The Indianapolis Colts will travel to their former home in Baltimore to take on the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs on Sunday. Many will consider the Ravens a favorite, but they’re not a strong favorite. I honestly believe the Colts will show up to Baltimore and end the Ravens’ season this weekend.
The Colts are an inspired team right now. They have so much to play for and just have a good story going on. The Ravens are banged up and struggling. Both teams came into the postseason heading in opposite directions and that’s almost always a recipe for the team coming in hot to win.
The Colts have won five of their last six games and have done so in dramatic fashion. Their nine fourth quarter comeback victories is a league high and shows they have the calmness to get the job done no matter the situation faced at any point in the game.
Baltimore on the other hand has backed their way into the playoffs. They’ve lost four of the last five and a fluke play from dropping the all of them. The San Diego Chargers showed everyone why they were terrible at closing out games and allowed Ray Rice to run a deep third and long reception to a first down and set up the game winning score.
In all reality, the Ravens haven’t shown much since mid to late October and have been really down. They fired their offensive coordinator for a terrible coach Colts fans know well in Jim Caldwell and I think a combination of that and a banged up defense will lead to the demise of the Ravens season.
The Colts are good at exploiting their oppositions weaknesses and should do so on Sunday.
They know Rice is one of the best running backs and will allow him to be just that. They just won’t let anyone else beat them. They know it’s going to take a perfect game out of the Ravens on Sunday to knock them out and will do everything they can to exploit Joe Flacco’s inability to win big games.
Flacco, has had troubles getting the ball out as he’s been sacked 35 times. The Colts defense know him well as Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski played in Baltimore last year. Head coach Chuck Pagano was the defensive coordinator on this Ravens team last year as well and will have a solid game plan to beat their offense.
Speaking of Pagano, his story alone will motivate and energize this Colts team to make a deep run. His inspired this team all season and his presence led them to a phenomenal hard fought win last week against the Houston Texans.
Another reason why the Colts will win is the ability to score on big plays. Andrew Luck is so good at hitting passes of 20+ yards as he lead the NFL in that category. The Ravens don’t have the personnel to keep up with all the Colts weapons and Indianapolis knows that.
Luck has been good the last month of reading the coverage and finding the open man. He did that great last Sunday with hitting T.Y. Hilton on two long passes. When the defense shifts to Hilton, Luck will find Reggie Wayne on single coverage or one of his rookie tight ends Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen.
Indy’s seventh ranked passing attack should have a huge day on the Ravens’ 17th ranked pass defense. That will open up the ground game enough for rookie Vick Ballard to be effective and move his way through the Baltimore’s 20th ranked ground defense.
I like the toughness of Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs to attempt to play, but that will hamper them against this very physical but quick Colts team. This game will be close, but I fully believe the Colts will prevail and advance to take on the destined matchup with the Denver Broncos next Saturday afternoon.
Indianapolis 27 Baltimore 23