ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Though Denver and Baltimore matched up less than a month ago, the Broncos are expecting to see a very different club when the Ravens visit Denver for Saturday's Divisional Round game.
The Ravens had five players start in the team's Wild Card win against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday that missed the Week 15 game against the Broncos due to injury.
"Well they had some guys missing, no question, when we played them there," Head Coach John Fox said. "This will be a completely different game, a completely different test. A lot of new faces."
Baltimore shuffled its starting offensive line between Denver's Week 15 win and the Ravens' Wild Card win on Sunday. The only Ravens offensive lineman that started the same position in the team's win against the Colts as he did against the Broncos was center Matt Birk.
The team flipped its tackles, moving Michael Oher, from left to right and rookie Kelechi Osemele from right to left, inserted left guard Jah Reid into the lineup and got right guard Marshal Yanda and tight end Ed Dickson back from injury.
On the defensive side of the ball, strong safety Bernard Pollard and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Ray Lewis have also returned from injury.
"They have a lot of guys that are going to be back on defense that they didn't have that game," tight end Jacob Tamme said. "That was Jim Caldwell's first game calling plays on offense. There are a lot of different things that are going to be happening on this Saturday compared to the last time we played them. You can pretty much throw it out the window. We have to go find a way to win on Saturday and that's all that really matters."
Even though the Baltimore defense gets a boost from its starters returning to health, running back Knowshon Moreno said it was a formidable unit in Week 15.
"Even if those guys weren't in there, they were still a good defense, they were still flying around making plays," Moreno said. "So same thing when they have their guys, they're still making plays, still running around. Still the same team, just different guys."
As the AFC's No. 1 seed, the Broncos had a week to prepare for one of three possible Divisional Round opponents – as well as rest their bodies.
But any type of advantage gained from that time off doesn't matter once the ball is kicked off on Saturday.
"Forget about rest, forget about seeds, forget about who you played, when, where," Fox said. "It's going to be who plays the best this Saturday."