams sizzled early. Denver took the lead four separate times, twice thanks to Trindon Holliday, who became the first player in league history to return a punt and kickoff for touchdowns in the same playoff game. But the Broncos squandered numerous chances to expand their lead, and when Joe Flacco found Jacoby Jones for a 70-yard touchdown pass over the outstretched arm of Rahim Moore to tie the game with 31 seconds left in regulation, the writing was on the wall. Baltimore finally ended the game 1:42 into the second overtime when Justin Tucker drilled a 47-yard field goal that was set up six plays earlier by Corey Graham's second interception of the game.
  • LAST TIME IN DENVER: Same.


NOTING THE GAME:

  • This will be the Broncos' earliest start to a regular season since a Sept. 4 Week 1 loss at St. Louis in 2000. That marked the last time the regular season began on Labor Day weekend, which was the case in 1978-79, 1981, 1983-84, 1988, 1991-98 and 2000.
  • The most compelling individual matchup -- at least on paper -- will pit Elvis Dumervil against the Broncos' tackles and tight ends, who will primarily be responsible for keeping the prolific sacker off Manning's back. One edge the Broncos might have is that Dumervil is usually a slow starter; he has never notched a Week 1 sack and has fewer sacks in September than any other month other than January (in which he has 1.5 sacks in four games played, including playoffs).
  • Manning is 10-4 in home openers, including an 8-1 mark since 2003.
  • The Broncos scored nine touchdowns in two games against the Ravens last season, matching the total amassed in their previous eight games against Baltimore (including a 21-3 wild-card loss on Dec. 31, 2000).
  • This will mark the first time the Broncos have opened a season against a team that knocked them out of the playoffs the season before. The Broncos have won two of the last three home games they played against the team that eliminated them the previous year, against the Colts in Week 17 of the 2004 season and the Jaguars in a wild-card game on Dec. 27, 1997. But the loss in between the two was to ... Baltimore, on Sept. 30, 2001, which defeated Denver 20-13, one day shy of exactly nine months after the Ravens defeated Denver in the wild-card round.
  • Denver is 11-1 in home openers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and has won 25 of its last 29 home openers. Since the AFL-NFL merger, Broncos are 35-7-1 in their first home game of the season.
  • The Broncos are 7-4 in prime-time, nationally-televised season-opening games -- all of which have come since 1992 -- and 6-3 in that scenario at home. They have never opened the season on a Thursday. When counting the games they played to open seasons in the AFL, the Broncos are 9-8 when opening with a night game. 
  • The Ravens are the first team to open a title defense on the road in a decade. The last Super Bowl winners to start away from home were the 2003 Buccaneers, who defeated Philadelphia 17-0 in the first game at Lincoln Financial Field. 
  • Defending champions have won 12 of their last 13 season openers, but last year's 24-17 Giants loss to the Cowboys ended the dozen-year streak of champions getting their next season off to a 1-0 start.
  • In the Ravens' quest for a successful title defense, recent history is not on their side. None of the last seven Super Bowl champions won a playoff game the next season, and three of them missed the postseason altogether, including the Giants in 2012. The 2005 Patriots were the last defending champions to win a playoff game; they beat Jacksonville in the wild-card round before losing at Denver seven days later.