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Battle in Baltimore

Posted Dec 12, 2012

The Broncos will look for the franchise's first win in Baltimore against the Ravens on Sunday.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Five of the Broncos’ eight victories on their current winning streak have come in hostile road environments.

For that streak to get to nine, the team will have to find a way to win their road finale in Baltimore on Sunday.

“It’s a tough place to play,” said wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who played the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens. “The fans are loud, it’s a great environment.”

After dropping the first two road contests of the year, the Broncos won their next five games away from home, including three that kicked off at 1 p.m. EST, which is when the team’s Week 15 contest at M&T Bank Stadium is scheduled to commence.

Like every one of the team’s games that kick off in the early time slot, the team will travel two days before the game, leaving Denver after practice on Friday afternoon.

“It’s good to get away and get a good night sleep two nights in a row,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “That’s it, no distractions.”

The Broncos have yet to win at Baltimore, dropping all four road games that the franchise has played against the Ravens.

This year’s matchup pits two very different rosters from the last time the teams played, a 31-17 Ravens victory in 2010.

Current Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is 4-2 in his career at Baltimore, and has won each of the last four contests. In those games, which include one AFC Divisional matchup, Manning has completed 61.3 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions for a passer rating of 94.0.

“I really can’t speak to what’s happened here, the history of Denver in Baltimore,” Manning said. “All I know is we’re going on the road playing an excellent team. They’re extremely tough to play at home.”

M&T Bank Stadium, which holds 71,008 fans, will be geared up for an important matchup between two teams fighting for AFC playoff positioning.

The Ravens crowd has been fueled by the historically stingy defense that has allowed the second-fewest points per game in home games over the past decade among all NFL teams.

“I think they’re one of the only teams that has a huge defensive crowd,” said Safety Jim Leonhard, who played 16 games for the Ravens in 2008. “There’s a huge defensive mentality with that crowd. They’re loud, and it’s a fun place to play. It’s more like a college atmosphere than a lot of NFL stadiums.”

Not many teams have fared well in trips to Baltimore. Since 2008, when the team hired Head Coach John Harbaugh and drafted Joe Flacco, the Ravens are 32-6 at home, which ties for the second-best record in Football over that span.

“They’ve had really good teams,” Stokley said. “Hopefully this year we will play a little bit better than we have in the past and get a win.”