Some sports name three stars of the game after the game. I'll do that one better: I'm going to name them before the Ravens even play. These will be the three stars of the game when the Ravens open the 2015 season at the defending AFC West champion Denver Broncos.
1. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning
Bold call, I know. Even behind an offensive line that will feature an entirely new left side and a center playing his first NFL game, Manning is the type of quarterback who could give the Ravens defense fits the way stars like San Diego's Philip Rivers and New England's Tom Brady did a season ago.
Manning gets the ball out quickly, knows how to read defenses, and will find the little seams underneath that seem to exist often in the Ravens defense. It won't be a massive fantasy performance, but Manning will complete a high percentage of his passes for around 280 yards and maybe three touchdowns.
One of the only givens in the Ravens attack is Forsett, who bounced into the massive holes created by his offensive line in the preseason just as he did in his Pro Bowl 2014 season. What better way to show Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak that he won't be missed in Baltimore by running Kubiak's scheme all over his new team?
Forsett has the potential to do just that. The Broncos defensive front could be strong, but if the Ravens offensive line blocks the way it did last year for him, there won't be much Denver can do. Ninety-five rushing yards and a touchdown, plus five catches for around 40 yards seems a reasonable output for Forsett Sunday.
3. Broncos outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware
Typically the Broncos' pass rusher on the right side of the defense, the former Cowboys star could give Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe fits in the pass rush all game. The Ravens threw a ton last time they went to Denver, and if they get behind early, Monroe will have a big test as he looks to prove his 2014 injury woes are history.
Ware earned his eighth Pro Bowl bid a season ago, and could start a ninth such season Sunday. The teams that gave the Ravens the most trouble last year were the ones that got to Flacco, and Ware could do that to the tune of a couple quarterback hits and 1.5 sacks.