Wild Card Prediction: IND vs BAL

Wild Card Predictions for Sunday
 

Talk about a battle of wills! Which team carries more motivation into this game, the Colts and their "Chuckstrong" miracle season, playing their hearts out for their coach, Chuck Pagano, or the Ravens, who as of Thursday have learned that their defensive leader as well as clubhouse motivator, Ray Lewis, will retire at season's end?

 

Keys to victory for the Colts:

The best way for the Colts to emerge with a win is to use a "hurry-up" offense and let Andrew Luck work his magic against an injured and old defensive team. The Ravens have had numerous injuries on defense and the starters that remain are a bit long-toothed. That's not to say they are bad, it simply means they will tire and when that happens Luck will find his receivers behind the secondary for easy scores. Obviously for this to work, the Colts offensive line must come up huge in pass protection and move quickly to block on the dump off passes to the running backs.

 

Keys to victory for the Ravens:

First off, don't believe the hype about Andrew Luck. He is a fantastic rookie quarterback. Let me say that again,he is a fantastic ROOKIE quarterback. He can be fooled with stunting linebackers and safety blitzes. Constant pressure will take Luck and the Colts out of their comfort zone and will add pressure to a very mediocre ground attack with a lot of third and long situations.
 
Offensively, Ray Rice needs to be Ray Rice. He needs 20-25 touches to be effective and he is very dangerous as an outlet receiver. The Ravens need to use him early and often to force the Colt's defense to play the run, this will free up Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith into man coverages where Joe Flacco will have ample time to connect.

Prediction- Gutsy game for both teams but an edge to the more balanced offense of Baltimore
  Ravens 27  Colts. 24

Mark Merriam
January 4th, 2013
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