Sunday Match-Up: Indianapolis @ Baltimore

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After a victory in Cleveland on Monday night the Ravens have a short week to come up with a game plan to try to stop QB Peyton Manning from exploiting their inconsistent secondary. The Ravens offense in Cleveland was lackluster and the unit is still trying to find consistency. Indianapolis has momentum after an emotional victory over New England this past Sunday. With a 9-0 record all is going well except there is some concern with some key injuries in the secondary.

More than a game isn’t it?
Let’s be honest, for many Baltimore fans the sight of the horseshoe and uniform of their beloved Baltimore Colts now used by Indianapolis evokes feelings of betrayal and resentment. Because of this bad history this game has a little more riding on it besides the Ravens playing for their playoff hopes. Fans would like nothing more than a decisive victory for their City, for the Ravens and for their Baltimore Colts.

OFFENSE: Quarterback Peyton Manning is having a tremendous season with sensational numbers and is able to move his offense at will. Manning has his veteran receivers to go to in WR Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark; both are putting up huge numbers. Manning also has some young receivers in second year pro Pierre Garcon and rookie Austin Collie who are excelling well. The offensive line is holding up well with fourth year pro Charlie Johnson who has proven to be the correct choice to start at left tackle. The line has allowed only 8 sacks this year.

At the running back position Joseph Addai is having a below average season due to the fact he has been fighting injuries. Rookie RB Donald Brown is a good change up for the team as he is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. The team is ranked 29th in the league averaging around 89 yards per game.

Lately: The offense is potent and a challenge for any defense; they are averaging over 29 points per game and are 1st in passing yards averaging around 315 yards per game. Manning is putting up MVP numbers. The running game could be better, but because defenses are focused on the passing attack, the Colts have had success with delays, draws and screens.

DEFENSE: DE Dwight Freeney and DE Robert Mathis lead this defense upfront combining for over 17 sacks. Middle LB Gary Brackett leads a fast line backing core that are skilled in coverage and a disciplined unit.
In recent weeks the Colts have been dealt with a string of injuries in the secondary. Safety Bob Sanders is out for the season along with CB Marlin Jackson. In addition, veteran CB Kelvin Hayden is expected to be sidelined with a knee injury for a few weeks. The Colts now are relying rookie CB Jerraud Powers and CB Jacob Lacey to fill in. LB Tyjuan Hagler has been also placed on IR. The team ranks at the top in only giving up 15 points per game and 14th against the run allowing an average of 108 yards per game.

Lately: DE Freeney and DE Mathis have been dominant. The defense has been dealt a bad string of injuries in the secondary most recognizably Safety Bob Sanders who was placed on IR.

MATCH-UPS: Chalk It Up!

Ravens defensive game plan: The Ravens defense hasn’t given up a point in six quarters. But don’t be fooled, four of those quarters were against the Browns. The Ravens porous secondary doesn’t match up well in this game because of the Colts precise passing attack. The bottom line is the defense has to pressure Manning with different looks and aggressive blitzing schemes. The secondary must play for containment and eliminate the penalties.

Key Defensive Injuries: Both teams are dealing with injuries on defense. Indianapolis has secondary losses and the Ravens just lost DE Terrell Suggs who out dealing with a knee ligament injury. With the loss of Suggs the defense will have to get creative to win. Second round pick DE Paul Kruger will be playing in place of Suggs. For strategic purposes we might see more involvement from linebackers Barnes and J. McClain to mix things up. DE Ngata has missed 2 games in a row with a sprained ankle and hopefully he can get back in the line up.

Ravens Secondary vs. WR Reggie Wayne: CB Washington and CB Foxworth will have to have their best day in order to stop WR Reggie Wayne and their young talented receivers. This is a game where Ed Reed needs to provide a spark in the secondary.

TE Dallas Clark vs. ? The Ravens will be watching the game film of New England who had success against tight end Dallas Clark. New England did a good job in coverage and jamming Clark at the line to throw off his routes. The Ravens may go with Chris Carr or possibly CB Webb to covers at times. A linebacker on Clark is a difficult assignment.

Joseph Addai vs. Ravens D-line: You would think the Ravens may have the upper hand in this battle; Addai is struggling with injuries and has not found his grove yet. The Colts are designed to pass and the running game is not a high priority with Manning at the helm. However, the Ravens D-line is with out DE Terrell Suggs and at times has struggled in run defense.

Ravens offensive game plan: Run the ball! It seems logical that the best way to beat Indy is to get keep Manning off the field. Unlike last year, a methodical bruising running game and taking time off the clock has not been a priority. This game it should be. The Flacco and the passing game will have openings, Indianapolis has back ups in the secondary. Flacco must be able to exploit this weakened secondary.

Dwight Freeney vs. Jared Gaither: DE Dwight Freeney is having a dominant season and LT Jared Gaither will be put to the test with protecting Flacco. We’ll likely see some help from Heap and McClain or an unbalanced line to slow down Freeney.

DE Mathis vs. RT Oher: Michael Oher will have a challenge in blocking DE Robert Mathis. Oher has stepped up well to many challenges this season.

Kicking Game: The Ravens finally released kicker Steven Hauschka and signed Billy Cundiff this week. Former Raven Matt Stover comes into this game as member of the Indy Colts and has kicked in Baltimore is whole career. Stover has the edge in this match-up because of his familiarity with the stadium.

Time to Step Up: Time to step it up, this game is crucial. The implications of a loss could mean the Ravens season is close to being over. The Ravens need to have a game where both the offense and defense are clicking. Plain and simple the team must eliminate penalties as well; they can’t afford mistakes against good teams. The offense must commit to the run in order to open up the passing game for Flacco. Ray Rice is vital but getting RB McClain along with McGahee involved and going back to an unbalanced line wouldn’t be a bad idea either. The defense has to continue to hit hard and play smart in the secondary.

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3 Responses to “Sunday Match-Up: Indianapolis @ Baltimore”

  1. […] QB Peyton Manning from exploiting their contradictory secondary. See the example place here:  Sunday Match-Up: Indianapolis @ metropolis » Ravens Gab Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: a-short-week, baltimore-, check-it-out, colts, game-plan, […]

  2. […] prompts below for access to Baltimore Sun stories for every game in Ravens history. … Sunday Match-Up: Indianapolis @ Baltimore » Ravens Gab – baltimoregridironreport.com 11/19/2009 After a victory in Cleveland on Monday night the Ravens have a […]

  3. Tim (Colts Fan) says:

    Adai is not injured and is not having a below average year, but Ravens D will still keep his production at a minimum. Sanders has only played in two games and has not been missed. DB Rookies Powers and Lacey have stepped up nicely and are making starters Jackson and Hayden not missed. Should be a good game, Colts always play close, except last year aginst the Ravens.

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