Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens NFL Playoff’s
Eric Roberts 2013-01-05 in SBO Weekly
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at Baltimore Ravens (10-6) -7 OvUn 47 1:00 EST
Expect running back, Raymell Maurice Rice to be key in this clash with the Colts.
NFL Playoff’s AFC Wild Card, January, 6th 2013
The Colts head to Baltimore to take on the AFC’s North’s division winner on Wild Card Weekend.
Chuck Pagano, who returned in the regular season finale after missing much of the season receiving cancer treatment, will take on his former team on Sunday afternoon. Pagano was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator and secondary coach, before leaving last season to take the head coaching vacancy in Indianapolis.
Interim head coach Bruce Arians has led the team for much of the season. Finishing with an 11-5 record despite winning just two games last season, the Colts turnaround is one of the best in history.
Alot of that is due to Andrew Luck. The first year QB has thrown for over 4,000 yards and led the Colts on plenty of comeback victories. However, he has been inconsistent as he ranked near the end of the league in completion percentage, but has turned it on the past three games, throwing for five touchdowns in no interceptions, all Indianapolis victories.
Indianapolis will likely get running back Delone Carter back from a three week absence, and he will be able to spell Vick Ballard and take over goal line duties. Joe Reitz, the Colts already replacement guard will miss the games with a concussion. His backup, Jeff Linkenbach will have a tough time handling Haloti Ngata on the Colts already depleted offensive line.
The Ravens have stumbled into the playoffs, losing four out of their last five games. They sat their starters for most of the game last week in the season finale against the Bengals and lost 23-17.
Also, news hit early Wednesday that Ray Lewis would be retiring after the postseason, making this his final postseason run for the Ravens. He, along with Terrell Suggs and safety Bernard Pollard will all return from various injuries this week.
Baltimore’s defense could use the help, they are ranked 17th in total defense – their lowest ranking since 2002.
The Ravens offense may need to carry the load if their defense cannot regain their championship level play fans have been accustomed to seeing in Baltimore over the years. A heavy dose of Ray Rice will likely be game plan for Baltimore as they have struggled to establish a consistent downfield passing attack. Joe Flacco will get a healthy Anquan Boldin back from injury. The wide out sat last week in the loss at Cincinnati with a sore hamstring.
This game opened at Baltimore -7 and has had some back and forth movement, but all books are currently settled on the one touchdown number for the most part. The total opened at 47, and is again, around the same number at most books.
As much as the Colts have improved this season and the heartfelt story of an on the mend Chuck Pagano returning the Baltimore, we think this fairy tale comes to an end this week. The Colts have not been a strong road team all year, and while the Ravens have been miserable as of late, they play their best football at home.
Not only that, this could be Ray Lewis’s final game, and he will have his team and his defense more motivated than ever. They are coming off a week of rest, as well. The return of many defensive starters for the Ravens and the Colts critical pass protection problems should prove disastrous for the Indianapolis front.
Flacco’s play is a question mark, as always, but as long as he doesn’t turn the ball over the Ravens should have no trouble moving the ball on a short field with their running game. Baltimore has not played up to expectations in the second half, but they are still good enough to get out of the first round against a team that won just two games a year ago.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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