By KAREN TANG
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Sept. 11, 2015)—With a trip out west to the Mile High City on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens will face arguably their hardest opponent of the season in Week 1.
While we wait for kickoff, it's hard to forget the last time the Ravens had a run-in with the Broncos. The 2013 regular-season opener was a nightmare for the Ravens, as the team fell 49-27. Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning left the stadium with a standing ovation.
To make things more difficult for the Birds, the former Ravens offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, has become the new head coach for the Broncos.
Kubiak, who had a one-and-done year with the Ravens, guided the offense to franchise-record numbers. Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco reached career highs in passing yards (3,986) and touchdowns (27) under Kubiak's wing.
The Broncos' new head coach is no stranger to his new home. Kubiak spent 11 seasons as the Broncos' offensive coordinator in 1995-2005, so he is well-versed with the team.
While Kubiak's offense will be a work in progress throughout the season, Manning's numbers on the field may be in Kubiak's favor.
In the last 15 home openers, the Broncos have won 14 games. The age-defying Manning doesn't seem to be slowing down. He proved his strength against the Ravens during the opening game of the 2013 season, where Manning marked a career high in touchdowns (7).
Manning has yet to lose a season opener game since joining the Broncos, which may make it harder for the Ravens in their matchup.
Despite the daunting task, though, the Ravens look like a team that isn't easily rattled.
The Ravens are perceived to be a well-rounded team with the potential to win the 2015 Super Bowl, according to Sports Illustrated.
But keep in mind the Broncos have made the playoffs each of the last three seasons and are sure to be title contenders as the season continues.
Sunday will be the opportunity to see whether the Orange Crush squeezes the competition or if the Purple Pain will bring down the rain.