12/23/17 Colts Pregame
After this weekend’s slate of games the Ravens are now in control of their destiny, and if they win the next two games against the Colts and the Bengals they are in the playoffs. They also have the benefit of playing both of these games at home which should be a big boost as it never hurts to have the 12th man helping you generate some energy and noise for the home team. The Colts come into Baltimore with a 3 and 11 record and are having a very disappointing season. Their franchise quarterback is on the IR and their head coach is almost certainly going to lose his job at the end of the season, so this team does not have much to play for at this point in the season. It will be interesting to see how hard the Colts play for Coach Pagano on Saturday – my guess is they will give a good effort. The team statistics for the Colts also tells a pretty dismal story. The Colts offense is ranked 31st in both yards per game and points scored. On the defensive side of the ball they are ranked 31st in points surrendered and 30th in giving up points. What is surprising is that in spite of these terrible statistical rankings for both offense and defense they have played fairly competitive throughout the season – only getting clobbered a couple times.
The Ravens know that they cannot look past the Colts because we have all seen too many times the favored team falls to an underdog. This is why you hear sports commentators declaring on a regular basis – “On any given Sunday”. If you need an example you need look no further than the Dolphins and Patriots game a week ago – I can assure you no one saw that coming. The encouraging news is that right now the Ravens are playing their best team football of the season with the offense averaging 36 points per game over the past 3 games. During this same stretch Joe Flacco has averaged 275 yards passing which is a far cry from the 161 yards he was averaging in the first half of the season. The Special teams are playing outstanding and continue to be a huge advantage in games – giving the Ravens an edge in field position as well as converting on FGs when presented. The defense is getting the job done by limiting teams in their running game and forcing turnovers. The Ravens who were dead last in the league stopping the run several weeks ago are now ranked 14th in the league showing steady improvement. The Ravens lead the league in interceptions and are tied for third in fumble recoveries. They also lead the league in the turnover differential at +17 which is one of the most important statistics in the game. Here’s one more to add to the good stat list – Ravens rank 4th in penalty yards which shows that they are playing clean football and not beating themselves.
According to the sports gurus, who run the numbers out the wazoo, the Ravens have a 91% chance of making the playoffs. That said, you will not hear anyone at the Castle talking about the playoffs this week. The only thing you will hear from players and coaches is talk about beating the Colts. Although a bit boring to beat writers and fans – this really is the right approach. You make good things happen by taking care of the next game in front of you. On paper this game should be a rout and I for one hope that is the case. The Ravens should get out of the gate fast and put their foot on the neck of the Colts so that this game is over half way through the 3rd quarter. The only way the Ravens lose this game is if they cough up the ball a few times. Vegas has the Ravens by 13 and I think there is a good chance that they will cover. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.
Indianapolis Colts hosted the Baltimore Ravens – December 23rd at 4:30 pm Odds – Ravens by 13 1/2
|Net Rushing Yardage||Ravens||131||Colts||104|
|Net Passing Yardage||Ravens||270||Colts||197|
- Ravens force 3 turnovers
- Perriman catches a 16 yard pass for his biggest gainer of 2017
- Flacco cracks 300 yards for the first time year
- Refs make terrible calls
Possible Sunday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
- Ravens Corral the Colts
Keys to the Game
- Pressure Brissett and get his uniform dirty
- Don’t beat yourself – play penalty free and protect the rock
- Play possession football and score in the red zone