When: Sunday, Jan. 6, 1:00 p.m.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) earned a playoff berth with the second best record in the AFC South. The turnaround season was a great surprise, but early in the season, the NFL was put on notice by Andrew Luck’s prowess. They have overcome illness to the head coach. Chuck Pagano has won a determined battle with Leukemia, and once his announcement came out, the Colts have skyrocketed.
Ray Lewis announced his retirement from the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the week, so his next loss will be his last. However, the Ravens are hoping to ride this wave of momentum to the Super Bowl. The M&T crowd will be highly spirited for the Ravens when they enter the field.
Baltimore has been struggling the last month of the season. In fact, they have lost four out of their last five games. The Ravens only two wins over playoff teams came in the first three weeks of the season.
The Colts only beat three playoff teams this season, but they won five out of their last six games.
Andrew Luck threw for 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions this season. To pull off this victory, Luck must not turn the ball over early. The Colts have to remain close to thwart the Ravens’ momentum. The Ravens’ defense will be as strong as it has been since the first month of the season.
Joe Flacco has 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but he hasn’t made plays in meaningful games lately. This is his time to shine for the Ravens’ offense.
Baltimore will need to use Ray Rice in the running and passing game. Rice ran for over 1100 yards and nine touchdowns. The Colts defense has to key in on Ray Rice early and often, as Rice is the engine to Baltimore’s offense.
Each defense is vulnerable to the opposition. The team that blocks out the external factors the best will be equipped to win a tough playoff game.
Ed Reed will have an impact on this game, and he must be the best player in the defensive backfield for Baltimore. If Reed is controlling the middle, Baltimore will be victorious. If Reed and the secondary are getting beat repeatedly, it will be a long day for the Ravens.