I was able to set aside some time this week to talk to the Editor of the Fansided Colts site, Naptownsfinest.com, Jeremy Nicholas. Here is what he had to say about some of the games biggest story lines.
1. Now that the regular season is over, do you think the Colts made the right choice in letting Manning go, or should they have kept him one more year to tutor Luck?
1) The choice between Luck and Manning was almost unavoidable. There was the option of taking the number one overall draft pick, or holding on to a Hall-of-Fame face of the franchise. Considering how well Manning has played this season, it’s hard for some fans to look back at last season and see how questionable it was to bring him back. Both Luck and Manning have already exceeded expectations, and it seems that both franchises have a good chance of winning another championship.
2. The Health of Chuck Pagano, and his return to health, have been a major emotional catalyst for the Colts, but how do you think Pagano has been as a head coach outside of the cancer issues?
Before he got sick, the sample size for Chuck Pagano as a head coach was admittedly small. Pagano was set to the side after the Colts had a bye in week four. The Colts had lost bad on the road to the Chicago Bears in week one, but had also won a game against the Minnesota Vikings, where they held Adrian Peterson to only 60 rushing yards. Sunday’s game against the Ravens will really show how this team plans to play.
3. The last time the Colts came to Baltimore in the playoffs, not a single TD was scored. I think everyone expect more offense this time around, but what are you expecting from the defenses.
This game could either be another single-digit snore-fest, or a high-scoring balls-out battle. Personally, I see a lot of scoring. I think both teams will try to take deep shots. I think Ed Reed could make a few Hall-of-Fame plays in the game. I also think that Ray Lewis might be more of a burden than a boost, if he is actually on the field.
4. What effect have the former Ravens who followed Pagano to Indianapolis had on the Colts defense?
To be honest, Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski have done more from a motivational aspect then they have on the field this season. Both players have been injured, but have also inspired this team all season long. All of the former Ravens on this roster are ready to go, and I expect every single one of them to try and play on Sunday.
5. How is this game going to play out? More magic for the Emotional Colts, or the start of a final playoff run for Ray Lewis?
It’s tough to say, these two teams have a rivalry unlike any other in the NFL, and have been headed in opposite directions recently. This game could go either way, but there seems to be a feeling that the Ravens are grabbing for the short end of the stick. The return of Ray Lewis will be a boost, but I could still see the Colts taking advantage of a team that has seemed to be on the ropes recently. I could honestly see the game come down to a 25-22 overtime Colts win.
To read my side of the story, check out this article from naptownsfinest.com.