Emotionally-charged Colts can upset Ravens
When the Colts step on to the field at M&T Bank Stadium, 28 players will have never experienced the electrifying experience that is the playoffs.
Heading into the biggest game of the season, it’s a scary thought—inexperience. But considering what this team has been able to accomplish under far worse circumstances, pre-game jitters is minuscule in comparison.
If anything, the red-hot Colts would appear to be the favorite to advance to the Divisional Round.
Yes, the favorite.
The Colts may be young and inexperienced, but walking into this match-up, they’re absolutely equipped to upset the Ravens. Well, sort of.
When Chuck Pagano came to the Colts, he brought along with him the knowledge of the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and more. Schematically, Pagano’s experience with the Ravens is a huge advantage in this game.
He knows the Ravens’ defense in-and-out, so it wouldn’t be crazy to expect that this will be a very important factor in the Colts ability to come away with a win.
Bruce Arians, formerly of the Steelers, has roughly seven years of total experience against Steeler defenses lead by Dick LeBeau. This could ultimately be the x-factor for the Colts.
So what about momentum?
Momentum is always talked about in the game of football, but it’s not exactly quantifiable. Plays can change the landscape of a game or season in matter of seconds, but some would say that it’s just the better team making better plays.
For the Colts, they’ve been on a mission for their ailing, but now-healthy head coach ever since his leukemia diagnosis.
The Chuck Pagano factor is absolutely real, and if I were heading into the playoffs, the Colts, after the Broncos, would be the last team I wanted to face.
Yet, I can sit here and say that, but do you think the emotionally-charged Colts are scaring the wily ole veterans of the Ravens? I seriously doubt it.
Heading into this game, the Colts do carry some real concerns, specifically on the offensive line. If the line cannot keep the Ravens front seven at bay, you can forget about the Arians’ offense. The line has been a liability starting from Week 1, and for the Ravens, this has to be the focus of their game plan.
Oh, and of course, getting the ball to the man from Rutgers—Ray Rice.
If I was the Ravens, Rice would be seeing the ball at least 25 times in this game, and that’s just on the ground. Rice can break a team’s back in the passing game, but against the Colts rushing defense, which is one of the worst in the league, Rice should not be underutilized.
After all, that is why the Ravens former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired. My advice to Jim Caldwell: Feed. Ray. Rice.
On paper, the Colts may look outmatched, but as the league has witnessed all year, you should not doubt these Colts.
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