AFC Wild Card Predictions: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

 

On Sunday afternoon the Baltimore Ravens will host the Indianapolis Colts in a Wild Card playoff game. No, you read correctly. The Colts, who finished last season 2-14, are indeed in the playoffs.

One might ask, how in the world is that possible?

The Colts have been hands down the best story in the NFL this season. From the emergence of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to the incredible comeback story of their beloved head coach Chuck Pagano, fans everywhere have been rooting for this football club. Unfortunately for Indy, I have an inkling that this Cinderella story may come to an end on Sunday.

Ray Lewis

Lewis announced on Wednesday that he would be retiring after this season. The surefire hall of fame linebacker has been nursing a triceps injury since Week 11. To say that this defense missed their anchor is an understatement. When Lewis takes the field on Sunday, it could very well be his final game at M&T Bank Stadium. That in itself will fire up every single person in Baltimore. Look for Lewis to make an immediately upgrade a very suspect Ravens run defense, but more importantly, give Baltimore the emotional edge with his presence alone.

Ray Rice will get the football

Anyone with the slightest bit of football knowledge understands that Rice is by far the Ravens best offensive player. So, one would assume that offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell does too, right? In the Ravens last game where they didn’t rest their starters, Rice touched the ball 30 times on the way to a 33-14 victory over the New York Giants. Is it a coincidence that Baltimore won? Not one bit. The Ravens are 26-4 all time when Rice carries the football at least 20 times. Now that it’s the playoffs, I don’t believe the Ravens will want an inconsistent quarterback like Joe Flacco carrying the load. And oh by the way, expect Rice to take advantage of the Colts’ 29th ranked run defense.

Ed Reed will take advantage of Luck’s road troubles

Look, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE what Luck has done in his rookie campaign. However, there is no denying the fact that he isn’t nearly as productive on the road this year. Luck has thrown 11 touchdowns along with 13 interceptions in his eight road games on the season. The rookie has also been known to make some ill-advised throws over the course of the season. He simply cannot due that on Sunday with Ed Reed in the secondary. The future hall of fame safety has eight interceptions in his 11 career playoff games. That’s scary good. I expect Reed to mentally rattle the rookie signal caller.

Final prediction: Ravens 31, Colts 20

 


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