Superstitious Ravens fans should knock on wood. The Ravens have a streak of success in* *season-opening games.
The Ravens have won every kickoff game during the John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco era, a run of five straight games. It's the second-longest streak in the NFL, trailing only the New England Patriots (nine).
Baltimore will have a tough test to extend it, as they will face what many pundits view as the AFC favorites, the Broncos, Thursday night in Denver.
But do the Ravens have a better chance of beating the Broncos since it's the first game of the year?
Baltimore's success in season openers can be attributed to a number of things.
Perhaps it's because they're simply a good team that wins most of its games, so the chances are naturally favorable for Week 1. That's what quarterback Joe Flacco first pointed to.
"I attribute that to us being a good football team," Flacco said. "It probably doesn't mean too much in the grand scheme of things – it just is what it is."
Flacco also mentioned the work the Ravens put in during the offseason. They take each practice very seriously, and work at a very high pace with game-like intensity. The Ravens could simply be outworking their competition before the season begins, putting them in better position at the start.
"I think we have a good offseason [program], we have good training camp practices, we get a lot of reps in, and we work hard," Flacco said. "I think guys show up Week 1 excited and chomping at the bit getting ready to go. I think we come out and play well because of it."
Another reason could be that the Ravens coaching staff is very good when given extra time to study an opponent. The Ravens have never lost after a bye either.
Harbaugh said the Ravens went to work studying the Broncos as soon as the schedule was released. But the head coach wasn't taking any credit for the streak.
"I haven't thought about it," Harbaugh said. "We just do what we do as hard as we can. Our guys work hard. But we've played well in those games, so it's a testament to the way our players have played in those games probably more than anything else."* *
The Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to open last season. They fell to the Oakland Raiders at home the year before. The Broncos' 33-19-1 all-time mark in openers is an NFL-best (.635).