It doesn't get more dangerous when it comes to pass-rushing tandems than Denver Broncos' Pro Bowl outside linebacker Von Miller and Pro Bowl defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Miller is as fast as running backs and wide receivers at 6-foot-3, 237 pounds, having run the 40-yard dash in the high 4.4 to low 4.5 range. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate led the Broncos with 18 1/2 sacks and six forced fumbles this season. In particular, his ability to bend low to the ground like a speed skater while not losing any acceleration or power is unique. Dumervil is similar in style to Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, a relentless bull rusher who has a good spin move and enough speed and power to give Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie trouble. Dumervil had 11 sacks during the regular season. The Ravens will likely have quarterback Joe Flacco roll away from Miller, who typically lines up on the right side. They'll need to give right tackle Michael Oher some chip-blocking assistance on Miller. It's not exactly a pick-your-poison situation, but it does have that kind of feel. The Broncos rank third against the pass and led the NFL with 52 sacks during the regular season. After shutting out Dwight Freeney last Sunday and preventing Robert Mathis from harassing Flacco much, the Ravens' offensive line needs to duplicate that performance to provide enough time for wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta to create separation downfield. Obviously, Flacco needs to play the way he did in the second half against the Colts and for the entire game against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The Ravens can't afford the kind of costly miscues he committed in the first game against Denver, when he had an interception returned 98 yards for a touchdown and lost a fumble that led to a Broncos field goal. This is the time for Flacco to prove he's worthy of a big-time contract. If he falters against the Broncos, it will raise more concerns about how the Ravens should approach this delicate negotiation.
Doug Duran, MCT
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