Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts – AFC Divisional Playoff Preview
The AFC Divisional Playoffs are upon us pitting two somewhat surprising teams against two that were supposed to be in this position. The Baltimore Ravens play the Indianapolis Colts in a classic Defense Vs. Offense matchup, while the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers tilt is much the same.
Time: Sat., Jan. 16, 8:15 p.m. ET
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
MoneyLine: Ravens +200 / Colts -240
Spread: Colts -6
The Baltimore Ravens have come a long way in reaching the AFC semi-finals, squeaking into the playoffs and defeating a tough New England Patriots team on the road. Their reward? A game against arguably the biggest dynasty the NFL has seen in the last decade or two. The Colts will be looking to legitimize their dominant season and move on to the AFC Championship game. Anything less than a win for the Colts would be nothing short of a disaster.
The Baltimore Ravens game plan is a very simple one. On Offense, the key is obviously the running game. Success in the running game will mean that they will be able to keep the Colts prolific Offense off the field, while at the same time it will mean that the Ravens are advancing the ball. The Ravens running game should pose a problem for the Colts, who’s chronic run stopping problems have been well documented over the years. The Ravens passing game strikes fear into absolutely nobody. If the Ravens are going to win, Joe Flacco, Derrick Mason and Todd Heap will act only as decoys in order to set up the run. If the Ravens get down early and are forced to throw the ball, you can bet that Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will terrorize Flacco and force the type of mistakes that must be avoided in the playoffs.
The Ravens Defense has once again emerged as one of the elite units in the NFL. They are the type of team that could and should give Peyton Manning and the boys fits. The Ravens should be able to stop the Indianapolis running game, but as we all know, the Colt live and die with the pass. Injuries to the Ravens secondary could be the X-factor in this game and although Ed Reed figures to play, his supporting cast is hurting and ripe for Manning’s picking.
The Indianapolis Colts find themselves in familiar territory – hosting a meaningful playoff game at home. The Colts are 4-0 all time at home vs. the Ravens including a win in the only playoff meeting between the two sides. The Colts Offense, as always, is going to be the story. Peyton Manning has had another MVP type year, and Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne have been their typically dominant selves. The “new crop” of receivers in Indianapolis have insured that the Colts have not missed a beat all season. The Colts will air the ball out in attempts to exploit the Ravens banged up secondary. They should have success doing so as Peyton and the boys always seem to do. The running game probably won’t be much of a factor as the Ravens Defense has been superb as usual stopping the run. Look for 300 + yards from Peyton – it’s the only way that the Colts are going to win.
On Defense, it’s pretty simple – stop the run!!!
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Baltimore’s last 8 games when playing on the road against Indianapolis
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Baltimore’s last 7 games when playing Indianapolis
Baltimore is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Baltimore’s last 6 games on the road
Indianapolis is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Baltimore
Indianapolis is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Baltimore
Indianapolis is 13-1 SU in its last 14 games at home
Indianapolis is 22-3 SU in its last 25 games
Pick: Indianapolis Colts
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