Ravens vs. Colts: Five Questions Behind Enemy Lines


Jan 6, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

As we prepare for the Sunday’s second road game of the season, Ravens vs. Colts, we wanted to gain some inside perspective on what to expect from the first meeting of these two teams since the Wild Card Round of the playoffs in 2012/2013. To get the scoop, we reached out to Evan Reller at Naptown’s Finest, our Colts sister site on the FanSided network.

We prepared five questions for Evan to help us shed some light on Sunday’s matchup from a fan’s perspective and get an inside look at some factors that are sure to impact the game.  While the Ravens are riding a three game winning streak, the Colts have recorded two straight victories.  Both are coming off blowout wins over the Panthers and Jaguars last week, respectively, so both have a good bit of momentum coming into Sunday.

The Raven’s biggest obvious weakness lies in their secondary, while they have been dominant in run defense. Do you expect the Colts to do the obvious and come off the the bus throwing the ball, or will they still try to establish the ground game?

While coach Chuck Pagano would have you believe that this is a run first team, the Colts have attempted 171 passes to 122 rushing attempts. Andrew Luck leads the NFL in passing and has carved apart his opponents the past two weeks. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has been changing the plan each week and going with what works best, even when the team has a solid lead. The Colts will still want to try and establish the ground game, but expect the Colts to pass the ball more often than not.

The Colts have steamrolled two bad teams in two consecutive weeks, which is what good teams do. Prior to that, they had two pretty close games against good teams. How confident are you that they can stay above .500 with a fairly tough stretch of schedule coming up?

I would say mildly nervous. Taking apart a couple bad teams is great, but the Colts defense is a huge question mark. If Luck keeps playing at an MVP level, then this team can outscore anyone in the league. But there will come a time in the next few weeks when the Colts have to lean on their defense, and I don’t think that’s going to work out very well.

The Ravens have shown the willingness to play shadow coverage against a team’s number one threat, and have been using practice squad wide receiver Deonte Thompson to emulate T.Y. Hilton in practice. Would you consider Hilton to be the Ravens number one concern, or should they be more worried about Reggie Wayne?

In eight games vs the Ravens, Wayne has 40 receptions for 483 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also faced his college roommate Ed Reed in all of those games. In the lone playoff game, Hilton had eight receptions for 66 yards.

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Wayne is still an extremely effective receiver, but not a deep threat anymore. Hilton can take the top off the defense (ask the Chiefs) and is due for a big game. I would bet on Hilton being the primary threat on Sunday, but he’s played a lot of decoy pulling opposing safeties out of the play.

The Ravens cut backup center A.Q. Shipley, who immediately returned to the Colts and has performed surprisingly well. Shipley was part of final cuts, so he obviously has some knowledge of the Raven’s offensive tendencies. Do you think this is an advantage for the Colts, or a non issue?

More than likely it is a non-issue. Shipley, who is the third rated center per Pro Football Focus, might have some idea of the snap count but I bet the Ravens will change it up for this week. It might matter a bit if, say, Robert Mathis was able to play and take advantage of that information but the Colts don’t have a pass rusher who can make good use of it.

Finally, what is your prediction for the game, and why?

Being at home, I like the Colts to win a coin flip game. Luck is playing football at a special level right now and it’s clear the game is slowing down. Nothing is phasing him and every mistake seems to make him better. If the Colts get an amazing performance out of the defense, and somehow stop Steve Smith, they’ll come away with a win. It won’t be a blowout and I’ll take the Colts winning by a field goal.