Tuesday, January 12, 2010
NFL PLAYOFFS- Divisional Round Previews
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts
The Baltimore Ravens, fresh off their blow out win at New England last week, are heading into Indianapolis to face the mighty Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night's prime time game.
This figures to be an exciting game as the last time these two teams met in Baltimore back in November, the game went down to the wire with the Colts winning a close game.
Baltimore's defense, led by perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis against the NFL MVP Peyton Manning and the Colts high flying offense.
The Colts (14-2) boast the NFL's best record heading into this one while the Ravens (10-7) feel they aren't getting enough respect because they had to struggle to make the playoff party this season after a great 2008 post-season run that saw them reach the AFC Championship Game before losing to eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh.
Baltimore relies on the running game, led by Ray Rice (159 yards rushing and two TDs against the Patriots last week) and Willis McGahee. Pro Bowl fullback LeRon McClain also factors in the running game while quarterback Joe Flacco will be called upon to keep the Indy defense honest with the passing game, which put the ball up just ten times in the win against New England.
The Colts, led by Manning, will come out gunning against the Ravens, which at times this season have been suspect against the pass.
With Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Pro Bowl Tight End Dallas Clark along with running backs Joseph Addai and Donald Brown, the Colts can strike from anywhere at any time and the Ravens know this. Count on Baltimore's defense to apply heavy pressure against the Colts offense.
The best chance for the Ravens to win this game is to run, run and run some more to keep the Colts' offense OFF the field. That approach didn't work for Miami when they faced the Colts in September.
The Dolphins held the ball for over 40 minutes against the Colts and still came up short as Manning & company drove at will when they had the football.
The Ravens defense is far better than Miami's without question. But the pass defense for the Ravens is suspect and if they cannot apply steady pressure on Manning, he will pick them apart.
The game should be competitive barring mass turnovers on either side or a significant injury. The Colts are favored and should be (especially playing at home) against Baltimore in this game. The Ravens are a hungry team and the Colts cannot take them lightly or it could be a long night in Indianapolis for the home team.
Stay tuned... because that is why they play the games.