A week 11 rematch will see the MVP led Indianapolis Colts taking on the always dangerous Baltimore Ravens.
Welcome to another edition of The 2nd Round Submission . . . hold on, hold on. That’s not right. I’ll try again. You’re now tuned into The Blue Horse Shoe, the blogging home for the Indianapolis Colts. Yes, I’ve crossed over from Muay Thai knees and Kimura armbars to 4-3 defenses and play action passing.
After a first round bye the Colts come into the divisional round of the playoffs looking to impose their will against the Baltimore Ravens. These two teams faced off in week 11 with Indy taking the victory 17-15. Long story short the Ravens couldn’t put the ball in the endzone when given the opportunity. Five field goals usually won’t get you a win against Indy. I could run down all the stats and numbers from that game but I hate stats. Predictions, head to head trends, previous game stats, all that stuff doesn’t matter. At the end of the day a game will be played and a victor will be declared. The Colts have defeated the Ravens in their last 7 matchups. Maybe that gives them a slight psychological advantage but over the last 7 match ups so many things have changed I find that tidbit fairly unimportant.
Each teams’ advantages in this match up are fairly clear. As the Ravens showed last week they control the game with a relentless a running attack and a very active defense. The Purple and black attack dominated the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs. From the get go running back Ray Rice had his way with the Pat’s defense. He broke open a big 80+ yard touchdown run in the game’s first series and didn’t look back. Quarterback Joe Flacco only threw the football 10 times but the offense still managed to put up 44 points. The Baltimore D also started things off with an impact. They rendered the New England offense ineffective causing 2 first quarter turnovers. Throughout the game they stayed active and beat up on the Pats. If the Ravens impose their will as they did at Gillette Stadium last weekend they could very well be headed to the AFC championship game. For more about the Ravens check out Lea Anderson’s blog, http://sportstalkbuzz.com/index.php/nfl/baltimore-ravens/1624-teddy-p-and-ravens-vs-colts. Ms. Anderson, may I propose a slight wager in this Battle of Baltimore. Loser has to post a picture in their next blog sporting the winning team’s apparel? Let me know if you’re game.
The Colts find themselves in a familiar position for this game. Its been well documented that the last 3 times they’ve had a first round bye in the playoffs they’ve gone on to be upset. Things this season appear to be a little different. Indy was perfect through week 15 of the regular season, 14-0. In the 3rd quarter of a game they were winning against the Jets Coach Caldwell pretty much said ‘no mas’. He began pulling his starters, leading to the teams first defeat. The following week in snowy Buffalo the Colts’ starters were even less visible. Again they went down in defeat at far from full strength. The rookie head coach received much criticism for essentially giving away the last two games of regular season as opposed to going for a perfect 16-0 record. Jim felt it was most important they keep the starters healthy. A perfect regular season doesn’t matter. For a team that’s been at the top of the league for the better part of a decade and only has one Superbowl ring to show all that matters is they hold high the Vince Lombardi trophy in Miami on February 7. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been great to stroll in to work on February 8 and tell all those cocky Patriot fans that the Colts are the best team ever and they’ve got the record to prove it.
The question everyone is asking is “Can the Colts knock off the rust and quickly get back to top form after such a long layoff?” Well I just so happen to have my crystal ball handy, let’s see what it says. Its cloudy . . . its very cloudy . . . looks like the ol’ crystal ball isn’t working this week. For the Indy offense the best way to get their timing back will be to use play action early and often and get Dallas Clark going. Additionally they will benefit from spreading the ball around using quick 5-8 yard passing plays. This will drawing the Baltimore safeties up and give Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon the chance to stretch the field.
The Colts’ defense is expecting to see a lot of Rice and McGahee Saturday night. The run-heavy offense of the Ravens may negate Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis rushing off the ends. The Indy linebackers, mainly Gary Brackett, will hold a vital roll in shutting down the rushing attack. The Indianapolis rush defense was ranked 24th during the regular season however they have proven themselves to be surprisingly strong at times. Mathis mentioned that the doubters provide ample motivation going into big games. The young secondary of the Colts will be occasionally tested. Don’t expect Joe Flacco to throw the ball over the place. Despite the lack of the experience Indy’s DBs have made big plays when called upon.
Saturday night, 8:15, Lucas Oil Stadium these to teams face off for an opportunity at the AFC championship. Either the Ravens will come out and bully the Colts as they did the Patriots or Indianapolis will excellently execute their way to a match up with the Jets/Chargers winner next week. Feel free to view it.
About the Author
Written by Martin Foster
Martin H. Foster is the author of "The 2nd Round Submission" and host of "Verbal Submission Radio" Follow him at www.twitter.com/MHMFoster