On Saturday, the scrappy Indianapolis Colts head east to their founding city of Baltimore to take on the Ravens. This “Battle of Baltimore” has playoff implications on the line for the Ravens. If they win, then they take another big step towards securing an AFC Wild Card spot. If they lose, then their playoff chances plummet and their fate is in the hands of other teams. As for the Colts, they’re still playing hard despite being eliminated from the playoffs since Thanksgiving. Kickoff inside M&T Bank Stadium is at 4:30 PM ET.
The last time these two teams faced each other was during the 2014 season and the Colts won that game 20-13. Since the Ravens came into the league, the Colts have a 10-4 all-time record against them. There have been 8 games played in Baltimore, with each team winning 4 games apiece. The last game in Baltimore was a Wild Card matchup in 2013 that saw the Ravens win 23-9.
The Colts (3-11) are 1-6 on the road this season and come into this matchup on a 5 game losing streak. They lost last Thursday at home to Denver and are clearly playing for the future as many of their younger players are getting more playing time. That bodes well for the Ravens this weekend. The only question that remains is: can the Colts keep this game within 2 touchdowns?
The Ravens (8-6) are 4-2 at home and have won 4 out of their last 5 games overall. They’ve also won their last 3 home games and are poised to win their remaining 2 games as both of them will be played at M&T Bank Stadium. If the Ravens can win these last 2 games, they will most likely head to the playoffs as the #5 seed and a team that nobody will want to face.
The spread opened with the Ravens favored by 12.5 points. It has jumped from the opening line up to 13.5 points. With many books listing Ravens at -13, we’re using that line for now. The Over/Under opened at 41 points and has gone up to 41.5 total points.
This game is all about the Baltimore Ravens. Will they play to their potential or will they take the Colts lightly? If you look at the last 5 weeks, it’s clear that the Ravens are hitting their stride and looking to make the playoffs. I believe that trend will continue this weekend as they host the Colts and put the beatdown on a lifeless opponent.
Even in the one defeat over their last 5 games, the Ravens still put up 38 points. During that span, the Ravens have outscored their opponents 155 to 85. If you look at their 4 wins over the last 5 games (taking out the Steelers loss), the Ravens have outscored their opponents 117 to 46. In their last 3 homes games, Baltimore has outscored opponents 107 to 36 and that includes the 40-0 domination over the Dolphins on TNF.
No matter how you slice or dice this game, the numbers point to the Ravens winning this one easily. On offense, Baltimore is finally playing to their potential. They’re scoring 24.6 ppg on the season and Flacco is starting to play better football. Additionally, they have a solid running game led by Alex Collins who has 844 rushing yards and 5 TDs on the season. Danny Woodhead has returned to provide the passing a game a huge boost out of the backfield and become an effective change of pace back.
Right now, the Ravens offense is firing on all cylinders even without prized free agent receiver Jeremy Maclin. Mike Wallace has emerged as the top receiving threat as he’s averaged nearly 8 targets, nearly 5 catches, and 92.3 ypg over the last 3 weeks. The only thing he hasn’t been able to do is find the end zone, but that should change this week as he goes up against young corners who were beaten badly by the Broncos last week.
I expect Flacco and the entire offense to put up solid numbers. If you are in the fantasy playoffs, you can be confident in starting Wallace, Collins and definitely the Ravens defense this week. That defense has been ferocious as they’ve kept Baltimore in contention for the playoffs all season long. The defense has also found ways to score points in addition to forcing turnovers and getting sacks. Last weekend, the Ravens defense had 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, a TD and only allowed 10 points to the Browns. That’s a scary defense that will definitely crush the Colts this weekend.
The only chance Indy has on Saturday, is if they can pressure Joe Flacco and force turnovers. However, I don’t see that happening as Baltimore is just better than Indy in every phase of the game. Look for Baltimore to crush the Colts 31 to 13.
The Colts are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games, and 4-9 ATS in their last 13 Saturday games. The Ravens are 6-3 ATS against AFC opponents this season and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.