Sunday is much more intriguing to me then Saturday, and this matchup might be the closest one of them all. The Baltimore Ravens have looked terrible as of late, and look like about as weak a 10-6 division winner as we have seen in years. Meanwhile, the Andrew Luck led Indianapolis Colts are coming in fresh off of their upset over Houston. The Colts have their coach back, and have everything it takes to pull off this upset. Let’s dive into our preview.
How Indianapolis Can Win: The Colts are a good team. They aren’t an elite team. I don’t even think they are a great team per se. I think the Colts have been the perfect storm of average players playing beyond expectation as they fight for their coach, a rookie QB who hasn’t had a terrible game yet, and benefactors of a quite soft schedule. The Colts notched impressive wins over playoff teams Minnesota, Green Bay, and Houston. Here are the other eight teams they got a W against: Cleveland, Miami, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Detroit, Kansas City, and Tennessee twice. Not the toughest of schedules. Having said that, they are certainly capable of puling off a January win, especially against a team as beat up and sluggish as the Ravens have looked recently.
How Baltimore Can Win: Ray Rice is getting criminally close to the Lesean McCoy level of underused production. Rice is easily the best player on the offense, but the Ravens get pass happy way too easily. They fall in love with the deep play ability of Torrey Smith, and they often give Flacco too much of the ball. As a result, the Ravens come into the playoffs losers of four of their last five games. If the Ravens want to turn this around, they must get back to playing Baltimore football. that is tough defense, solid running, and controlling the game. Baltimore will get a boost from veteran Ray Lewis, who announced that this playoffs will be his last. In addition Terrell Suggs is once again serving as a beacon of toughness and absurd durability, as he is shaking off yet another serious injury, this time a torn Biceps muscle.
Our Prediction: Despite Baltimore having the home field, and seemingly the better team on paper, I’m looking at a Colts upset here. Indianapolis is having a Cinderella type season, and given how Baltimore has been playing recently, this seems like a dream first round matchup. The game will likely hinge on Ray Rice as mentioned before. The Colts are 29th in the NFL in rushing defense, and the Ravens have to take advantage of that. If they fall in love with the passing game early, it will fall right into the hands of the Colts. Indianapolis doesn’t want this season to end, and I don’t think it will this week. Look for Luck to continue growing his young legacy, and snatch his first playoff win here. Colts win 24-20.
What do you think will happen? Will Andrew Luck get a win in his playoff debut? Or will the Ravens rally and right the ship? Let us know what you think in the comments!